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Part 1 of a 3 Part Webinar Series on Learning Disabilities

Part 1 of a 3 Part Webinar Series on Learning Disabilities. 100. Kristen Philbrook, Regional Disability Coordinator, Humanitas. Purpose. Why Do You Need to Know About Learning Disabilities (LD)?. It is a high incidence type disability There are a variety of types of LD

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Part 1 of a 3 Part Webinar Series on Learning Disabilities

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  1. Part 1 of a 3 Part Webinar Series on Learning Disabilities 100 Kristen Philbrook, Regional Disability Coordinator, Humanitas

  2. Purpose

  3. Why Do You Need to Know About Learning Disabilities (LD)? • It is a high incidence type disability • There are a variety of types of LD • So, for us to appropriately serve and support students with LD, staff must have a basic understanding of learning disabilities (LD) in order to: • Identify and implement strategies • Identify and implement appropriate accommodations • Evaluate effectiveness of supports and accommodations provided • Remember, each individual with a LD is unique and their disability manifests itself in various combinations and degrees of difficulty which requires an individualized approach to accommodation plan development

  4. Understanding LD LD defined and the areas of impact

  5. What is a Learning Disability? • A LD is a neurobiological condition that affects the way individuals of average to above average intelligence • Receive information • Process information • Express information • LD can impact the ability to acquire basic skills of listening, speaking, thinking, reading, spelling, writing, and/or mathematics

  6. Processing is Impacted • There are four stages of information processing used in learning:

  7. Executive Functioning is Impacted • Cognitive processes • Organizing/planning • Memory • Attention • Problem solving • Transitioning between tasks • Initiating and completing tasks

  8. Bottom Line? • LD does not reflect one’s IQ or how smart they are but it can affect many other areas of their lives even beyond what the definition implies. • Can be very complex or fairly straightforward • “Learning disabilities can be lifelong conditions that, in some cases, affect many parts of a person's existence: school or work, daily routines, family situations and, sometimes, even friendships and play. In some people, many overlapping learning disabilities may be apparent. Others may have a single, isolated learning problem that has little impact on other areas of their lives.”; Retrieved June 24, 2013.

  9. What a Learning Disability is Not It is not: • Economic disadvantage • Emotional disorders • Lack of educational opportunities due to: • English as a second language • Frequent changes of schools • Lack of instruction in basic skills • Poor school attendance • Intellectual disability • Normal process of learning a second language • Physical disabilities

  10. Myths & Misperceptions

  11. Truth or Myth/Misperception? • Individuals with learning disabilities are really just lazy or dumb and just need to try harder. • True or False? • Because they are often able to perform successfully in one or more areas and yet struggle in others and therefore sometimes avoid those areas, they are sometimes perceived as lazy or not trying hard enough because they are seen as being able to achieve adequately or quite successfully in the other areas not impacted by the LD. False

  12. Truth or Myth/Misperception? • Accommodations are really a crutch that keep students from learning how to do things for themselves and be independent in the real world. • True or False? • If a functional limitation has been identified, the accommodation, if effective, affords the individual equal access or opportunity to participate in a manner equal to that of his or her peers. False

  13. Truth or Myth/Misperception? • If a student can pay attention to certain activities for a long period of time but then have attention difficulties with others, then they really can’t have a functional limitation in the area of attention. They just need to focus. • True or False • Having this type of focus is often known as hyperfocus, an ability to become absorbed in tasks that are stimulating and rewarding. • “Like distractibility, hyperfocus is thought to result from abnormally low levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is particularly active in the brain's frontal lobes. This dopamine deficiency makes it hard to "shift gears" to take up boring-but-necessary tasks.” False

  14. In Fact • To some degree we all can relate • We all have strengths and weaknesses • We all have abilities that come naturally and challenges that prove more difficult • However, the difference being when one has a LD, the impairment has reached a level that significantly impairs some major life activity, such as learning, and the individual may need an accommodation in order to be able to perform certain tasks, to show his/her abilities, or to progress

  15. Talking Specifics

  16. Types of Learning Disabilities

  17. Dyslexia Defined • Difficulties with accurate and /or fluent word recognition, poor spelling and decoding abilities which typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language often resulting in secondary consequences such as difficulties with reading comprehension and reduced reading experiences that impede vocabulary and background knowledge development

  18. Dyslexia • There is no single pattern of difficulty that affects all individuals with dyslexia • Has difficulty distinguishing between certain letters with similar shapes like o, e, and c • Transposes or “sees” letters backwards, upside down • Text appears to jump around on the page • Reads text find but feels nauseous or gets a headache when reading • Sees the letters but not able to sound out words • Connects letters and sounds out words but word is unrecognized even if previously known • Can’t remember or make sense of what was read so has to read and re-read passages over and over

  19. Functional Limitation & Accommodation - Dyslexia Functional Limitation Accommodation Options • Difficulty reading grade level text • Poor handwriting and spelling • Poor memory skills • Trouble summarizing a story • Provide extra time to complete reading tasks or books on tape • Provide use of a computer and/or spell check • Use picture imagery • Provide visual aids and extra time

  20. Example • Transposing or seeing letters backward • Use of picture imagery • Provides a visual clue for the brain to process the word

  21. Dyscalculia Defined • Refers to a wide range of lifelong learning disabilities involving math

  22. Dyscalculia • Difficulty with • Numbers • Calculations or learning math facts • Poor long term memory for math functions • Spatial problems • Placing numbers into vertical columns • Measuring • Estimating and mental math

  23. Functional Limitation & Accommodation - Dyscalculia Functional Limitation Accommodation Options • Difficulty with word problems • Difficulty using multiple steps in math calculations • Difficulty with fractions • Difficulty organizing problems on the page • Provide visual representations of words • Break math assignments down into single steps • Provide manipulative to work through math problems • Provide color coded notes • Use graph paper

  24. Example

  25. Dysgraphia Defined • Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing and can include visual-spatial difficulties (e.g., trouble processing what the eye sees) and language processing difficulties (e.g., trouble processing and making sense of what the ear hears)

  26. Dysgraphia • Difficulties with: • Illegible handwriting • Difficulty writing within a defined space • Letter reversals • Letter transposition • Omission of letters or words • Poor spelling • Getting thoughts onto paper • Organizing letters, numbers, and words on a line or page.

