Learning disabilities in the classroom-How to help your students?
Posted: Jan 24, 2020
Noticed that student that is always learning at a slower pace compared to the rest of their classmates? Sometimes it has nothing to do with the student being lazier or less skilled than their colleagues. Sometimes the reason behind their learning problems is a learning disability.
Medical specialists explain learning disabilities as a neurological disorder. Simply put, an area of weakness or inefficiency in the brain that causes a student to receive, process, and respond to information different than the rest of us.
In fact, people with learning difficulties actually often have an average to superior intelligence. So, make no mistake, their learning problem has nothing to do with a lower IQ but rather with teaching methods that are not tailored for their learning needs. Students with learning disabilities often have trouble at school because they aren’t thought with effective strategies for working through challenges.
Identifying and effectively diagnosing learning problems in certain students can benefit both the child and you as a teacher. While for you as an educator it will help you know what changes you should make in your teaching methods, the child will be thought in a way that they are able to learn.
Here’s how to identify learning disabilities in students and how to help them:
Signs of learning disabilities
Unfortunately, students with learning disabilities often tend to fall behind the rest of their classmates. Why? Simply because the teaching methods are not customized to their learning style and needs. Moreover, although most people with learning disabilities have tremendous strengths, those strengths are often offset by noticeable and more obvious weaknesses.
There are multiple learning disabilities including dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, or ADD. While some disabilities are motor-skill difficulty, others are learning difficulties. Moreover, it isn’t uncommon for learning and motor-skill difficulties to c co-present. For example, disabilities like ADD and ADHD can often occur together.
How common are learning difficulties? According to a 2018 study from the National Health Service, two out of five people suffering from learning disabilities are not diagnosed in childhood in the UK. Moreover, data shows that there are about 286,000 children aged 0-17 in the UK who suffer from at least one learning difficulty.
How to identify learning disabilities? Each type of learning difficulty has its own characteristics and way to affect the student. While, for example, a child with a learning difficulty may have trouble reading, others may have their ability to write by hand affected. However, despite the way they manifest, all learning difficulties lead to more or less the same results which are noticeable in students who suffer from them. Some common signs of learning disabilities include:
problems reading and writing
trouble paying attention in class
nervousness and agitation
trouble telling time
So, if you recognize those signs in one of your students, he or she may be suffering from one or more learning difficulties.
How to help students with learning disabilities?
Students with learning disabilities can experience multiple problems in class from being unable to learn at the same rapid pace as their classmates to the inability to integrate or even become the victims of bullying.
As an educator, it is your responsibility to make sure that you do your best for all of your students to learn and improve their knowledge. So, even if a student may require extra effort or different teaching strategies, you need to help keep up with the rest of the class.
Identify their needs
First things first, in order to find out how to help your students with learning disabilities, you first need to identify their needs. For example, depending on the disability, a student may require additional time to complete their school assignments. At the same time, another may need the study material to be given in different or special fonts to be able to read it. also, those students who have trouble writing by hand may need to be allowed to take notes using a computer or a tablet.
Either way, it essential to first figure out what is the challenge your student is dealing with in class in order to find the best solution to overcome it.
Ask for some help
As a teacher, you are used to working with kids, including making them pay attention in class, be active during the lectures and any other class-related activity. All kids have different behaviour and personality, so working with maybe a more difficult student isn’t necessarily a problem.
However, keeping the interest of the entire class while also helping students with learning disabilities can be extremely challenging. If you feel so, you can ask for some help from a speech and language therapist who can assist the student with learning difficulties.
Also, for students with learning difficulties, work doesn’t stop in class. Due to their condition, they must work twice as harder than their classmates. So, you should also consider teaming up with their parents to help by continuing their education at home. For example, the student may need help with homework or test preparation and the parents are the best support they can get at home.
Talk openly about their issue
Unfortunately, kids with learning disabilities often become a victim of bullying from their classmates. Kids tend to be meaner towards those who are, in a way or another, different than them. and, the reason behind this is mainly because they don’t understand the differences and what causes them.
As a teacher, your responsibilities go way above teaching. So, your job isn’t just to help them learn but also protect them from any harm that may be hurting them, including mean words from their classmates. That being said, one good strategy to help a student with learning disabilities learn by offering them a good educational environment would be to also team up with their classmates.
Talk openly in the class about learning disabilities. Make your other students understand that they should support and their colleague to overcome their learning challenges. This way, you will not only help your student but also make the entire class act and learn as a team.
Learning disabilities can be a real challenge for some of your students. Yet, with patience and the right strategies, you can help and support even students with learning difficulties learn at the same pace as their classmates.
Cynthia Madison is a young blogger and economics and marketing graduate. She writes about home, lifestyle and family topics and is a senior contributor to popular niche publications.