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“Walk a Mile in My Shoes”

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1 “Walk a Mile in My Shoes”
LD Simulation Workshop Linda Barbetta – Executive Director

2 “Imagine going to work and not being able to do your job
“Imagine going to work and not being able to do your job. Now imagine that you can't leave your job. Imagine having to do that every day. This is what life is like for children with learning disabilities.“ -- Dr. David Urion Director, Neurology and Learning Disabilities Program, Children's Hospital, Boston

3 The Learning Process A person with a learning disability has difficulty taking in, remembering, or expressing information. INFORMATION Taking in information MEMORY Understanding, Processing and Filing it to Memory There are three main stages in the learning process. First we take information, store/decode it to memory, then we retrieve that information and feed it back to the outside world either verbally or non-verbally. If any of the these three stages experience difficulty, this is when learning disabilities come into play. EXPRESSION Withdrawing information and using it in the outside world

4 Facts about Learning Disabilities
Neurobiological disorder – very misunderstood because of “invisibility” Average to above average intellectual ability Affects all areas of life, not just education You do not out grow it. 10% of Canadians have an LD Over 3 million people in Canada have a learning disability – that’s a lot of vulnerable kids! We all come from a society of visually-oriented people. Therefore, it is difficult for people to understand that someone who looks like a typical person can have challenges with simple learning tasks like reading, spelling, doing math, etc. Those who misunderstand learning disabilities may refer to people with LD as “dumb, lazy, stupid”. Please know LDs are not caused from: bad parenting, poor diet, red dye in our food and it’s not a teaching or a teacher disability. LDs are a medical condition – and it’s for life. People with LDs have average to above average IQ and there are approx. 3.1 million people with LD in Canada who suffer from this invisible LD. LDs are very misunderstood because they are invisible. Those who misunderstand LDs may refer to people with an LD as “dumb, lazy, stupid”. Please know LDs are not caused by: bad parenting, poor diet, red dye in our food and it’s not a teaching or a teacher disability. LDs are a medical condition and are for life. People with LDs have average and many times above average IQ and there are approximately 3.1 million people with an LD in Canada who are dealing with this invisible disability.

5 Impact of Learning Disabilities

For those with LD who are working, the average income is $14,000/year, whereas, in the general population the average income per year is $23,000. 43% of the LD population live at or below the poverty line; in the general population those who live below the poverty line represent 18%. 48% of the LD population are out of the work force or unemployed, whereas, only 26% of the general population is out of the work force or unemployed. Up to 60% of adolescents in treatment for substance abuse have identified LD (Source: Hazelden Foundation, Minnesota, 1992).

7 More Stats… 35% of students with LD drop out of high school -twice the rate of their non LD peers (Source: National Longitudinal Transition Study, Wagner, 1991 ). 62% of students with LD were unemployed one year after graduating from high school (Source: National Longitudinal Transition Study, Wagner, 1991 ). 50% of females with LD were single mothers within three to five years after leaving school (Source: N. L. T. Study, Wagner, 1991). 10%-12% of adolescents with LD become involved with the criminal justice system compared to 2.5% of the general population (Source: Ontario government, 1986).

8 “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” Workshop
Workshop adapted from: The Learning Disabilities Association-Vancouver 3292 E Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. Canada V5M 1Z8  Today everyone will be given a unique opportunity to walk a mile in the shoes of someone who is learning disabled. You will gain insight into some of the struggles people with LDs experience every day of their lives. Not every person with an LD will face all the challenges presented – LDs vary in severity and generally affect multiple areas. There is not one specific method that can truly teach others what it is like to have a disability, anymore than one can be taught what it is like to be a different ethnicity, religion, or gender. The workshop allows participants to experience the feelings of those who are in an unsupported working and/or learning environment.

9 The following presentation is designed to foster a better understanding of Learning Disabilities. It is not intended as a substitute for professional diagnosis, treatment or advice.

10 Reading Disabilities - Dyslexia
Now class, we’re all going to read a short story. Many of you will be given the opportunity to participate. DO NOT READ AHEAD! JUST FOLLOW ALONG. If you’ve done your homework this should be relatively easy. To ensure success, I’ll give you some tips. Tips (clues): Sometimes people with reading disabilities: Mix up letters and reverse them – especially b, p, q, d ‘ Have difficulty differentiating spaces between words and punctuation Have difficulty following a line of type


12 Dysgraphia and Far Point Copying
Please turn to the next page in your workbook. Ask participants turn to the first exercise sheet (Writing and Printing Exercise) in their workbook. Then ask them to change their pencil to their non-dominant (non-writing) hand to perform the tasks.

