Thursday, June 13, 2024


5 Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning Difficulties

Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning Difficulties

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” – Thomas A. Edison

Learning difficulties are surprisingly common and there are a lot of celebrities who have these special needs. Starting from Daniel Radcliffe who has Dyspraxia to Steven Spielberg who suffered from Dyslexia, the examples are endless. There are innumerable myths about learning difficulties. BUT, learning difficulties are NOT mental hindrances, nor are they the consequence of poor academic contextual, emotional trouble, lack of enthusiasm, or visual or auditory acuity difficulties.

A child or an adult with a learning difficulty may have average or above-average intelligence. Learning difficulties are the various processing troubles where any of the five senses may be impaired. These poorly affect the gaining and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical aptitudes. Always remember that the way you behave and respond has a big impact on a child.

What Are Learning Difficulties?

Learning Difficulty is a general term that is being used in a heterogeneous group of special needs established by significant difficulties in the use of heeding, talking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical skills. No two people with a learning difficulty are similar.

By difficulties in reading, we intend –confusion of similar words, trouble using phonics, problems reading multi-syllable words, slow analysis rate or struggle in adjusting speed to the nature of the reading job.

Writing difficulties denote structure with sentence construction, poor grammar, omitted words, common spelling errors, unpredictable spelling, letter reversal, issues in copying from the board or overhead poorly shaped letters, strain in spacing, capitals, and punctuation etc.

Difficulties in Math include memorizing basic facts, reversal of numbers, number arrangement, or operational symbols, problems in reading or understanding word problems and issues with reasoning and abstract ideas.

Issues in study skills encompass bad organization and time management, difficulties in following directions, problems in taking notes, requiring more time to complete assignments and the general lack of aptitude to develop strategies.

Social skill difficulties include understanding the facial expressions and body language, problems in understanding subtle messages, misunderstanding in longitudinal orientation, getting lost simply, trouble in the following direction and so on.

The most common learning difficulties include:

  • Auditory and visual processing special needs
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyslexia
  • Nonverbal learning difficulties

For learners with learning difficulties generally have an Individualized Educational Program or 504 Plan.

Teaching Strategies for Educators

The following lists deliver recommendations of instructional strategies –

1. Informal Valuation

Indeed, assessment can be as simple as looking at spelling mistakes, and as tough as trying to evaluate whether your apprentice is a successive or longitudinal student. Most of the part, informal assessment is all about patience and trial and error. Generally, apprentices who have mild learning difficulties have found different ways of recompensing without ever understanding that they have made these variations.

2. Structure Lesson Plans

Construct lesson plans to support inclusivity. Instead of creating distinct educational activities or knowledge plans for learners with special needs, contemplate how you can embrace special needs services in the general plan,try to find out where you might be able to teach all students about special needs through the speeches of those who experience them. Remember, your lessons need to include explicit, step-by-step directions that are clearly understood by the students. Use graphic organizers to make your classroom more interesting.

3. Communicate

We understand this can be challenging. You’ll need exceptional communication and cooperation skills, and self-confidence to protect a child’s right to a suitable education. Clarify your goals before entering the class, write down what you want to achieve. Don’t forget to be a good listener, let your students explain their feelings.If you don’t comprehend what someone is saying, ask for an explanation. Do your research well and try to offer new solutions. Also, stay calm, composed, and positive.

4. Upgrade Yourself

Early intervention plays a critical role in helping children with various special needs. Therefore, teachers need to update themselves well with the help of online special education courses to understand the exclusive needs of special education children. This is crucial for parents and caregivers as well. Identify how a child learns best, as everyone has their own exclusive learning style, whether the child has learning difficulty or not.  Only by the early intervention, children with different special education needs can be treated within time before it gets too late.

5. Be Proactive

A proactive individual is talented enough to make pronouncements and take actions to resolve difficulties or accomplishing goals. Talk with your students actively about the various problem-solving solutions and share how you may approach difficulties in your life. Ask them how do problems make them feel? How do they choose what action to take? If your student is cautious about making choices and taking actions, try to provide some “safe” situations.

Have You Ever Wondered Certain Things to NOT Say to Someone with a Learning Difficulty?

Yes, there are certain things that you need to be aware of NOT saying to someone who’s experiencing learning difficulties. Here are some of them –

  • You don’t look like you have a disability.” There are numerous categories of special needs, and not all of them are visible ones.
  • Oh, do you have Dyslexia? I’ve heard of that.” Well, don’t assume that all have the same one.
  • Why are you permitted extra time on a test/project/? That’s partial!” All through school, part of IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is to be provide extra time for tests.
  • “I can aid you to overcome this!” Well, no one can do that as the learning difficulties don’t get improved with time.
  •  “What’s wrong with you?” Remember there is nothing wrong with a person who has a special need.
  •  “I know a great doctor or priest or someone like that, I bet he could treat you.” The thing is by saying this you are unconsciously suggesting that there’s something wrong with the person when there isn’t.

We are sure there are more however, these are the common phrases that every individual with special needs is tired of hearing!

Concluding Thoughts

Teaching children with various learning difficulties is a tough job. Thus, 21st-century learning disability courses are preparing teachers, parents, and caregivers to deliver the best of their support to help these kids. Provide regular quality feedback, allow time for learners to process requirements, and eliminate distractions. With all these strategies, we hope you can help your learners in a better way.

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