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Thursday, April 26, 2018
Article written by Aaron Schwartz

Children With Learning Disabilities

Among children of school age there is a limited group which can not be taught by a general, common program; this group includes children with various learning disabilities. These disabilities can concern inability to read, problems in math reasoning, difficulties with syntax, some visual and audio difficulties.

These children cannot follow properly the regular school program because of their learning disabilities but they can profit by a restricted and adjusted program. The problem of their efficient education is really pressing one.

The philosophy of the instructional design consists in the following. Very often children with learning disabilities cannot gasp even the simplest connection and relations between objects and phenomena without the teacherís help. Because of this it is necessary to create certain educational conditions, when children can acquire elementary skills laid down in a special program. In order to prepare such children for later vocational education, for work and life in general, they should have handwork lessons, practical activities in experimental situations, take part in excursions. Such children should be taught elementary systematic knowledge and skills: their native language, natural sciences, mathematics, geography and one or the other vocational subject. The instruction of children with defects should be directed not only at providing the necessary skills but also at correction and compensation of their learning disabilities. These children should be prepared for socially useful life.

Children with learning disabilities usually have serious problem in studying. Such problems can develop into childrenís lagging behind and poor progress. The problems can concern general and deep lagging behind of many subjects and for a long time, as well as partial or episodic lagging behind in one or several very difficult subjects.

It is very hard for children with learning disabilities to organize their time, to take notes and follow teacherís instructions. They are unable to understand the point of the task adequately, to see their work in proper perspective. Such children are characterized by passivity, inattention, by absence of self-control in studying.

Thatís why I would like to present the instructional design for those children who have certain learning disabilities. The instruction will be directed at developing their self-discipline, attention, at improving their study skills, their writing, oral, reading, social skills.

Another important point to be mentioned concerns the differentiated instruction. The instruction for the children with learning disabilities should be divided according to the degree of the insufficiency of their learning disabilities.

Children should be tested in order to reveal problems they have. Children that are lagging behind certain subjects will be grouped into the classes where these subjects are taught at the lower level and in smaller extent.

Moreover children with learning disabilities should be divided into different classes according to their learning possibilities. This division has certain sense because there are children who are capable for not very bad studying but they have poor learning ability to work. But also there are children who have weak studying capacity and low ability to work, and as a result they need special teacherís approach.

This division is effective because it allows to create the necessary conditions for the maximum development of each group of children.

According to all peculiarities of the children with learning disabilities, I would propose the plan of teaching designed to promote corrective educational activities directed to their furthering development.

First of all, this plan will include the lesson of childrenís native language. The lessons in native language are of certain value for children with learning disabilities according to the fact that most of them have certain difficulties in correct spelling. Besides very often they have grammatical errors, poor sentence structure. Children with disabilities can have difficulties in teacherís fast speech and can misunderstand his lectures. Often such children are slow readers, they usually comprehend incorrectly the meaning of texts and have poor retention.

The plan for lessons in native language will be as following.

1. The teaching of listening. Children will be taught to listen efficiently and effectively. They must learn to listen critically and to be able to distinguish between truth and propaganda.

2. The teaching of spelling. Will be spend more time on spelling, than in classes for normal children.

3. The teaching of writing. On the one hand, writing lessons will begin with the formation of letters, then they will progress to the writing of words, sentences, paragraphs and so on. At each level the rules which govern composition will be studied. As a result we suppose the child will be able to write and be willing to use these techniques in expressing himself in written language. But on the other hand, there will be another very important aspect of studying. It will include discussions and activities which will give children ideas for writing. Moreover such activities are supposed to develop childrenís motivation to write.

4. The teaching of reading. We will accept the most modern concepts in the teaching of reading. Or reading methods will begin with teaching whole words and then they move on to structural and phonetic analysis.

5. The teaching of oral language. It will concern mainly the development of greater vocabulary and the requirements of oral habits.

In the whole, our lessons will be aimed not only at teaching mechanics, various techniques, rules but also at developing childrenís motivation and willingness.

The second part of teaching plan is presented by lessons in history and geography. These lessons are expected to improve childrenís general comprehension, general knowledge and social skills.

The lessons will be conducted in the following way. The children will be provided with study guides that will cue them to main points of the teaching material, with oral logical and concrete instructions, cue words that will help them to understand material. The children will have practice exercises when they will have some problems. New and technical vocabulary will be always presented to them. Big attention will be paid to the development of their memory associations and to the ability to express their thoughts clearly.

First of all, the childrenís geography will start with themselves, their home, and will move out from there. They will study their community, then hey will spread out to learning world geography. The emphasis will not be only on memorization of facts but also upon understanding interrelationships of geography and culture.

Simultaneously children will be studying history. They will start with themselves today and then go back in time and will also learn the history of their expanding geographic universe. The history of religions will be studied as a part of the study of the history of civilization. This all will develop childrenís skills in various spheres and broaden their outlook.

Plan to work with students with learning disabilities will also include the need to work at home to develop these childrenís responsibility and self-control. We will establish homework habits with pleasant tasks such as collecting pictures or objects. It will include drill activities which are both varied and practical. It will be individualized so it will meet the needs of many children and will give them many opportunities improve their skills, to overcome some disabilities and to be creative.

Speaking of assessment design, I would like to propose programmed learning method. It will consist of testing the deaf children by means of multiple choice of questions. I consider this kind of assessment to be effective because of the following.

Communication with the children with learning disabilities is often very difficult. There is always an interaction between the children and the teacher and only when this interaction is positive learning takes place. But on the other hand, the programmed learning can never fully replace the teacher. It always must consider and define what students should be able to do at the end of the program.

Nevertheless, in situations of assessment for children with learning disabilities it will be very useful. The matter is that it can help to avoid some stressful situations and can give children more time for thinking. It also will give them the opportunity of using dictionary, thesaurus and a calculator, that is recommended in the case of children with learning disabilities. The process of assessment will be as following. After receiving instruction the child will go to the machine. It will present him with a question and choice of answers. Each answer will correspond to a key. The child will select the answer by pressing the appropriate key.
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