13 Writing and Printing Difficulties Use your non-dominant hand to perform the following tasks Copy the designs you see below with your neatest and quickest skill

14 Far Point Copying Difficulty
Difficulty in holding a visual image in your head and then reproducing it. Areas of difficulties: Problems copying notes from the board, overhead, or other sources May lose their place after looking away or being distracted Helpful Strategies: Provide a copy of the lesson/lecture notes ahead of time Place horizontal and/or vertical lines across sections of the blackboard, overhead, etc. to help give reference points Write blackboard information as two columns on the board – ensures you don’t have to erase information as quickly Have fewer visual distractions on blackboard or on overhead Provide a highlighter or ruler for student to use while following along


16 DYSGRAPHIA Areas of difficulties: Helpful Strategies:
Difficulty in with eye-hand associations and so are unable to write efficiently. Areas of difficulties: Forming letters/numbers Copying figures that require a series of hand movements. Struggles to write on a straight line Difficulty holding a pencil Improper spacing of letters within words or words within sentences Helpful Strategies: Give notes for a lecture or lesson to the student ahead of time to follow along with Give students “cloze” activities instead of writing out entire sets of notes Let student use a laptop to write Give shorter assignments (quality vs. quantity) Allow additional time for written work Be a scribe for the student (let them tell you their answers/ideas for tests or assignments orally)

17 Example of Dysgraphia

18 DYSLEXIA Helpful Strategies: Areas of Difficulty:
Difficulty with reading, writing, spelling, and comprehending material Areas of Difficulty: Breaking words down into individual sounds or blending sounds together to read quickly and accurately Reading fluency – reading skills are slow and effortful Mix up letters and sounds like b,p,q,d, reading “dog” as “god” Differentiating spaces between words and punctuation Following a line of type Reading comprehension – focus of energy is on decoding, not understanding what is being read Helpful Strategies: Use pictures to supplement written material Keep reading material short & simple Help kids preview material that needs to be read (explain new terms, highlight important concepts) Be patient and provide extra time for reading Allow students to listen to books as mp3s or on CD Give kids time to practice before they will read anything out loud Avoid singling kids out to read in front of class – use echo or choral reading

19 Written Example Text written by a 13 year old with dyslexia:
he way I descride a bumby ride is like wothgan mowtsarts mowsek. eshe bumby rowd is like a song. Eshe bumb is the a note eche uncon at the sam time ste is. that was the mewstere to mowts mowsuk it was vare metereus and unperdekdable.So the nex time you drive down a bumby theak of mowtsart. Same text, read orally by the 13 year old and scribed: The way I describe a bumpy ride is like Wolfgang Mozart's music. Each bumpy road is like a song. Each bump in the road is a note. Each bump is uncontrolled at the same time it still is controlled. That was the magic to Mozart's music. It was very mysterious and unpredictable. So the next time you drive down a bumpy road think of Mozart.

20 Math Test We have been studying adding and subtracting this week, so this should be easy for you. Read this instruction outloud. I will repeat instructions for solving these problems outloud, twice. You will need to add and subtract different numbers in each row to find each answer.

21 Processing Deficits - Auditory
Areas of Difficulty: Following multi-step instructions Memory for information given orally Responding quickly to oral questions or directions – participating in class discussions Attending to a preferred message when there is background noise Discriminating between different word sounds (e.g bear & pair) *NOT hard of hearing or deafness- capable of hearing, difficulty processing what they hear Helpful Strategies: Speak more slowly Provide instructions and information in small chunks Simplify verbal directions Repeat verbal instructions to the student privately after a group lesson Provide written copies of oral information for student to refer to Give substantial time for students to answer oral questions Decrease environmental distractions and background noise Don’t assume child is unmotivated or lazy – consider they might not have had time to process your instructions or questions! Auditory processing is just one type of processing deficit, but one that has a big impact We have seen many families with children who have been called “unmotivated” or “underachieving” because they have very high intelligence scores, but have trouble with auditory processing so have trouble starting independent work, completing tasks to their full extent, or answering questions during class discussions.

22 Assessment & Evaluation

23 Let’s Reflect!

24 Questions?

25 and no one as courageous as a teacher who wants to change his mind.
Thank you and Remember There is no challenge as great as a little boy in school when he doesn’t want to be there… and no one as courageous as a teacher who wants to change his mind.

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