Supporting secondary students with learning disabilities to verbalize what they understand of a text; select the important information; and articulate their thoughts sets an intention for reading that improves comprehension.
For young people with LDs, self-advocacy is a long-term goal - one that should drive the choices that we make as educators. Working in this way, we can offer young people the means to be proactive, take charge of their lives, persevere in the face of obstacles, and learn from their mistakes.
The Ministry has devised a three-tier system. This is often referred to as Response to Intervention (RTI) outside of Ontario, a process whereby sound, evidence-based, differentiated teaching is used to instruct all students, but students who do not respond to this instruction, or who need further help, are moved up through a series of increasingly intensive interventions.
The use of heuristics, or self-strategies, in mathematics can have a profound impact on a student’s ability to quickly and accurately solve a math fact or word problem. Students with learning disabilities (whether math specific or not) will especially benefit from the structure and sequence a heuristic provides.
Students who present with learning disabilities often experience difficulty with writing. These difficulties result from limitations in terms of writing strategies, skills, and knowledge, and in motivation (Graham, Harris, & McKeown, 2013). The Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) approach is based on what has been learned about students with learning disabilities and other students in difficulty (Harris, 1982). The goal is to teach the strategies, skills, and knowledge that students need in order to write, while supporting them to be motivated, with the overall goal of improving their written production. Taking the specific needs of each student into account is central to this approach. It can be used with an entire class, small groups, and individual students, from Grade 2 to secondary school.
Although there are a number of problem solving strategies that students use in mathematics, good problem solvers usually construct a representation of the problem to help them comprehend it. The use of visual representation during instruction and learning tends to be an effective practice across a number of subjects, including mathematics.
Ask, Reflect, Text (ART) is a six-step evidence-informed mnemonic story development strategy created to motivate students to write, to stimulate more elaborate story content, to enhance students' knowledge about the writing process and promote their capabilities as writers, including students with learning disabilities (LDs), who are struggling writers.
For all learners, effective spelling requires that the individual can hear the sounds (phonemic awareness) and then transfer those sounds to written text (alphabetic knowledge; Ehri, 2000). Even though spelling can be a challenge for students of all abilities, spelling is particularly difficult for students with learning disabilities (LDs). Spelling may be the most common challenge faced by students with LDs (Bos & Vaughn, 2006). In fact, students with LDs are often much less capable spellers than younger typically developing students (Friend & Olson, 2008).
Expressive writing is required for academic success, job applications, and for many careers. However, expressive writing presents challenges because it is not a single skill. Expressive writing is a cluster of skills that includes mental tasks such as idea creation and planning as well as mechanical tasks such as ordering words into sentences and paragraphs. These mental tasks and mechanical tasks are connected. Difficulty experienced with one task can harm the entire process.
CRA is a sequential three level strategy promoting overall conceptual understanding, procedural accuracy and fluency by employing multisensory instructional techniques when introducing the new concepts. Numerous studies have shown the CRA instructional strategy to be effective for students both with learning disabilities and those who are low achieving across grade levels and within topic areas in mathematics.