Succeeding with learning disabilities

In my previous three blog posts, I talked a lot about the benefits of reading and writing, as well as some of the different forms of reading and writing that are often overlooked.  However, I think it is also important to talk about some of the barriers to reading and writing.

Many people think about learning disabilities only as they affect children.  However, according to Statistics Canada (2015), in 2012 2.3% of people over the age of 15 have at least one learning disability.  Learning disabilities are described as “a disorder in one or more of the basic processes involved in understanding spoken or written language” (Lerner & Johns, 2015, p. 4).  They result in a variety of different problems in the classroom. 

Stack of academic books

In order to be classified as having a learning disability, students may not have learning problems that are related to physical handicaps, brain damage, emotional problems, cultural differences, or socio-economic status (Lerner & Johns, 2015, p. 4).  Additionally, not all learning disabilities are related to problems with reading or writing.  For example, someone with a learning disability may have difficulty listening to instructions or they may struggle with math.

All hope is not lost, however!  Though students with these disabilities and other related disabilities can fall behind their peers, they are able to succeed in the same classroom as other people their age with the use of aides such as assistive technology (Lerner & Johns, 2015, p. 31).  Of course not all students will benefit from this technology, so it is important to find what works for each person, but it is worth discussing the options that are out there.

These students can use computers to act as tutors, or as a method to communicate with tutors outside of their classrooms.  This method comes with a lot of benefits, as well as a lot of challenges.  However, there are many different ways to work around these challenges to allow the students to obtain the support that they need. 

Person typing at a computer

References

Lerner, J. W., & Johns, B. H. (2015). Learning Disabilities and Related Disabilities (13th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Statistics Canada.  (2015).  Prevalence of disability by type, aged 15 years and older Canada, 2012 [Data file].  Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-654-x/89-654-x2014003-eng.htm

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