Teaching Children with Learning Disabilities
From an early age, most people are able to interact with their environment, understand basic concepts, and develop strategies for daily problem solving. However, people with learning disabilities find it hard to process cognitive information, solve simple problems, express their feelings and socialize with others. Learning disabilities occur because of neurological disorders and manifest through difficulty to organize, retain, interpret, and express cognitive information. This results in difficulties in reading, problem solving, speaking, and social interaction. This paper will demonstrate that by employing effective instructional strategies and appropriate tasks, teachers can enhance processing, retention, and retrieval of cognitive information for learners with learning disabilities.
Teaching learners with disabilities is a daunting task for educators. Teachers must begin with understanding the different types of disabilities. Some children have trouble in reading properly (dyslexia), other children have trouble in math reasoning (dyscalculia), while others are unable to identify and use correct language structure (dysgraphia). Other learning disabilities include inability to see and hear. All these disabilities present learners with difficulties in reading, calculating, speech, and interpersonal skills. Learners with learning disabilities have problem in organizing time and are thus unable to finish their work at the same rate with learners with no learning disabilities. If the teacher is fast, learners with disability will absorb and retain very little information. Their comprehension and retrieval of information is low and teachers have to devise and employ appropriate strategies.
A simplified strategy for teaching learners with disabilities is question and answer technique. Through this technique, a learner with disability can ask for clarifications. A teacher can pose a question to learners with disability and ask them to explain what they understand by the question. The objective of this technique is to improve comprehension, retention, and retrieval of information for learners with disabilities. To achieve an even higher comprehension, a teacher can reduce course load for learners with disabilities. The teacher can also identify the key points in an outline so that learners with disabilities can get the right cue for information retrieval.
In conclusion, a teacher should suit his or her instructional strategies and content to needs of a particular learner. A learner with mathematic reasoning learning disabilities requires a different strategy from one with reading disability. Proponents of integrated classroom argue that teachers should not separate learners with learning disabilities from their counterparts with no disability. It is therefore upon the teacher to strike the right balance and ensure that each learner leaves the class with the desired learning outcome.