Learning Disability Special Education provision
Lecture eight introduces you to another category of individuals who are to be considered in special education programme. It defines learning disability ad discusses causes, how to identify them and strategies used to teach children with learning disability.
|OBJECTIVES OF THE LECTURE
At the end of this lecture students should be able to:
8.2 Meaning of Learning Disability
According to Kirk, et al (2003) & Heward ,(1988) ,learning disability means the disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, and spell or to do mathematical calculations. The term also includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; of mental retardation, emotional disturbance; or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage.
*Dyslexia refers to a severe impairment of the ability to read.
8.3 Possible Causes of Learning Disability
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of learning disability; however the possible causes fall into three general categories:
8.3.1 Organic and Biological Factors
It was suspected that neurological factors was the cause of learning disabilities, however it is not agreed in the field of special education because the evidence for neurological cause is based on the relatively simple measure of neurological measure. Many studies which were done with students with severe learning disabilities turned out to be that central nervous system dysfunction may be the cause of learning disabilities.
8.3.2 Genetic factors
Over several years evidence build up that learning disabilities tend to run in families. Studies done with identical twins showed that if one twin has disabilities in reading, the other twin is likely to experience the same problem.
8.3.3 Environmental Factors
It is difficult to pinpoint the environmental causes of learning disability. However, some evidence shows that environmentally disadvantaged children are prone to exhibit learning problem. Another environmental cause of learning disability is poor teaching, and it is believed that if teachers are well prepared to handle students’ problem in early stages, some learning problems could be avoided.
8.4 Problems of Children with Learning Disability
Children with learning disability are faced with various problems including:
8.4.1 Attention Problem
Some of the children are hyperactive hence unable to pay attention and to be distracted. The teacher of such child has a difficulty gaining the child’s attention and sustaining it or switching the child’s attention from one activity or stimulus to another.
8.4.2 Memory Problem
Many children who are learning disabled have remembering problems. Thinking deficits often involve in applying certain thought processes and lack of awareness of one’s own thinking, as well as lack of conscious awareness of one’s own thinking processes.
8.4.3 Social and Emotional Problems
Many children exhibit problems in social skills the tendency which make them rejected by their peers and to have poor self- concept. Frequently, they shift in mood, such as being high-strung and nervous or showing low tolerance levels of frustrations. They also have difficulty taking the perspective of others, putting themselves in someone else shoes.
8.4.4 Behaviour Problems
It is difficult for some of them to acquire and maintain friendship since their behaviour easily annoy others thus strained interactions. Other children may tend to shun him or her if he/she has the behaviour of intruding into others conversation.
8.4.5 Motivational Problems
Many children with learning disabilities lack motivation, or feelings about their own ability to deal with life many problems. These children may demonstrate their motivational problems in three interrelated ways: external locus of control, negative attribution and learned helplessness.
8.5 Identification of Individual with Learning Disability
Learning disability is not easily identified due to the fact that it should first be distinguished from other conditions, then the difference between potential and achievement evaluated. If the result shows an identifiable developmental learning disabilities that has contributed to educational underachievement, the child then qualifies for special education. However, for the child is regarded as having learning disability if:
- The child’s achievement shows unsatisfactorily level compared to his/her age mates in one or more in oral expression, listening comprehension and reading skills, mathematics calculations and reasoning.
- The child’s performance show a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in one or more of the areas mentioned above.
- The discrepancy between ability and achievement is not the primary cause of a visual, hearing or motor disabilities, emotional problems or cultural, environmental and economic disadvantage.
- 8.6 Instructional Strategies
- Teachers should modify instructions and focus on individual needs and problems because children in the same class differ in areas of difficulty.
- Provide short assignment and extra time for assignment, tests and examinations.
- Teach them in groups and let other students help.
This lecture explained that learning disability is the disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, and spell or to do mathematical calculations. Learning disability doesn’t include problems associated with visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; of mental retardation, emotional disturbance; or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantages.
The lecture also explained that causes of learning disability fall under three categories including organic and biological factors, genetic factors, and environmental factors.It was also discussed that children with learning disability are faced with attention problem, memory problem, social and emotional problems, behaviour problems and motivational problems. However, learning disability cannot be easily identified since it should be distinguished from other conditions. Therefore, instructions should be modified to focus on individual needs, extra time should be provided for assignment, test and examination and children should be taught in group