EDUC3580 Learning disabilities


  • No single description characterizes all students with LD.
  • Reading Skills (decoding and comprehension)
  • Written Language Skills (handwriting, spelling, written expression)
  • Math Skills (spatial organization, lack of alertness to visual detail, procedural errors, failure to shift mindset, difficulty forming numbers correctly, difficulty with memory, judgement and reasoning, language)
  • Learning Skills (attention, organizing and interpreting information, reasoning skills, motor skills, independent learning, academic survival skills)

Assessment Procedures to Identify

Not one specific test for learning disabilities. Expected to take all standardized tests and state assessments. Held to the same standards, but sometimes have accommodations.

  • Dyslexia - Phonological Test - ability to isolate and work with sounds.
  • Dysgraphia - Test of Written Language - ability to use common rules of sentence structure like punctuation.
  • Motor & Processing Skills- Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Drawing - ability to draw shapes and figure and their relationship in space.
  • Intelligence & Acheivement Tests

Special Services

  • RTI (Response to Intervention)
  • IEP (Individualized Education Plan)

Classroom Adaptations


  • Expected to meet the same curricular expectations
  • Identify classroom demands
  • Note student strengths and needs
  • Check for potential success
  • Look for potential problems
  • Differentiate instruction

Social & Emotional

  • Behaviour contract
  • Social skills training
  • Self-control training
  • Learned Helplessness
  • Attribution Training: Set reasonable goals, provide feedback contingent to student behavior, give students responsibility, teach students to reinforce themselves, give students a chance to show strengths.

Strategies & Modifications with Our Students

Key is to not modify, to accommodate. Understand the disabilities that your students have so that you can differentiate instruction.

  • Research continues to confirm that we can teach students with learning disabilities to "learn how to learn." We can put them into a position to compete and hold their own.
  • Break learning into small steps
  • Supply regular, quality feedback
  • Use diagrams, graphics and pictures to augment what they say in words
  • Provide ample independent, well-designed intensive practice
  • Model instructional practices that they want students to follow
  • Engage students in process type questions like “How is the strategy working? Where else might you apply it?”

Learning from a Professional

Mrs. Sarah hooVer

Eight years as a working professional with a SPED endorsement from GU.

2 years as a general SPED teacher, 5 years as a head SPED teacher and SPED director grades 7-12, and now works at Wayne Community Schools as a substitute/para.

  • Writing Comprehension - gives student spelling words one week ahead of time.
  • Reading comprehension - student does 10 instead of 20 find the right answer in the spelling.
  • Dyslexia - had a student that would struggle for the rest of his life, school provided a SOLO program for him, so all of his material was read to him. He could comprehend entire stories, but they were backwards.
  • LD in comprehension and fluency - student was pulled out of general classroom and utilized SPED room or other rooms.
  • Many times have to read to them or revise the wording or sentence so they can understand it. EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT!
  • ADHD - give them something to fidget with or use a lot of movement in the classroom during instruction.

Extra Information

Tips for Parents

Learn about LD, praise your child when they do well, find out how they learn best, let them help,with household chores, make homework a priority, pay attention to their mental health, talk to other parents who have children with LD's, meet with school personnel to create an IEP, and establish a working relationship with your child's teachers.

The End


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