Please note that a child with LD will exhibit more than 50 per cent of these symptoms. A child who exhibits one or two of these symptoms does not have learning Difficulty:
- Disorganization : Unable to work in an orderly way, unable to plan.
- Distractibility : Cannot sustain attention.
- Reactions to unnecessary stimuli or irrelevant details.
- Preservation : Cannot move to new activity, stop old one.
- Hyperactivity : Runs around excessively, squirms, restless, overactive.
- Low frustration tolerance : Gives up or cries easily.
- Erratic learning behavior : Sometimes knows and sometimes not.
- Oral class work better than other work.
- Inability to transfer learning to another situation.
- Lack of cooperation.
B) GROSS MOTOR SKILLS –Child is akward or shows difficulty in:
- Throwing or catching
- Coordination : falls, trips, knocks over, bumps into objects
- Body image : Does not know parts of body
C) FINE MOTOR SKILLS – Child has difficulty in :
- Manual dexterity (tying shoe lace, buttoning)
- Holding pencil
D) LATERALITY AND DIRECTIONALITY –Child has difficulty with :
- Establishing hand preference.Telling left from right on self and on opposite person.
- Position concepts : Up-down, before-after, front-back, side ward, right-left, over-under, around-between.
- transferring from vertical to horizontal ( copying )
E) SPEECH AND LANGUAGE – Child has difficulty in :
- Speaking clearly, hesitant, halting speech, stuttering.
- Expressing things orally he appears to understand.
- Articulation : Reproducing sounds correctly.
- Sequencing words in a sequence or letters within words.
F) MEMORY – Child has difficulty in :
- Ability to recall and retain general auditory information.
- Ability to recall auditory information in correct sequence and detail ( days of the week, retelling a story etc.)
- Recall of simple ideas and procedures.
- Following spoken directions ( either misunderstands, and/or habitually asks for repetition .)
- Ability to recall accurately prior to visual experience ( where he stopped on the page, what objects are missing from the series, matching briefly exposed symbols or words.)
G) READING – Child has difficulty in :
- Seeing likeliness and differences in pictures or words ( visual matching )
- Identifying letters ( letter names )
- Associating the letter sounds with the printed letter
- Identifying similar letters ( b-d, m-n, p-q, d-p, n-u, m-w )
- Hearing differences in sounds of letters.
H) WRITING AND SPELLING – Child has difficulty in :
- Copying correctly from board or book.
- Recall of letters or words in dictation or spontaneous writing even when he can identify or copy them.
- Reversing individual letters or numbers.
- Transposing letters within words.
- Fine motor condition in letter formation, staying on lines, spacing, organization of letters, or words, size constancy.
- Mixing small and capital letters.
Strategies to support pupils with learning disabilities
Pupils with learning disabilities will respond best to multi-sensory teaching approaches, so that they use all the senses-vision, hearing and touch.
2. Strategies to support pupils with poor memory skills
You can help pupils to recall sequences of instructions or the next stage in a complex task by these methods:
Use questions that prompt the pupil to remember the next instruction or the next action that is required rather than just telling him/her what to do, e.g.
– what equipment will you need ?
– what did you have to do/write first ?
– Are there any words you know you will need to write but cannot spell ?
Encourage the use of a quick plan or list that will act as a reminder of what has to be done and the sequence in which it has to be carried out. This can be in words or pictures or diagrams.
• Ask the pupil to repeat the instruction so that you know he/she has understood the task.
• Before the plenary session of a literacy hour or the daily mathematics lesson .
-remind the pupils of what they have done/found out
-encourage and help them to make a brief note or prompt card that
they can use as a reminder of what they want to say during the plenary.
• Reinforce the teacher’s instructions by repeating them at stages during a task.
• Remind pupils of strategies that they may have found helpful in previous lessons.
• Prompt the teacher to ask a specific pupil or group of pupils about their achievements or successes during the lesson.
3. Strategies to support pupils in the literary hour and the daily mathematics lesson
• Ensure they are well positioned to see and hear the teacher.
• Follow up what pupils have seen and heard by experiences with concrete activities.
• Provide concrete apparatus to support the oral and mental starter, e.g. a personal number line, counters, number square, multiplication square, etc.
