By definition, Learning Disabled Students are average to above average in their ability level. However, they have a greater discrepancy between strengths and weaknesses than the average student. To be Learning Disabled is not to be a slow learner. It is possible to be identified as both "Learning Disabled" and "Gifted". A Learning Disabled Student may experience any of the following:
1) Poor or at least fragile self-concept and history of underachievement in some areas.
2) Low frustration tolerance - tends to give up easily.
3) Poor or negligible organizational and time management skills- forgets books, due dates, scattered notes, loses things.
4) Difficulty accepting her own feelings - doesn't believe she is entitled to feel angry, hurt, frustrated.
5) Sets unrealistic expectations for himself.
6) Denial of the existence of a problem.
7) Believes that she does not deserve to succeed. Refuses to stand up for her rights or if she does, she uses an aggressive or tactless approach which brings a negative reaction and confirms for her that everyone is against her - victim complex.
8) Fear of risking failure - does not try - can then attribute failure to lack of effort or ability - blames failure on factors outside of himself - maintains that he could do it if he tried.
9) Attributes success to luck or ease of the task (extrinsic factors) rather than effort or ability (intrinsic factors).
10) Unable to see her role in the dynamics of a situation or interaction - cannot understand that she sometimes causes her own problems.
11) Unable to come to grips with the fact that he can control many of the things that happen to him.
12) Frequently, considerable discrepancy between abilities in strong and weak subjects.
13) Frequently has trouble with tasks consisting of several stages. May even get as far as completing the assignment and then forget to hand it in.
*any given Learning Disabled student will not necessarily experience all of these characteristics.
For Students with Writing Difficulties:
1) Give more time to complete written work.
2) Encourage the use of word processing on computer.
3) Give several shorter assignments rather than one long one.
4) Assign oral presentations.
5) Let student photocopy another student's notes or copy notes on carbon paper.
6) Consistent checking of notebook.
7) Allow student to copy overheads before the class or supply copies.
8) Encourage note taking using maps and diagrams.
For Students With Reading Difficulties:
1) Teach how to decipher most important points and highlight them.
2) Present information in a visual form (e.g. maps of written content, diagrams, charts, graphs of written content).
3) Give student a list of key vocabulary for each major unit.
4) Give a tape recording of a text or provide an adapted version of the text.
5) Encourage reading for pleasure by having interesting and relevant books and articles available.
6) Teach how to use the text i.e. table of contents, headings subheadings, pictures, diagrams.
7) Reinforce different reading methods depending on purpose of reading i.e. prereading, skimming, self questioning, reading in depth for detail. etc.
For Students with Organization, Concentration and/or Attention Difficulties:
1) Give preferential seating.
2) Emphasize eye contact.
3) Use visual aids.
4) Keep directions slow, clear and simple and reinforce them.
5) State the purpose of the lesson at the beginning.
6) Agree upon breaks during class time.
7) Encourage the use of a homework book/daily planner.
8) Tell student what is important to study.
9) Teach study skills during class time.
10) Segment long assignments so the student may complete in small sections.