LEARNING DISABILITY

ABOUT LEARNING DISABILITY

 

Learning disabilities refer to a number of disorders that may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal         information. These disorders affect     learning in individuals who otherwise demonstrate at least average abilities essential for thinking and/or reasoning. Learning disabilities result from impairments in one or more processes related to perceiving, thinking, remembering or learning. Learning disabilities range in severity and may interfere with the acquisition and use of oral language, reading, written language, and mathematics. Learning disabilities may also involve difficulties with organizational skills and social interaction.

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RPwD ACT 2016

 

As per RPwD ACT 2016 Specific Learning Disabilities is a group of disabling conditions that hampers a person's ability to learn, listen, think, speak, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.

Examples of Specific Learning Disabilities:

  • Dyspraxia - The inability to motor plan, to make an appropriate body response.

  • Dysgraphia - Difficulty with the act of writing both in the technical as well as the expressive sense. There may also be difficulty with spelling.

  • Dyscalculia- Difficulty with calculations.

  • Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD)- Hyperactivity, distractibility and impulsivity

For more information please read RPwD Act 2016 under ask T.I.N.A.

  

Although learning disabilities occur in very young children, the disorders are usually not recognized until the child reaches school age. Learning disabilities are life-long and are not outgrown or cured, though many people develop coping techniques through special education, tutoring, medication, therapy, personal development, or adaptation of learning skills. Learning disabilities arise from neurological differences in brain structure and function and affect a person’s ability to receive, store, process, retrieve or communicate information.

These ideas may be helpful in determining accommodations.

 

What types of learning disabilities are there?

 Learning disabilities can be divided into three broad categories:

 

Specific Learning Disability: A disorder in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations. Included in this category are expressive writing and expressive language disorders.

 

  • Dyslexia is the term associated with specific learning disabilities in reading. Although features of a learning disability in reading vary from person to person, common characteristics include difficulty with individual sounds in words, and difficulties with word decoding, fluency, rate of reading, rhyming, spelling, vocabulary, comprehension and written expression. Dyslexia is the most prevalent and well-recognized of the subtypes of specific learning disabilities.

  • Dyscalculia is the term associated with specific learning disabilities in math. Although features of a learning disability in math vary from person to person, common characteristics include difficulty with counting, learning number facts and doing math calculations, difficulty with measurement, telling time, counting money, estimating number quantities, mental math and problem-solving strategies.

  • Dysgraphia is the term associated with specific learning disabilities in writing. This term is used to capture both the physical act of writing and the quality of written expression. Dysgraphia can manifest in difficulties with spelling, putting thoughts on paper, and poor handwriting, including difficulty in forming letters or writing within a defined space, organizing thoughts on paper, keeping track of thoughts already written down, and difficulty with syntax, structure, and grammar.

 

  Associated Deficits and Disorders

 

While not designated as specific sub types of learning disabilities, there are a number of areas of information processing that are commonly associated with learning disabilities:

 

  • Auditory Processing Disorder is the term used to describe a weakness in the ability to understand and use auditory information. Individuals may have difficulties with noticing, comparing and distinguishing the distinct and separate sounds in words, picking out important sounds from a noisy background, recalling information presented orally, understanding and recalling the order of sounds and words, and difficulty with spelling, reading and written expression.

 

  • Visual Processing Disorder is the term used to describe a weakness in the ability to understand and use visual information. Individuals often have difficulty noticing and comparing features of different items and distinguishing one item from another, distinguishing a shape or printed character from its background, distinguishing the order of symbols, words or images, difficulty engaging in short-term and long-term recall of visual information, and understanding how objects are positioned in space.

 

  • Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities is the term used to describe the characteristics of individuals who have unique learning and behavioural profiles that may overlap with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia but that differ in significant ways. Most notably, these individuals often have strengths in the areas of verbal expression, vocabulary, reading, comprehension, auditory memory and attention to detail, yet have difficulty with math computation and problem solving, visual-spatial tasks and motor coordination, reading body language and social cues, as well as seeing the “big picture” in social and academic contexts.

 

  • Executive Functioning Deficits is the term used to describe weaknesses in the ability to plan, organize, strategize, remember details and manage time and space efficiently. Executive functioning deficits are often seen in individuals who have a learning disability.