• Check that pupils have understood any new or possibly confusing vocabulary that the teacher has used. Remember common words, such as even, mean, odd, order, place times, root, table, have specific meanings in a mathematics lesson that are quite different from general usage.
• Pupils with specific learning difficulties will often need concrete apparatus to support their learning to build confidence and understanding.
• Pupils with poor memory skills will also take longer to learn new sight words, spellings, number facts, etc. They will need opportunities to over-learn or practice these targets. Over-learning is usually most effective if carried out using multi-sensory methods for short periods, several times a day, e.g. learning how to spell high frequency words by using the look, read, spell, write, check strategy.
• Be aware that pupils will each have different learning styles and preferences. Some pupils will be good visualisers and can readily get better at remembering from what they hear
• Support pupils by providing lists of key words or subject specific vocabulary that will be needed in the lesson.
• Make sure that there is easy access to the equipment and the resources a pupil will need for each lesson, e.g. dictionaries, spell-checkers, rulers, word banks.
• Expect to have to support individuals or groups of pupils in activities to develop their phonological skills. This may take he form of delivering a specific programme.
• Use multi-sensory approaches through the use of concrete apparatus, e.g. cards, whiteboards, 3d letters in literacy, and individual counters, number lines, number/multiplication squares in mathematics.
• Encourage pupils to use alternatives to writing where appropriate, e.g. diagrams, mind maps, writing frames.
• Encourage older pupils to make quick notes or write key words on a whiteboard to act as a prompt to answer questions or give feedback in plenary sessions in the literacy hour or daily mathematics lesson.
• Give lots of encouragement to pupils when they are practicing or over-learning tasks. Give positive feedback in their progress and encourage the pupil to set him/herself little personal challenges to improve, e.g. to get one more spelling correct next time or to get faster as well as more accurate at doing something.
• Over-learning activities are most effective if the can be done several times a day for a few minutes and in each session you recall what was done/learned in the previous sessions before you start.
• Make sure the texts you read with pupils are appealing and are of the appropriate reading level.
• Remember that making mare than two errors in ten words is frustration level and the text will be too hard for independent reading but could be a shared text or used for a guided reading session or paired reading.
• Some pupils find it more comfortable to read from pastel coloured paper or may benefit from using coloured lenses or filters.
• Dyspraxic pupils may need to use an angle board (which is made of wood or plastic and raises the writing surface to an angle of 15-25 degrees like an old-fashioned school desk).
• Pupils may need a soft or shaped grip to encourage an appropriate pen/pencil grip with the fingers.
• Foam grips or fatter pens and pencils are helpful for pupils who have a very weak grip.
• Encourage pupils to ‘have a go’ by using whiteboards to plan or experiment with spellings and letter formation.
• Use different widths of line to help scaffold handwriting.
• Squared paper is often helpful in mathematics as long as the squares are not too small for the pupil to write in.
• Make little books as examples and reminders of word level targets, e.g. ‘my book about ai/ay spelling pattern’. On each page write a sentence using a word that contains the pattern.
• Use writing frames with appropriate headings or questions that will help the structure and sequence of the writing.
• Use concept maps and flow charts to help with the planning of longer pieces of writing or revision for tests and examinations.
• Encourage the pupils to think about the things that they find helpful in their learning and to evaluate how well they have done a piece of work.
• Always give plenty of praise and encouragement for the effort that has gone into a task, not just for the success of the outcome.
• Feed backs to the teacher the amount of effort that has gone into a piece of work. This is especially important with writing where the output may not appear to reflect the effort involved.
4. Strategies to develop personal organization
Many dyspraxic pupils have difficulty organizing themselves. At the secondary school the timetable can become a major problem for some pupils. The demands of the school day can be very challenging:
• Finding their way around the building to different lessons 1
• Planning and organizing the required books and equipment for each lesson
• Packing, unpacking and carrying bags of books and equipment which can be extremely demanding for pupils with motor coordination difficulties. it is helpful to
• Make sure sufficient time is given to pupils to write down homework accurately
• Set up a ‘phone a buddy’ system as a back-up method for knowing and understanding homework requirements
• Provide opportunities during school time for pupils to be helped with any problems with homework. Timetables, lost property, etc.