- Keep the challenge age appropriate, modify the assessment not the contentIt is most important that we always remember that children with Learning disabilities are at a disadvantage only while learning. They are people with Average or above average intellect at the very least. They need us to modify the way we teach them not what we teach them as they are more than capable of handling age appropriate content. When assessing them, choose a method that checks learning and understanding rather than memory or written expression. Both of which could be a challenge for them.
- Remedial training to bridge lags, skill acquisition is far more important than academic successA focus on skills is crucial for every child irrespective of their diagnosis. It is finally our level of skill acquisition that will determine how smoothly we move from task to task, situation to situation. Content means nothing if we do not see the relevance of it in our lives, if we are unable to make connections or apply old learning to new situations. Remediation as the name suggests remediates the lags and works at bridging the gap between potential and achievement. It equips a child to use strategies taught to at work around the areas of difficulty and finally overcome them to a greater extent.
- Supportive therapy in the form of OT and SIOccupational therapy and sensory integration are vital aspects that lead to a better prognosis of those who have been diagnosed with a learning disability. For children in particular occupational therapy helps improve motor abilities, cognitive skills, sensory processing, communication skills and also play skills like turn taking, coordination, and estimation. It also works at improving attention, memory and thinking skills.
- Hone non-academic skills and talentsAll children have many skills they are good at. Unfortunately, we tend to focus on their weaknesses we rarely focus on strengthening their talents. Singing, dancing, art, sport, music, drama to name a few. Find out what the child is good at and give them the training or exposure they need so that they feel good about themselves. With increased self esteem comes increased motivation. This will further encourage them to work at their academics without a sense of worthlessness.
- Be clear about your goals for the child. Keep things in perspectiveThis is easily the most important aspect of dealing with not just children with learning disabilities but every child. Prioritise the goals for the child and remember nobody can do everything. Keep holistic development of the child as the main goal. A well balanced individual should be the primary focus.
Ms. Piya Marker Director – Head of School The Aditya Birla Integrated School