literacy nova scotia cli workshop may 13 th 2008 digby ns l.
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Although the individual with a learning disability has an average or above-average IQ, the disability becomes evident in both academic and social situations. ...

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Literacy Nova Scotia

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literacy nova scotia cli workshop may 13 th 2008 digby ns

Literacy Nova ScotiaCLI WorkshopMay 13th 2008- Digby, NS

Learning Disabilities-

Information and Strategies

workshop topics
Workshop Topics
  • Learning Disabilities- what does it feel like?
  • Warning signs- or what we call Red Flags for Math and Language Based LDs
  • How are learning disabilities diagnosed/assessed?
  • How can we meet the needs of a learner who might have a LD?
What might it feel like to have an LD?

Who do you know that has a Learning Disability?

Have you ever ask them to talk about their Learning Disability?

what is a learning disability
What is a learning disability?
  • A learning disability is a disorder that affects a person's ability to either interpret what they see and hear or to link information from different parts of the brain. Although the individual with a learning disability has an average or above-average IQ, the disability becomes evident in both academic and social situations. The individual can have marked difficulties on certain types of tasks while excelling at others.

No two students who have learning disabilities are the same- their LD impacts them in different ways-
  • they have developed different coping strategies
  • they have used and been exposed to different resources
  • their life experiences are very different

For Example….

  • Two students who may have similar difficulties may not both have learning disabilities
  • Two learners who have diagnosed LDs may not have the same challenges
  • No two learners are alike- regardless of disability
general warning signs
General warning signs

Some common signs of learning disabilities include:

  • Continues to spell incorrectly, frequently spells the same word differently in a single piece of writing
  • Avoids reading and writing tasks
  • Trouble summarizing
  • Trouble with open-ended questions on tests
  • Weak memory skills
  • Difficulty adjusting to new settings
  • Works slowly
  • Poor grasp of abstract concepts
  • Either pays too little attention to details or focuses on them too much
  • Misreads information
language based learning disabilities
Language Based Learning Disabilities

These students may have:

  • slow reading rates
  • difficulty modifying reading rate for different tasks
  • misreading what is written
  • confusion of similar words, difficulty integrating new vocabulary
  • poor and/or uneven comprehension
  • lower retention of information from print
  • difficulty identifying main points from printed material
  • requires more time to identify informationfrom charts, tables, and forms
math learning disabilities
Math Learning Disabilities

These students may have:

  • Normal or accelerated language acquisition: verbal, reading, writing
  • Poetic and creative talents
  • Weak mental math ability
  • Poor long term memory
  • Inability to grasp and remember math concepts, rules, formulas, sequence, and basic algebra facts; inconsistent results in these areas.
  • Confuse similar numbers (e.g., 7 and 9; 3 and 8); difficulty using a calculator
  • Lack ability to visualize and see the “big picture”
  • Easily disorientated or lost; difficulty keeping track of time
How and why to have a student assessed-

Pre Screens


Psycho Educational Assessments

What is a Screening for Success Pre Screen?
  • It is a tool that is used to determine if a student is at risk for having a learning disability
  • It can be summarized to provide information to an assessor
  • It was developed with the Learning Disability Association of Canada in conjunction with many other organizations who deal with adults who have learning disabilities
what types of questions does the screening for success pre screen ask
What types of questions does the Screening for Success Pre-Screen ask?

Questions related to the following:

  • The individual and their family
  • Health (past and present)
  • Language
  • Education (past and present)
  • Employment
  • Things that the student may have trouble with or no difficulty with
  • Activities they are good at (past and present)
  • Goals
why ask those questions
Why ask those questions?
  • Personal and family- other people in family who may struggle
  • Health (as a child until now)- possible vision, hearing or processing difficulties as a child
  • Language- languages learned at home vs. in school- ESL issues
  • Education (as a child until now)- Key grades that if repeated- may be indicators
  • Employment- switching jobs- why
  • Things that the student may have trouble with or no difficulty with- we are looking for the peaks and valleys
  • Activities they are good at- assessment of self
  • Goals- are they able to phrase them? Are they realistic?
what happens after the pre screen
What happens after the pre-screen?
  • Information obtained is summarized
  • Information is shared with faculty and sponsors
  • Next steps are developed and talked about with learner
  • Possible assessment and accommodations
assessing learning needs
Assessing Learning Needs
  • A psycho educational assessment is a reliable and common way to have a learning disability assessed
  • In order for students to access funding after your program, the Department of Education requires that a Registered Psychologist complete the assessment and that a clear diagnosis is stated as well as recommendations to assist the learner
assessing learning needs20
Assessing Learning Needs
  • So everyone has an understanding of how the student learns- their strengths and challenges
  • So supports can be talked about and possibly put in place
  • So advocacy skills can be developed
  • So future plans can be made
  • Two students who may have similar difficulties may not both have learning disabilities
  • Two learners who have diagnosed LDs may not express the disabilities in the same way
  • No two learners are alike- regardless of disability
a good assessment may include
A good assessment may include
  • Medical and learning background information- done through an interview
  • Observations during the assessment
  • IQ testing- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Third Edition for example
  • Testing of memory- Working Memory Index, Wechsler Memory Scale III for example
  • Processing speed assessment- Processing Speed Index for example
  • Academic Abilities- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, Second Edition
a good assessment may include23
A good assessment may include
  • Testing on retrieval of information- immediate and delayed memory capabilities
  • Comparing ability to retrieve visual vs. auditory information
  • Strengths of the learners as well as challenges
  • Recommendations that go into detail on how the learner can be supported
follow up
Follow up
  • Report should be explained to the learner by the psychologist
  • Supports need to be talked about with staff and student
  • Funding for supports have to be obtained
  • Follow up must be provided and accommodations must be re-evaluated for effectiveness
  • Documenting accommodations must be done as well
  • Accommodating a learning with a disability may require try a variety of strategies until you determine what works best for the individualstudent
  • General strategies can be useful but may not work for everyone
assisting the learner who may have language based ld
Assisting the learner who may have language based LD
  • Practice
  • Find work that is interesting to them and at their reading level- perhaps in magazines
  • Encourage reading groups or reading one-on-one
  • Chunking reading into smaller pieces
  • Allow learners to see and feel the written word- maybe drawing pictures of what they have read or taking about it with other people
  • If books on tape are available USE THEM
a little more personalized
A little more personalized
  • Use technology
  • Try developing misspelled word lists
  • Develop personal word dictionaries
  • Summarize what they are reading while they are reading it
  • Use a highlighter


some strategies to accommodate students who may have a math ld
Some strategies to accommodate students who may have a Math LD
  • Use graph paper or Inspiration for students who have difficulty organizing ideas.
  • Work on finding different ways to approach math facts; i.e., instead of just memorizing the multiplication tables, explain that 8 x 2 = 16, so if 16 is doubled, 8 x 4 must = 32.
  • Introduce new skills beginning with concrete examples and later moving to more abstract applications.
  • For language difficulties, explain ideas and problems clearly and encourage students to ask questions as they work.
  • Provide a place to work with few distractions and have pencils, erasers and other tools on hand as needed.
strategies continued
Strategies continued….
  • Use manipulatives such as play money, tape measures, photocopy paper, measuring cups etc
  • Have the student explain how to complete a problem in their own words before/while they work on it
  • Have the student create a math dictionary to define important words (sum, combine) in their own way
  • Try to relate topics to the life of the student, cooking, carpentry work, etc.
  • Explain how work can be done in different ways- not just the way you are comfortable with- so try to use videos, web sites, guest speakers
  • Chunking material into smaller parts and allowing learners to see connections