LEARNING DISABILITIES IN THE CLASSROOM By: Mrs. VIJAYA VAITHILINGAM FR. AGNEL MULTIPURPOSE SCHOOL, VASHI, NAVI MUMBAI “To See The World In A Grain Of Sand And Heaven In A Wild Flower Hold Infinity In The Palm Of Your Hand And Eternity In An Hour” -- William Blake A classroom sees a convergence of a variety of domestic, environmental, social, cultural and economic influences that children bring with them everyday. In the midst of all this is LEARNING DISABILITY!! The concept of “LEARNING DISABILITY” has one meaning for the general public but a different meaning for professionals. THE ABILITY MAZE To be ABLE is to have the means/skill/opportunity To do some things To be UNABLE is not to have the means/skill/ opportunity To do some things If ABILITY is the quality one has To do some things INABILITY is the state of being unable To DISABLE means to put out of action And DISABILITY ??..... Does “something” mean “everything” ? Is every “inability” a “disability”? If one is “unable” to do something is he/she “handicapped”?? Educators and professionals need to constantly work on clarifying misconceptions. It is like cleaning the path while making it. We must remember… The term “LD” does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantages. “LD’s” are characterized by intra- individual differences, usually in the form of discrepancy between a student’s ability and his/her achievement in areas such as reading, writing, mathematics or speaking. Some students with LD also have difficulties with social relations. WHAT TO LOOK FOR? • PRE-PRIMARY LEVEL (age 3 – 5) – Does the child have difficulty • • • • • • • • • Connecting spoken sounds with letters? Counting and learning numbers? Being understood when he/she speaks to a stranger? Using crayons/ working with fingers? Reacting to touch (too much or too little) ? Pronouncing words? Working forward or up and down stairs? Remembering names of colors? Dressing himself/herself without assistance? • PRIMARY LEVEL (AGE 6- 10) – Does the child have difficulty • • • • • • • • • • • • • Reading accurately and comprehending what is read? Learning new vocabulary/ skills? Understanding the rules of conversation? Retelling stories? Playing with peers/ age appropriate games? Moving from one activity to another? Expressing thoughts verbally or in writing? Computing maths problem at his/her grade level? Following directions? Remembering routines/deadlines and keeping to them? Drawing or copying shapes? Modulating voice? Being organized? • SECONDARY LEVEL (age 11 – 15) – Does the individual have difficulty • • • • • • • • • Remembering newly learnt information? Staying organized? Understanding what he/she reads? Expressing thoughts verbally or in writing and using proper grammar? Following directions? Getting along with peers? Understanding jokes that are sarcastic or subtle? Making appropriate remarks? Remembering and sticking to deadlines? WHAT DO WE DO? Option I: To find IQ- Achievement Discrepancy Option II: Response to Intervention (RTI) Option III: Combine the two. CONCESSION Vs. ACCOMODATION • • • • • Giving a student extra time for an exam Allowing a choice of subject especially languages Providing assistance of a writer Providing training in assistive technology Providing easy to understand instructions and notes Let’s call them ACCOMODATIONS. “Concessions” sound condescending. HOW DOES IT HAPPEN? • Good child centered innovative teaching practices • Learning from individual differences Special & general education teachers collaborating to improve teaching strategies or co-teaching Including parents of students with learning disabilities to be a part of the school’s design of education. “Who is there to do my duties?”, said the setting sun. “I shall do what I can, my master!”, said the little lamp. - Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.