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Student Profiles: Learning Disability

Definition: A student with a learning disability displays learning problems that are documented by a Registered Psychologist. Learning disabilities involve significant dysfunction in the acquisition and/or demonstration of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning and/or mathematical processes. A student is average to above intellectually, displays a discrepancy between their intelligence and their performance, and, not other apparent disability can account for the dysfunction. An uneven profile of achievement is typical of an individual with learning disabilities. Learning disabilities are permanent, however, many individuals learn compensatory strategies and coping skills.

Equipment considerations for students with learning disabilities should include:

• screen reading and voice input/output hardware and software
• reading machine such as the Kurzweil Personal Reader
• large computer monitor
• word processing with grammar check, spell check and thesaurus tools
• time management and organization software such as Outlook and Sidekick
• charting software
• Alpha-smart for note-taking

Also, practitioners may utilize the suggestions found within the examples presented, make appropriate combinations and implement the accommodations and suggestions that result.
Learning Disability (Student "C"):

Student "C" has a visual perception learning disability; problems with interpreting and organizing information that are received through sight. "C" is 21 years old and has successfully completed secondary school. He has received extensive training, through a private consultant, to utilize other senses and compensate for his learning disability. He is registered with alternative print resources and has a private tutor available to him approximately 5 hours per week. "C" has worked with this tutor in the past. He is a highly motivated student, enrolled in the Radio Broadcasting Program. He will complete the program in 4 years, rather than 2.

Characteristics:

Relevant Accommodations:

Teaching Tips:

• strong auditory memory

• weak vocabulary retention and expression

• weak reading (lacks fluency and speed) and spelling skills

• usually misinterprets what is seen

• orientation tours

• tape-recorder

• note-takers

• taped text materials

• computerized thesaurus and speller, with voice output

• reader or oral exams• proofreader

• dicta-typist for written assignments

• tutorial supports to verbalize learning

• extended time for tests

• reduced course load

• provide a course outline and related reference materials in advance

• use demonstrations when appropriate

• verbally repeat important information

• provide terminology lists

• allow oral submissions rather than all written

Learning Disability (Student "D"):

Student "D" has an expressive language learning disability; problems with speaking and writing language for communication. She is an adult learner in a three year Business Management Program and was recently diagnosed as learning disabled. She has no experience with special supports and services because she was not enrolled in education during in the era of special education initiatives and developments. At 42 years of age, "D" wishes to re-enter employment with solid management skills. She likes to lead groups and activities and reports that many people seek her input for major life decisions.

Characteristics:

Relevant Accommodations:

Teaching Tips:

• unable to take usable notes

• substitutes "easy" words for more difficult words

• difficulty verbalizing in whole, coherent thoughts• may refrain from discussions

• difficulty putting sentences and paragraphs together

• unable to proofread and edit work effectively

• illegible handwriting

• writes and prints

• may display general coordination deficits

• poor organization skills because of problem ordering language

• counselling support

• tape recorder

• note-takers

• audio-taped text materials

• computer with word processing and structured outline writing software

• training to acquire and implement skills for verbalization, sequence charts, graphic organization of information, cues, index cards, highlighting

• editorial support

• testing aid

• eliminate all sensory distractions

• provide course outline and book list in advance

• structure lectures with introductions, main ideas, and reviews

• provide study questions• use visual aids; graphs, videos, charts, drawings

• repetition of key points is helpful

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