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Learning Disabilities

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Kylie Bleau

on 31 March 2015

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Transcript of Learning Disabilities

Learning Disabilities
Learning Objectives
Defining learning disabilities
Myths and misconceptions
Causes and characteristics
Determining the presence of LD
Supports and services for students
Instructional strategies and activities
Inclusion of students with LD

Exit Ticket
Kylie, Roy, Gina & Chris
Characteristics of LD
LD Resources
Defining Learning Disabilities
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- "a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using written or spoken language [which] may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations."
The student cannot be diagnosed with a learning disability (LD) if the problem is "the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities of [ID], of emotional disturbance, or of environmental,
cultural, or economic disadvantage,"
One of the most significant challenges facing students with LD relates to reading. This is particularly troublesome because reading is essential for performance in most academic areas & adjustment in most school activities.
2 different terms are used to describe this area of LD:
reading disorder
- often used in educational literature
- often used in medical literature
Myths & Misconceptions
1) Learning disabilities correspond with a lack of intelligence
Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably,
typically indicates a more severe disorder associated with neurological impairment.
Word identification
: decoding words that don't follow phonemic rules/guidelines
Phonemic analysis
: breaking down words into their basic phonemic parts
Reading fluency
: reading with appropriate automaticity, speed, & smoothness
Characteristics of LD
acquiring, organizing, and prioritizing key information
initiating new strategies or tasks
evaluating correct and incorrect solutions
From emotional & social perspectives, research shows:
Causes of LD
Neurological mechanisms
Learning disabilities are linked to neurological problems and structural brain differences. New neuroimaging technologies have given researchers an enormous amount of information and insight, including the ability to identify specific areas of the brain associated with specific types of LD. For example, students with reading disorders have less activity in the left-hemisphere regions of the brain than students without disabilities.
Genetic factors
Environmental causes
Determining the Presence of LD
Supports & Services
Individualized Education Programs (IEP)
are specifically designed for each student receiving special education to promote their academic growth.
Using the Nondiscriminatory Evaluation Process
: teachers and parents observe the student
: classroom work products, group intelligence tests,
and vision and hearing screening (to rule out)
: teacher implements suggestions from school-based team (ruling out ineffective instruction as the cause)
: to multidisciplinary team if interventions don't work
Nondiscriminatory evaluation procedures & standards
Individualized intelligence & achievement tests, curriculum-based assessment, behavior rating scale, anecdotal records, direct observation, ecological assessment, and portfolio assessment
: the nondiscriminatory evaluation team determines that the student has an LD and needs special education and related services. An IEP is develop for the student.
There are 8 required components of every IEP...
Instructional Activities
Including Students With LD
According to the US Department of Education, 62% of students
with LD spend 80-100% of their time in the general education
classroom (the highest inclusion rate of any other disability).
Instructional Strategies
Embedded learning opportunities
: strategy that blends together short, systematic instructional interactions into the child's existing routines and daily activities (to support their individualized learning objectives)
Provides children a lot of practice within the context of their daily life
Capitalizes on a child's interest (and motivation)
Readily available to parents, teachers, therapists, and peers
Match them with a peer tutor whom they can ask for help
Establish a peer partnership to help them practice specific social cues
Give them opportunities to tutor other students in areas of success
Differentiate instruction to ensure they are learning at their own pace
How can we enhance inclusion in the classroom for students with LD?
National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)
Learning Disabilities Worldwide