  27. Functional Limitation & Accommodation - Dysgraphia Functional Limitation Accommodation Options • May have illegible printing and cursive writing • Inconsistent spacing between words and letters • Exhibits strange wrist, body, or paper positioning • Allow the use of word processor or computer • Provide alternatives to writing assignments (video-taped reports, audio taped reports) • Provide pencil grips or/aids specially designed writing aids

  28. Functional Limitation & Accommodation - Dysgraphia Functional Limitation Accommodation Options • Copying or writing is slow and labored • Difficulty thinking and writing at the same time • Allow the use of a note taker or provide copies of the notes • Allow oral examines and/or tape recorded lectures

  29. Examples • Illegible handwriting • Pencil grips

  30. Dyspraxia • Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor skill development that affects planning and completing fine motor tasks which can vary from simple motor tasks such as waving goodbye to more complex tasks like brushing teeth. It is estimated that dyspraxia affects at least two percent of the general population, and 70% of those affected are male. As many as six percent of all children show some signs of dyspraxia.

  31. Dyspraxia • Difficulties with: • Muscle control and coordination • Apparent clumsiness

  32. Functional Limitation & Accommodation - Dyspraxia Functional Limitation Accommodation Options • Unable to follow a set of instructions in the correct sequence • May seem easily distractible • May be slow learning new rules • Sense of balance may be affected • Provide step by step instructions • Provide a distraction free space or headphones • Provide instructions in writing • Provide adaptive seat/furniture/workspace

  33. Functional Limitation & Accommodation - Dyspraxia Functional Limitation Accommodation Options • May appear to be disorganized or have difficulty finding things • Clearly label frequently used classroom materials and provide color coded notes

  34. Examples • motor control difficulties • Adaptive seating/furniture

  35. Visual Processing Disorders • Difficulty with: • Interpreting visual information, not related to difficulty with poor vision

  36. Functional Limitation & Accommodation – Visual Processing Functional Limitation Accommodation Options • Difficulty copying accurately • Frequently loses place • Messy looking papers (i.e. letters colliding or not on the line and/or irregular spacing) • Difficulty negotiating around center • Provide a copy of notes or reduce copying tasks • Provide tracking tools: ruler, text windows and check in frequently • Allow use of computer or alternative to writing assignments • Provide visual aids to navigate the center

  37. Examples • Tracking tools for readers who lose their place

  38. Auditory Processing (Perceptual) Disorders • Difficulty with: • Interpreting auditory information, not related to difficulty with hearing

  39. Functional Limitation & Accommodation – Auditory Processing Functional Limitation Accommodation Options • Difficulty remembering directions given orally • Difficulty following multiple directives given at one time • Difficulty comprehending complex sentence structures or rapid speech • Says “what” a lot • Provide directions in writing • Limit the number of directions given at one time • Slow down and show rather than explain • Frequent check ins to verify understanding

  40. Functional Limitation & Accommodation – Auditory Processing Functional Limitation Accommodation Options • Easily distracted by background noise • Processes thoughts and ideas slowly and have difficulty explaining them • Mispronounces and misspells similar sounding words • Provide noise eliminating headphones • Provide extra time to respond • Allow the use of a dictionary

  41. Examples • Headphones • Earbugs

  42. Developing Accommodation Plans Students with LD

  43. Tips for Drafting Accommodation Plans • Talk to the individual with the disability– they know best • What works for one student might not work for another • LD manifests itself differently in each individual • The strengths of the individual • Preferred learning style • What could be used or altered to eliminate a barrier

  44. Remember! • Are accommodations sufficient to provide the student access to all areas of the program? • If not, what additional accommodations are necessary (e.g., in career technical, residential, other areas)? • What accommodations has the individual received in the past? (IEP, 504 plan, vocational rehabilitation documentation) • Do they remain relevant to the current situation?

  45. Test Your Knowledge

  46. Scenario 1 Chris • He always seems to have difficulty copying from the board • He leaves out whole words or letters so that what he writes does not make sense • It is also very difficult to read his papers What accommodations could help Chris?

  47. Scenario 1 - Points for Discussion • Use of computer • Note taker • Reduce copying tasks • Allow oral presentations for assignments

  48. Scenario 2 Tiffany • When giving oral directions to she often responds with “what” • When listening to a lecture, her notes often do not make sense • She writes down half a thought • She states that she only hears part of what was said and then the person moves on What accommodations could help Tiffany eliminate frustration when taking notes?

  49. Scenario 2 - Points for Discussion • Use of a tape recorder • Smart Pen • Note taker • Provide visuals when possible • Provide handouts of notes prior to lecture • Use buddy system

  50. Scenario 3 David • David is never able to find anything • He often loses his assignments and appears to be disorganized • He appears to be clumsy and is always falling out of his chair What accommodations could help David with organization?

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