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Daniela Cupples


Specific Learning
Observable behaviors in the classroom:
- Difficulty making eye contact with others
- Uses little body language or facial expressions when interacting with others
- Difficulty developing relationships with peers
- Appears uninterested in sharing experiences
- Uses repetitive routines and movements
- Has difficulty with changes in routines
- Difficulty communicating with speech or gestures
- Difficulty using language interact with others
- Has trouble controlling emotions and anxieties
Impact on learning:
- Students may not be able to communicate effectively, may be non-verbal.
- Student gets upset by changes to the routine and may exhibit problem behaviors.
- Not interested in learning, becomes easily frustrated and agitated.
- Difficulty with transitions and new experiences
Assessment tools:
- Autism Diagnostic Interview
- Autism Behavior Checklist
- Autism Screening Instrument for Educational Planning.
Instructional strategies:
- Pivotal Response Training (PRT)
- Functional routines, use of picture schedules
- Discrete Trial Training (DT)
- Use of sign language for non-verbal students
- Use short verbal instructions supported by visual cues
Observable behaviors in the classroom:
- Fidgeting, squirming in seat and difficulty staying in the seat
- Difficulty sustaining attention and waiting for a turn.
- Blurting answers before the question has been asked.
- Not following through on instructions, shifting from one activity to another
- Student is not paying attention to details, makes careless mistakes
- Losing items needed to complete a task.
- The student has difficulty listening to others; student is distracted or interrupts
- Mood swings and a need for instant gratification.
Impact on learning:
Lower average grades, more retentions, and expulsions, increased dropout rates, a
lower rate of college graduation.
Assessment tools:
- Vanderbilt ADHD Teacher Rating Scale (VADTRS)
- ADHD Rating Scale-IV
- SNAP-IV Rating Scale-Revised
Instructional strategies:
- Provide an advance organizer
- Set learning and behavioral expectations
- Simplify instructions, choices, and scheduling
Observable behaviors in the classroom:
- Hyperactivity, short attention span, impulsiveness
- Aggression, acting out, fighting
- Difficulty in social interactions, excessive fear or anxiety
- Immaturity: crying, temper tantrums, poor coping skills
- Physical symptoms caused by fear: headaches, stomach aches
Impact on learning:
- Learning difficulties, low academic performance, problems with social interaction.
Assessment tools:
- Conduct a functional behavior assessment
- Record behavior in a behavior log
- Use of Sociogram
Instructional strategies:
- Provide techniques to support positive behavior: token economy, classroom
behavior chart, lottery system, positive peer review
- Teach self-control, self-reinforcement, self-monitoring, self-management,
- Guided notebooks, choral responding, clickers or response cards
National Association for Gifted Children
Observable behaviors in the classroom:
- Student exhibits many interests, excellent memory skills, long attention span,
unusual curiosity
- Persistence in attacking difficult mental tasks, good problem-solving/reasoning
abilities, rapid learning ability, leadership qualities
- Early/avid reader, above average ability with numbers/jigsaw puzzles
- Unusual emotional depth and intensity
Impact on learning:
Because the students have a higher processing ability they may struggle with
perfectionism, non-conforming behavior, trouble fitting in, and they may become
disruptive because they are disengaged.
Assessment tools:
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales (L-M)
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
Standardized test scores
Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test or Test of Nonverbal Intelligence for EL
Instructional strategies:
Accelerate instruction, increase complexity of tasks
Compact curriculum, reduce amount review time
Group students with students of similar ability
Provide specialized pull-out instruction

National Center for Learning Disabilities

Definition: A learning disability is a processing disorder that affects the students
ability to understand or use language. There is a gap between the students ability
and the actual achievement. This disorder may present itself in the students
inability to listen, think, read, write, spell, and to perform mathematical
calculations, this includes perceptual impairments, brain injury, minimal brain
dysfunction, and developmental aphasia.
Observable behaviors in the classroom:
- Difficulty reading, reading out loud, poor reading comprehension
- Struggling to write papers and essays
- Difficulty understanding lectures
- Poor motor abilities, such as difficulty holding a pencil
- Difficulty focusing and paying attention and processing information
- Lack of cognitive strategies needed for effective learning
- Mathematical disorders
- Social skill deficits
Impact on learning:
The student has specific problems performing certain tasks: reading (dyslexia),
writing (dysgraphia), listening, speaking, reasoning, math (dyscalculia). Learning
disabilities have a deep impact on psychological processes, academic achievement,
and social/emotional development.
Assessment tools:
- Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI)
- Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT-5)
- Wide Range Achievement Test 4
- KeyMath3 Diagnostic Assessment
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test
Instructional strategies:
- Break learning into small steps with regular, quality feedback
- Present a limited amount of information on each page, use scaffolding
- Increase the time the student has to complete a task
- Use diagrams, graphics and pictures to augment instruction
- Use verbal cues to alert the student to important information
- Provide large amounts of independent, well-designed intensive practice
- Model instructional practices the student needs to use