Learning Disabilities Association of America
LD Online -
Describe at least one thing you learned today about learning disabilities.
2) Learning disabilities are easy to identify and diagnose
3) Learning disabilities are only a problem during childhood
Children with LD have the mental machinery to do well, but because of the unique ways their brains are organized to receive, process, store, retrieve, & communicate information, they struggle to accomplish tasks necessary for success in school and life.
There are no tests, scans, or other easy ways to diagnose LD. Determining the presence of LD is a process that unfolds over time and includes information from multiple sources- parents, educators, & specialists. Other factors must also be ruled out.
LD does not fade with time or age, and there is no cure. However, this doesn't mean that people with LD can't achieve success. The more individuals know about themselves and how to get the
help they need, the more they’ll be able to succeed.
Students who have a
reading disorder
(4-8% of school-age children) typically experience challenges related to the following types of reading tasks:
Reading comprehension
: accurately interpreting the meaning of text
Students with LD usually have difficulty with short-term, long-term, and working memory, as well as deficits in these areas of executive function:
Students with LD often have high-quality friendships
Approximately 75% of students with LD experience higher levels of anxiety than students without LD
Children with reading disorders have a higher incidence of behavioral and emotional problems (linked to issues with inattention and anxiety levels)
Although is a higher incidence of social and emotional challenges for children with LD, the majority of those with LD do not experience mental health problems
May have trouble interpreting subtle messages like sarcasm
Research shows that genetic factors account for slightly more than half of the differences that individuals with a reading disorder experience, meaning specific genes may be unique to certain specific disabilities.
Environmental factors that can contribute to LD include the quality and type of instruction parents provide to their children, the quality and quantity of home literacy, as well as the quality of schools
and reading instruction provided by teachers.
Determining the Presence of LD
Using the Nondiscriminatory Evaluation Process
: teachers and parents observe the child
: classroom work, intelligence tests, medical screening
: teacher implements suggestions from school-based team (to rule out ineffective instruction as a cause)
: to multidisciplinary team if interventions don't work
Nondiscriminatory evaluation procedures & standards
individualized intelligence/achievement tests, curriculum-based assessment, behavior rating scale, anecdotal records, direct observation, and ecological/portfolio assessments
: the nondiscriminatory evaluation team determines that the student has an ID and needs special education and related services. An IEP is developed for the student.
Writing an IEP involves the student's parents, general educator, special educator, a school representative, any specialists that work with the student, someone who interprets results of students needs,
and in some cases- the student themselves.
What can we do as teachers to support student progress?
Create units and lesson plans that incorporate features of universal design and include goals/objectives that vary in complexity (ensuring that all students can show progress).
Establish learning communities with a positive climate that enable students with disabilities to become integrated into their classrooms.
Supports & Services
Statistics show that only 68% of students with LD graduate
high school with a traditional diploma, while roughly 19% drop out
(more than double the drop out rate of students without LD)
The transition to postsecondary education is a critical area of concern, and 7 skills have been identified to increase student success:
Understanding their disability
Understanding their strengths and limitations
Learning to succeed despite their disability by learning what accommodations facilitate learning
Setting goals and learning how to access the resources needed to attain those goals
Forming relationships with instructors, university disability support staff, friends, and mentors
Developing problem-solving skills
Developing self-management skills
This approach to learning is a promising intervention strategy because it:
Differentiated instruction
: modifying traditional instruction to better fit the needs of the student (altering materials, complexity, goals, etc.)
Examples of differentiated instruction techniques:
Providing graphic organizers to supplement oral presentations
Incorporating models, demonstrations, or role play opportunities
Using cues (i.e. gestural, visual, verbal) to emphasize key points
Scaffolding key concepts that students must learn
Instruction for students with reading disorders should be focused on specific areas of academic weakness (decoding, comprehension, fluency, phonemic analysis, vocabulary building, etc).
Learning objectives must be established and targets should be created for all time periods: daily goals, weekly goals, annual goals (in the IEP).
This helps monitor progress throughout the school year.
There are a wide range of instructional tools and activities available for struggling readers and students with reading disorders, including:
decodable books
whisper phones
The best way to help students with LD learn is through modeling, guiding, practicing (repetition), monitoring, and providing feedback.
Inclusion isn't necessarily the same as feeling included.
The best way to make students feel like they are a valuable and vital part of the classroom community is to create a positive classroom climate where everyone feels accepted. No one should feel
judged, scared to share, or insignificant in your classroom.
Understood -
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