This article addresses accommodations and how to adapt assessment to respond to the strengths and needs of students with learning disabilities.
When an assessment from a qualified professional recommends the use of assistive technology for a student with a learning disability, the assistive technology must be included in the student’s IEP and educators have a legal obligation to make these tools available to the student.
Like in reading, a disorder in mathematics is not a heterogeneous condition. Some individuals with mathematical LDs may have good conceptual understanding of mathematics but poor calculation ability (e.g., they may answer 2 x 5 = 25 or not be able to borrow). Other students may be great with math calculations but have poor conceptual understanding. Another student may not understand the vocabulary used in a word problem.
I often get asked the question, “what is the best spelling tool?”. My answer to this is, “when supporting a learning disability, you need to support beyond the spelling, and support the writing”. So what we really are looking for are great writing tools. Writing is broken into a few stages, Planning, Composing, Editing, and Adding. Let’s consider spelling within the editing stage.
In order to be a self-advocate, students who have learning disabilities (LDs) need to first understand how their LDs affect their learning. When students are diagnosed with LDs, parents, teachers, special education teachers and child psychologists may not always explain to the student how their LDs affect their learning and students are left in the dark.
Collaboration between the educator and parents is an essential ingredient to student success. Parents are a valuable source of information about their child and the way in which learning disabilities (LDs) affect their child outside of school.
How can I prepare my students with LDs to transition to post-secondary education? Where can students with LDs find support after secondary school?
As students move through their secondary school years and the focus sharpens on what their options may be after secondary school, it is important to note that there are numerous paths to consider and that the pathways may not be linear nor mutually exclusive. For secondary students with LDs, the transition pathways may include:
Learning disabilities (LDs) manifest in a number of different ways and with varying degrees of severity. For this reason, the following five tips may not apply to all students with LDs, however, they will have a positive impact on reading and writing acquisition for the majority of students.
Students with learning disabilities are at increased risk for mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, low self-esteem and disruptive behaviours. According to Children’s Mental Health Ontario, 1 in 5 of children and youth under the age of 19 in Ontario has a mental health problem. This means that almost 20% of students in a typical classroom may be dealing with a mental health problem - making it difficult for them to learn, or regulate their behaviour appropriately. These statistics have significant implications for educators who are in need of information, resources and strategies to support the mental health and well-being of students with LDs.
Recent scientific research points to the importance of working memory in the execution of classroom tasks and, consequently, learning. However, evidence that re-education is effective is lacking. Here are five tips that educators can use to address low working memory and enable students to accomplish the required tasks at the appropriate level.