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Walk A Mile In My Shoes An interactive workshop on learning disabilities Melissa Rowbotham, M.Ed Copyright © 2010 by Integra Foundation.

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Presentation on theme: "Walk A Mile In My Shoes An interactive workshop on learning disabilities Melissa Rowbotham, M.Ed Copyright © 2010 by Integra Foundation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Walk A Mile In My Shoes An interactive workshop on learning disabilities Melissa Rowbotham, M.Ed Copyright © 2010 by Integra Foundation

2 _ to _% of children/youth have a LD ___% of children who have an LD also have a social, emotional or behavioural problem _ to _ % of kids with ADHD also have a LD ___% of children with ADHD who also have anxiety 1 in __ children and youth in Canada have a mental health disorder (which includes anxiety and depression)

3 Walk A Mile In My Shoes Learning Objectives: To introduce the concepts of Learning Disabilities (LDs) To introduce the concepts of Learning Disabilities (LDs) To experience what it might feel like to have LDs To experience what it might feel like to have LDs To talk about resources around anxiety and depression To talk about resources around anxiety and depression

4 What are learning disabilities? Neurologically based disorders Affect the ability to take in, understand, remember or express information. Specific, not global impairments Found in individuals who possess average to above average thinking and reasoning skills Lifelong disorders

5 What are learning disabilities? LDs reflect neurobiological factors, including genetics, congenital or acquired conditions LDs reflect neurobiological factors, including genetics, congenital or acquired conditions LDs are not due to differences in culture, language, SES, motivation LDs are not due to differences in culture, language, SES, motivation

6 What are learning disabilities? Impairments in one or more of the following psychological processes: Language processing Language processing Phonological processing Phonological processing Visual-spatial processing Visual-spatial processing Processing Speed Processing Speed Memory & attention Memory & attention Executive functioning Executive functioning

7 What are learning disabilities? Impairments may affect learning in the areas of: Reading Reading Oral language Oral language Written language Written language Math Math

8 What Do LDs Affect? LDs come in many forms & affect everyone differently Possible problems in social situations: Understanding sarcasm Figuring out how someone is feeling from their body language or facial expressions Understanding the unwritten social rules Participating in groups

9 If a large solid-hoofed mammal becomes available to you without compensation, refrain from casting your faculty for seeing into the oral cavity of such a creature.

10 Demystifying Processes TermDescriptionApplication Verbal Reasoning Verbal Comprehension Verbal Comprehension General Verbal Ability General Verbal Ability Ability to think through problems using words Ability to understand words and connected language Understanding instructions, lessons, stories Logical thinking and problem-solving Understanding word meanings Expressing ideas in words

11 Demystifying Processes TermDescriptionApplication Perceptual processing Perceptual processing Visual-spatial Visual-spatial Ability to make sense of what one sees Putting together visual information Noticing & understanding facial expressions Understanding a chart or graph Reading a map

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14 Demystifying Processes TermDescriptionApplication Non-Verbal Reasoning Perceptual reasoning Perceptual reasoning Visual-spatial Visual-spatial Perceptual- organizational Perceptual- organizational Performance Performance Visual problem- solving Ability to organize, put together or orient visual information Ability to form and mentally manipulate images Understanding concept words related to time, space Understanding concept words related to time, space Building according to a plan or model Building according to a plan or model Judging space and distance Judging space and distance Math (geometry, shapes, measurement) Math (geometry, shapes, measurement) Following sewing patterns, IKEA instructions Following sewing patterns, IKEA instructions

15 What symbol has to come next in the sequence of the five symbols on the left? Can you sketch this sixth figure?

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17 Kids with LDs and other disabilities are at risk – why? Frustration at not being able to do what child knows he/she should be able to do Feelings about having a disability Sense that others expectations are not being met (parents, teachers) Peers responses Lack of others understanding/responses Responses to others feelings & anxieties

18 Invisible Disabilities Neurobiological impairments are invisible. Neurobiological impairments are invisible. Mental Health Issues are invisible Mental Health Issues are invisible Behaviour may be are only clue. Behaviour may be are only clue. Where else can we look? Where else can we look? OSR, past reports, grades, parents, teachers and kids OSR, past reports, grades, parents, teachers and kids

19 What is Anxiety/worry? Diffuse uncomfortable sense of apprehension, often accompanied by autonomic symptoms (Barlow, 2002) Diffuse uncomfortable sense of apprehension, often accompanied by autonomic symptoms (Barlow, 2002) Basic human emotion Basic human emotion Part of normal development Part of normal development Can be adaptive Can be adaptive

