Tag Archives: Accommodations

Helping Parents Understand Learning Disabilities

A funny, curious little guy I love very much has a learning disability. Although I remind myself that each challenge in life brings its own blessings, my heart aches for him. My heart also suffers for his parents who care deeply and have already taken many steps to help him succeed.

I write this message for all parents who have been told their child has a learning disability. Although either gender can be affected, I will use the masculine pronoun. Most of all, I want parents to understand that a learning disability does not relate to lack of intelligence, laziness, or attitude. You might prefer to think that your child does not work hard, plays too much, or doesn’t care. Your child may even pretend not to care. He cares. As a former special education teacher, I do not believe young children do not care about learning. Only if your child gives up will he stop caring.

So, what is a learning disability? When one or more of the central nervous system processes do not work properly, we apply the term learning disability. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the disorder manifests in one of the following areas: attention, reasoning, processing, memory, communication, reading, writing, spelling, calculation, coordination, social competence, and emotional maturity.

Your child with learning disabilities does not lack the ability to learn and must be taught concepts at his thinking ability instead of his reading level. Although conventional teaching methods often do not work, with accommodations, your child can succeed — even through college. Without appropriate adaptations, your child may face a very painful educational experience. Continue reading

Promoting Writing Success with Tools for Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia, the disability that creates barriers to writing letters and numbers, does not need to destroy a child’s ability to succeed in school. When teachers and parents make adjustments, children with dysgraphia can begin to succeed. Accommodating tools provide alternative ways to produce work.

As a teacher or parent, do you want to experience pleasure? Imagine the excitement of a child who suddenly succeeds after a long, painful struggle. You can’t help but be thrilled at a child’s increased motivation. No accommodation or teaching tool offers a sure “fix”. However, providing help promotes enthusiasm for teachers, parents and for children. Continue reading

Do We Weaken Learning With Accommodations?

When do accommodations enhance education? When do they water down learning experiences? As a former special education teacher, I believe our goal should be to make learning as fluid as possible while maintaining high standards. Accommodations change how a student learns the material. Accommodations do not change the final outcome or difficulty of material. I share the following examples, which students in my classes taught me.

  • Instead of reading a text, a child can listen to an audiobook or oral presentation. Many years ago, a third grade boy taught me the importance of teaching content, such as science, at the child’s thinking ability instead of his reading level. This little guy loved technology (before technology could be found everywhere). He succeeded in math and he adored science lessons. He could not read orally. At that time, I was young and operating from the idea that if I could find books with an easy enough vocabulary, he would succeed. This intelligent little boy felt insulted by the “baby” books I asked him to read. Finally, I realized that no matter how simple the words and sentences, this child continued to omit phrases, hesitate, reread, and twist known words. I had to find a way to get the science information from the written text into his brain. I decided to find or create an audiobook or read the words aloud to him. While listening and following along, he began to succeed

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