• Difficulties with academic achievement fall under a broad category of learning problems• The cause or influencing factors can be biomedical, developmental, behavioral, emotional, social, environmental, and family issues
• The problem may be in the area of reading, math, written expression, motor skills, and communication disorders• Attention deficit, anxiety, and behavioral disorders must be ruled out.
• Signs of learning disabilities include: – School achievement significantly lower than potential. – Perceptual-motor impairments. – Emotional lability. – Speech and language disorders. – Coordination deficits.
• There can be a wide range of cognitive ability from mild retardation to above- average intelligence.
AREAS OF LEARNINGDISABILITIES
Auditory Perception• Characterized by difficulty distinguishing between similar sounds or words• This includes the inability to process the sounds into words that have a meaning at a rapid enough rate to be able to follow conversations.
Visual Perception• Visual perception difficulties involve problems interpreting what is seen• This may include problems recognizing shapes and positions of letters or words• Depth perception may pose a problem to some children with visual perception disorders.
Integrative Processing• Integrative processing disabilities encompass, to varying degrees, the inability to sequence events or facts; comprehend abstract ideas or implied meanings; and organize learned information and apply it to what has been previously acquired
Memory• Disabilities generally affect short-term memory, which stores information that has just been perceived for a brief period before it is either discarded or stored in the long- term memory.
Expressive Language• Affects the childs verbal communication• Characteristics depend on the childs age and the severity of the disorder• Language skills in terms of vocabulary, grammatical content, fluency, and language formulation can be affected
Motor• Motor disabilities can affect either gross motor or fine motor muscle groups• A disability affecting the gross motor development can cause children to be “clumsy.”
• These children have a tendency to fall or bump into things and have difficulty running and playing sports.• Fine motor disabilities affect muscles for detailed tasks, such as writing, using scissors, and painting.
MANAGEMENT AND SPECIALTEACHING STRATEGIES
• For visual perceptual deficit—present material verbally; use hands-on experience; tape-record teaching sessions• For auditory perceptual deficit—provide materials in written form; use pictures; provide tactile learning
• For integrative deficit—use multisensory approaches; print directions while you verbalize them; use calendars and lists to organize tasks and activities• For highly distractible child—provide a structured environment; have child sit in the front of the class; place child away from doors or windows; decrease clutter on his desk.
• For motor and expressive deficits—break down skills and projects into their multiple component parts; verbally describe the component parts; provide extra time to perform; allow the child to type work rather than use cursive writing.