20 What is an Anxiety Disorder? Symptoms interfere with the youths ability to function in everyday life Symptoms interfere with the youths ability to function in everyday life Persistent Persistent Intensity of reactions is severe Intensity of reactions is severe Anxiety disorders are relatively common in childhood: Prevalence rate of >10% Anxiety disorders are relatively common in childhood: Prevalence rate of >10% Can look like skipping, lack of motivation, withdrawal, externalizing behaviour, aggressive avoidance Can look like skipping, lack of motivation, withdrawal, externalizing behaviour, aggressive avoidance

21 Types of Anxiety Disorders in Childhood Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Social Phobia Social Phobia Specific Phobia Specific Phobia Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Panic Disorder Panic Disorder Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

22 What is Distress/sadness Always associated with a trigger, event or situation Always associated with a trigger, event or situation Will improve with environmental accommodation or removal of stressor Will improve with environmental accommodation or removal of stressor Functional impairment usually mild Functional impairment usually mild Professional psychiatric treatment not usually necessary Professional psychiatric treatment not usually necessary Counselling and therapy will often help Counselling and therapy will often help Social supports (friendships and family) will often help Social supports (friendships and family) will often help Medications would not be normally used Medications would not be normally used

23 What is Depression? Referred to as Major Depressive Disorder -MDD Referred to as Major Depressive Disorder -MDD Characterized by: Characterized by: Feelings of hopelessness, sadness Feelings of hopelessness, sadness Loss of interest in activities Loss of interest in activities Vegetative signs: change in eating or sleeping, low energy or fatigue Vegetative signs: change in eating or sleeping, low energy or fatigue Poor concentration, difficulty making decisions Poor concentration, difficulty making decisions Persistent Persistent Interferes with daily living Interferes with daily living Rare in children under 12 years old Rare in children under 12 years old

24 Depression in Childhood Diagnosis of Depression is often overlooked in childhood: Diagnosis of Depression is often overlooked in childhood: Some symptoms are more typical of children than of adults (e.g., irritability) Some symptoms are more typical of children than of adults (e.g., irritability) High co-occurence with other disorders (such as ADHD & behavioual issues) may mask the symptoms High co-occurence with other disorders (such as ADHD & behavioual issues) may mask the symptoms Certain features of Depression are more typical at different ages Certain features of Depression are more typical at different ages

25 When to ask for more help When you are concerned about safety or well being of student When you are concerned about safety or well being of student Watch for obvious indicators of mood issues: Watch for obvious indicators of mood issues: Crying, shaking, avoidance Crying, shaking, avoidance Freezing in classroom situations Freezing in classroom situations Angry Outbursts & Increased Irritation Angry Outbursts & Increased Irritation Physical Evidence of Self-Harm or Decline Physical Evidence of Self-Harm or Decline Watch for changes: Watch for changes: In behaviour In behaviour In Hygiene In Hygiene In peer interactions In peer interactions In interactions with teachers and school staff In interactions with teachers and school staff

26 What would help worry/distress at school? Involve student in problem-solving process (they have great ideas!) Acknowledge effort even if output is weak Encourage & support accountability Address barriers caused by LD, ADHD, OT, Note taking Scheduling Planning & Organizing (Support Self-Reliance)

27 What would help worry/distress at school? Make sure learning style is understood Are accommodations appropriate and sufficient? Watch for bullying or peer difficulties Teach pro-social skills to entire class and be clear about classroom expectations Discuss Fair versus Equal

28 What would help worry/distress at school? Find out what is overwhelming them in the school setting & accommodate Set up student for success and mastery to build self-esteem Watch for activities/subjects/projects that are too hard Empower them by encouraging and being receptive to attempts at self-advocacy

29 Support & Listen Reach Out - Ask student if theyre alright Ask about any changes in their life Check in with other teachers, peers, their family Be Real about limits of confidentiality Always encourage parental involvement May chose to state policy outright Never promise you wont tell anyone

30 Suggest Help In school support School Team (rule out learning issues, bullying, or situation within class) Social Workers Guidance Special Education Administrators

31 Suggest a Referral Inform family and student of your concern Enlist the help of your team Encourage a thorough assessment Be open to school involvement in treatment Outside Referral for Assessment & Treatment: Hospital Clinic or Program Childrens Mental Health Clinic GP

32 Resources GPs will know local referral sources: Hospital Clinics Childrens Mental Health Clinics Specialty Clinics (Integra, Sick Kids Anxiety Groups, CAMH First Episode Clinic) Pediatricians and specializing psychiatrists and psychologists Private practitioners (play therapists, social workers, therapists) – only after a thorough assessment

33 Resources – Websites & Books Sick Kids – Information and Resources – Trusted Answers Information on Referral Sources Resources for Teachers TeachADHD The ABCs of Mental Health – A Teacher Resource Orientation to Childrens Mental Heath – Teachers Guide Learning Disability Association of ON


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