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Literacy Nova Scotia CLI Workshop May 13 th 2008- Digby, NS Learning Disabilities- Information and Strategies.

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Presentation on theme: "Literacy Nova Scotia CLI Workshop May 13 th 2008- Digby, NS Learning Disabilities- Information and Strategies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Literacy Nova Scotia CLI Workshop May 13 th Digby, NS Learning Disabilities- Information and Strategies

2 Workshop Topics Learning Disabilities- what does it feel like? Warning signs- or what we call Red Flags for Math and Language Based LDs How are learning disabilities diagnosed/assessed? How can we meet the needs of a learner who might have a LD?

3 What might it feel like to have an LD? Who do you know that has a Learning Disability? Have you ever ask them to talk about their Learning Disability?

4 What is a learning disability? A learning disability is a disorder that affects a person's ability to either interpret what they see and hear or to link information from different parts of the brain. Although the individual with a learning disability has an average or above- average IQ, the disability becomes evident in both academic and social situations. The individual can have marked difficulties on certain types of tasks while excelling at others.

5 The Inconsistency

6 No two students who have learning disabilities are the same- their LD impacts them in different ways- they have developed different coping strategies they have developed different coping strategies they have used and been exposed to different resources they have used and been exposed to different resources their life experiences are very different their life experiences are very different For Example….

7 Case Studies

8 Warning Signs or Red Flags

9 Remember Two students who may have similar difficulties may not both have learning disabilities Two learners who have diagnosed LDs may not have the same challenges No two learners are alike- regardless of disability

10 General warning signs Some common signs of learning disabilities include: Continues to spell incorrectly, frequently spells the same word differently in a single piece of writing Avoids reading and writing tasks Trouble summarizing Trouble with open-ended questions on tests Weak memory skills Difficulty adjusting to new settings Works slowly Poor grasp of abstract concepts Either pays too little attention to details or focuses on them too much Misreads information

11 Language Based Learning Disabilities These students may have: slow reading rates difficulty modifying reading rate for different tasks misreading what is written confusion of similar words, difficulty integrating new vocabulary poor and/or uneven comprehension lower retention of information from print difficulty identifying main points from printed material requires more time to identify information from charts, tables, and forms

12 Math Learning Disabilities These students may have: Normal or accelerated language acquisition: verbal, reading, writing Poetic and creative talents Weak mental math ability Poor long term memory Inability to grasp and remember math concepts, rules, formulas, sequence, and basic algebra facts; inconsistent results in these areas. Confuse similar numbers (e.g., 7 and 9; 3 and 8); difficulty using a calculator Lack ability to visualize and see the “big picture” Easily disorientated or lost; difficulty keeping track of time

13 How and why to have a student assessed- Pre Screens and Psycho Educational Assessments

14 What is a Screening for Success Pre Screen? It is a tool that is used to determine if a student is at risk for having a learning disability It can be summarized to provide information to an assessor It was developed with the Learning Disability Association of Canada in conjunction with many other organizations who deal with adults who have learning disabilities

15 What types of questions does the Screening for Success Pre-Screen ask? Questions related to the following: The individual and their family The individual and their family Health (past and present) Health (past and present) Language Language Education (past and present) Education (past and present) Employment Employment Things that the student may have trouble with or no difficulty with Things that the student may have trouble with or no difficulty with Activities they are good at (past and present) Activities they are good at (past and present) Goals Goals

16 Why ask those questions? Personal and family- other people in family who may struggle Personal and family- other people in family who may struggle Health (as a child until now)- possible vision, hearing or processing difficulties as a child Health (as a child until now)- possible vision, hearing or processing difficulties as a child Language- languages learned at home vs. in school- ESL issues Language- languages learned at home vs. in school- ESL issues Education (as a child until now)- Key grades that if repeated- may be indicators Education (as a child until now)- Key grades that if repeated- may be indicators Employment- switching jobs- why Employment- switching jobs- why Things that the student may have trouble with or no difficulty with- we are looking for the peaks and valleys Things that the student may have trouble with or no difficulty with- we are looking for the peaks and valleys Activities they are good at- assessment of self Activities they are good at- assessment of self Goals- are they able to phrase them? Are they realistic? Goals- are they able to phrase them? Are they realistic?

17 What happens after the pre- screen? Information obtained is summarized Information is shared with faculty and sponsors Next steps are developed and talked about with learner Possible assessment and accommodations

18 Why should a learner be assessed if you believe there may be a Learning Disability?

19 Assessing Learning Needs A psycho educational assessment is a reliable and common way to have a learning disability assessed In order for students to access funding after your program, the Department of Education requires that a Registered Psychologist complete the assessment and that a clear diagnosis is stated as well as recommendations to assist the learner

20 Assessing Learning Needs So everyone has an understanding of how the student learns- their strengths and challenges So supports can be talked about and possibly put in place So advocacy skills can be developed So future plans can be made

21 Remember Two students who may have similar difficulties may not both have learning disabilities Two learners who have diagnosed LDs may not express the disabilities in the same way No two learners are alike- regardless of disability

22 A good assessment may include Medical and learning background information- done through an interview Observations during the assessment IQ testing- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale- Third Edition for example Testing of memory- Working Memory Index, Wechsler Memory Scale III for example Processing speed assessment- Processing Speed Index for example Academic Abilities- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, Second Edition

23 A good assessment may include Testing on retrieval of information- immediate and delayed memory capabilities Comparing ability to retrieve visual vs. auditory information Strengths of the learners as well as challenges Recommendations that go into detail on how the learner can be supported

24 Assessment- From my perspective….

25 Follow up Report should be explained to the learner by the psychologist Supports need to be talked about with staff and student Funding for supports have to be obtained Follow up must be provided and accommodations must be re-evaluated for effectiveness Documenting accommodations must be done as well

26 Strategies for Success

27 Let’s look back to our little case studies

28 Trial Accommodating a learning with a disability may require try a variety of strategies until you determine what works best for the individual student General strategies can be useful but may not work for everyone

29 Assisting the learner who may have language based LD Practice Find work that is interesting to them and at their reading level- perhaps in magazines Encourage reading groups or reading one-on- one Chunking reading into smaller pieces Allow learners to see and feel the written word- maybe drawing pictures of what they have read or taking about it with other people If books on tape are available USE THEM

30 A little more personalized Use technology Try developing misspelled word lists Develop personal word dictionaries Summarize what they are reading while they are reading it Use a highlighter And…….

31 Let’s look back to our little case studies

32 Some strategies to accommodate students who may have a Math LD Use graph paper or Inspiration for students who have difficulty organizing ideas. Work on finding different ways to approach math facts; i.e., instead of just memorizing the multiplication tables, explain that 8 x 2 = 16, so if 16 is doubled, 8 x 4 must = 32. Introduce new skills beginning with concrete examples and later moving to more abstract applications. For language difficulties, explain ideas and problems clearly and encourage students to ask questions as they work. Provide a place to work with few distractions and have pencils, erasers and other tools on hand as needed.

33 Strategies continued…. Use manipulatives such as play money, tape measures, photocopy paper, measuring cups etc Have the student explain how to complete a problem in their own words before/while they work on it Have the student create a math dictionary to define important words (sum, combine) in their own way Try to relate topics to the life of the student, cooking, carpentry work, etc. Explain how work can be done in different ways- not just the way you are comfortable with- so try to use videos, web sites, guest speakers Chunking material into smaller parts and allowing learners to see connections

34 And… BE CREATIVE

35 Resources:

36 Thank You


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