 

Learning Disability /Specific learning disability/Dyslexia

 

LD does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, one need to understand LD has a general definition of disability that each person must meet.

A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having impairment. For more information about SLD refer to RPD ACT.

 

Accommodating Students with Learning Disability

 

People with learning disabilities may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with learning disabilities will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.

 

Questions to Consider:

 

  1. What limitations is the student experiencing?

  2. How do these limitations affect the student and the student’s job performance?

  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?

  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?

  5. Has the student been consulted regarding possible accommodations?

  6. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the student to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?

  7. Do supervisory personnel and students need training?

Accommodation Ideas:

 

By Limitation of Executive Functioning Deficits

 
  • Apps for Concentration

  • Apps for Memory

  • Checklists 

  • Colour Coded System

  • Cubicle Doors, Shields, and Shades 

  • Environmental Sound Machines / Tinnitus Maskers / White Noise Machines

  • Extra Time 

  • Flexible Schedule 

  • Form Generating Software 

  • Full Spectrum or Natural Lighting Products 

  • Job Coaches

  • Job Restructuring

  • Marginal Functions

  • Memory Software

  • Modified Break Schedule

  • Noise Cancelling Earbuds

  • Noise Canceling Headsets

  • On-site Mentoring 

  • Recorded Directives, Messages, Materials

  • Reminders 

  • Sound Absorption and Sound Proof Panels

  • Speech Recognition Software

  • Sun Boxes and Lights

  • Sun Simulating Desk Lamps

  • Timers and Watches 

  • Wall Calendars and Planners

  • Written Instructions

 

By Limitation of Managing Time

ACCESSING COMPUTERS

PRODUCTS

  • Applications (apps)

  • Apps for Organization/ Time Management

  • Electronic Organizers

  • Fitness Trackers

  • PDAs, Note takers, and Laptops

  • Smart Watches

  • Timers and Watches

  • Wall Calendars and Planners

SERVICES

  • Job Coaches

STRATEGIES

  • Additional Training Time / Training Refreshers

  • Checklists

  • Color Coded System

  • Color-coded Manuals, Outlines, and Maps

  • Extra Time

  • Marginal Functions

  • Recorded Directives, Messages, Materials

  • Reminders

  • Supervisory Methods

  • Support Person

  • Task Flow Chart

  • Task Separation

  • Verbal Cues

  • Written Forms and Prompts

  • Written Instructions

By Limitation of Mathematics

 

PRODUCTS

  • Apps for Learning Disabilities

  • Apps for Mathematics

  • Construction Calculators

  • Counting/Measuring Aids

  • Fractional, Decimal, Statistical, or Scientific Calculators

  • Large Display Calculators or Adding Machines

  • Large Display Thermometers

  • Mathematics Software

  • Talking Alarm Clocks

  • Talking Blood Glucose Monitors

PRODUCTS

  • Talking Blood Pressure Monitors

  • Talking Calculators

  • Talking Cash Register

  • Talking Coin Counter/Sorter

  • Talking Scales

  • Talking Tape Measures

  • Talking Thermometers

  • Talking Watches

STRATEGIES

  • Extra Time

  • Job Restructuring

  • Marginal Functions

  • Modified Written Materials

  • Qualified Reader

By Limitation of Memory Loss

 

PRODUCTS

  • Apps for Memory

  • Break Reminder Software

  • Electronic Organizers

  • Form Generating Software

  • Labels/Bulletin Board

  • Medication Reminders

  • Memory Software

  • Notepad or White Board

  • On-Screen "Ruler" / Strip

  • Timers and Watches

  • Wall Calendars and Planners

STRATEGIES

  • Additional Training Time / Training Refreshers

  • Checklists

  • Color Coded System

  • Color-coded Manuals, Outlines, and Maps

  • Extra Time

  • Recorded Directives, Messages, Materials

  • Reminders

  • Supervisory Methods

  • Support Person

  • Task Flow Chart

  • Task Separation

  • Verbal Cues

  • Voice Recorders

  • Written Forms and Prompts

  • Written Instructions

By Limitation of of  Organizing / Planning / Prioritizing

 

