Teaching Children With Learning Disabilities
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 4 million of children are being born or have learning disabilities. That would be about 3 % of the United States population are intellectually impaired. Teaching children with learning disabilities can be challenging and difficult for both parents and teachers. To be an effective teacher and cater to the needs of the children, teachers should be equipped with knowledge and of course, patience and the right attitude.
Medical studies have figured that learning disabilities and mental impairment occurs as early as the prenatal stage. Most people think that this has something to do with the intellect but the truth is it has something to do with the brain functions. The deal with learning disabilities is that it cannot be cured, but children can be taught how to cope with it.
Common learning disabilities would include dyslexia or problems in processing language, dyscalculia or mainly problems with math related subject, dysgraphia or issues with writing spelling and though organization, and dyspraxia or sensory integration disorders. There are also auditory and visual processing disorders.
Another common learning disability with be the attention deficit disorder and ADHD which refers to hyperactivity. There are also children with ADD or those who are inattentive but not hyperactive.
Teaching children with learning disabilities (LD) can try your patience. Teaching these kids could be easy as long as you follow or use applicable tips to your teaching style.
• In the beginning of the subject, explain the objective and goals clearly to the children. Explain clearly why it is important for them.
• Be specific. State your expectations from assignments and projects. If you are asking them a question, encourage them to share how they understood the question. This would help you deal with any misunderstandings about the instructions or questions.
• Include chapter outlines and study guides in your subject handouts. This would enable those with LD to reduce the weight of the course or subjects.
• You can use different methods to help students cope, you can break the class into several groups so they would be able to understand the information clearly and respond to lessons better.
• Make the lessons interactive and creative.
• Do not demand things that you know would be difficult for them to do, like ten-page essays. You could assign projects or homework that would involve their creativity, like including pictures in their written narrative reports.
• Too much is never a good thing. For kids with LDs, avoid giving them too much to do. They are not like other children that could accomplish things fast, they may need twice the amount of time given by regular students.
• As a teacher, you are not only responsible in making your student educationally equipped. Some students would find having learning disabilities very emotional and tend to have a very hard time. Work closely with your students with learning disabilities to help them ease the bad emotions.
Teaching does not only include arming your students with basic knowledge in academics. Making sure that you are reaching to your students and children with disabilities, mentally and emotionally, will boost your student’s self-esteem and confidence. They would be able to finish the work that you gave them and at the same time retain the information what you have taught them. As a teacher, you are not only an educator. You are also a guide and a life coach.