PRODUCTS

  • Apps for Organization/ Time Management

  • Desk Organizers

  • Electronic Organizers

  • Ergonomic Equipment

  • Labels/Bulletin Board

  • Note Collection Software and Technology

  • Notepad or White Board

  • Organization Software

  • Timers and Watches

  • Wall Calendars and Planners

  • Workflow Management Software

SERVICES

  • Job Coaches

  • Professional Organizers

STRATEGIES

  • Additional Training Time / Training Refreshers

  • Checklists

  • Color Coded System

  • Color-coded Manuals, Outlines, and Maps

  • Job Restructuring

  • Marginal Functions

  • On-site Mentoring

  • Organization/Prioritization Skills

  • Recorded Directives, Messages, Materials

  • Reminders

  • Supervisory Methods

  • Task Flow Chart

  • Task Identification

  • Task Separation

  • Written Instructions

 

By Limitation of Reading

  • Apps for Learning Disabilities

  • Apps for Pronunciation

  • Apps for Reading

  • Colour Contrast Overlays

  • Colour-coded Manuals, Outlines, and Maps

  • Electronic Book (e-Book) Readers

  • Electronic Dictionaries

  • Literacy Skills Development

  • On-Screen "Ruler" / Strip

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Systems - Scan

  • Portable or Handheld Readers 

  • Reading / Highlighting Products

  • Reading Pen

  • Recorded Directives, Messages, Materials

  • Screen Magnification and Screen Reading Combined

  • Screen Magnification Software

  • Screen Reading Software and Training

  • Smart Pens

  • Text Reader 

  • Word Processing Software

By Limitation of Writing / Spelling

 

PRODUCTS

  • Apps for Learning Disabilities

  • Apps for Note Taking/ Writing

  • Electronic Dictionaries

  • Form Generating Software

  • Line Guides

  • Note Collection Software and Technology

  • PDAs, Note takers, and Laptops

  • Proofreading/ Copyediting Assistance

  • Reference Books

  • Screen Reading Software and Training

PRODUCTS

  • Speech Recognition Software

  • Verbal Responses

  • Word Prediction/Completion and Macro Software

  • Word Processing Devices

  • Word Processing Software

  • Writing Aids

  • Writing/Editing Software

STRATEGIES

  • Extra Time

  • Verbal Responses

  • Written Forms and Prompts

SITUATIONS AND SOLUTIONS:
 

.  A student with dyscalculia was inefficient when finishing maths assignments.To ensure the mathematical calculations were accurate, the student spent extra time “figuring” and “double-checking” the numbers. The teacher purchased a scientific calculator to help the student “figure” fractions, percentages, triangles, circles, area (and more) efficiently and accurately.

 

  1. A student with poor visual acuity due to a visual processing disorder could not see in dimly lit areas, such as the back of labs where many equipments were kept. She had difficulty filling out charts and paperwork by hand. The teacher provided a lighted pen, which enabled the student to illuminate the writing surface, allowing her to complete paperwork and checklists quickly and easily.

  2. A student with auditory processing disorder in a medical college where different work assignments were handed out daily. To ensure the assignment was accurate, the student used a voice recorder to capture information about the work assignment, such as the location, the supervisor’s name, and tasks to be completed. To refresh his memory, the student was able to listen to this recorded information whenever necessary, sometimes several times each day.

  3. A researcher in a technology college had expressive writing disorder. The student’s job tasks included gathering information for written reports. To accommodate this student, software was provided to help the student organize, prioritize, and then outline the information for reports. The college also provided a hard copy dictionary and thesaurus.

  4. A marketing student had deficits in reading comprehension. He participated in CBT (computer-based training), which included watching a customer service tutorial, then completing timed quizzes on the computer. To accommodate this student, the employer adjusted the colour scheme, resolution, and font size of the computer screen, making the appearance of material easier to view. The student held a ruler to the computer screen to “stay on the line” when reading test questions. The student was allowed to watch the tutorial over again, and was given extra time to complete quizzes.

  5. A teacher with a learning disability had difficulty spelling words correctly on the board. The employer provided a laptop computer and a PC projection system that projected the written information onto a screen or wall, negating the need to write on the board. With the help of word prediction software, the teacher was able to display correctly spelled information to her students.