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STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES

A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence, as usually the individual's IQ is within the normal range. The source of the difficulty is in the brain. Children with a learning disability have trouble processing sensory information which interferes in their daily activities at school. They see, hear and understand things differently. If left untreated, the challenges a learning disability creates can severely affect a child's school experience and self-esteem. However, treatment is available and can be successful even if the disability is identified in late childhood or adulthood. Scientists are currently studying the brain's potential for change which may hold the answer to innovative treatments for learning disabilities and may one day reduce the need for prescription medications (http://www.helpguide.org/mental/learning_disabilities.htm). A learning disability (LD) affects a child¶s life in many aspects. Students with learning disabilities are the largest group of students with special needs. It is stated that in 1999, 2,789,000 students were served in special education programs. However, over the years, the number of students with learning disabilities increased steadily. Since 1976, the number has more than tripled and is going to continue to increase (Reid & Lienemann, 2006, p.1). It is obvious that learning disabilities affects students¶ life more than it can be estimated. Thus, we start with the definition of learning disabilities.

What is a Learning Disability?
"He has the ability, if he just tried harder, he could do it. He chooses not to do the work." "If she would just pay attention, she would get it." "After I give the instructions, he sits there and stares at his paper. He is not motivated."

dyslexia and developmental aphasia. pay closer attention. Students with LD are identified based on chronic and severe academic difficulties.2). 2006. and socio-emotional areas. medicine and sociology.helpguide. some students have problems with reading but good at mathematics (Reid & Lienemann. focuses on different aspects of LD. According to IDEA. think. 2006. LD is a category of underachievement. varying considerably. minimal brain dysfunction. The term does not include a learning problem which is primarily a result of visual. If the difference between the ability and . Practically.htm).´ (Reid & Lienemann. which causes different definitions of LD (p. which disorder may manifest itself in imperfect ability to listen. as a result. or economic disadvantage. children with learning disabilities cannot try harder. speak. A discrepancy formula was used to determine whether a child should be identified as learning disabled or not. or motor handicaps of mental retardation. However. The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps. This discrepancy formula assesses the difference between the ability. each discipline brings its own perspective on LD and. spoken or written. p. or improve motivation on their own. It is a controversial issue to define LD as other organizations have had their own definitions although IDEA has a current legal definition of LD. The reason for the fact that there is not a consensus among other associations is likely to be that students with LD has different problems.3). spell or to do mathematical calculations. write. there is a consensus on how to identify students with LD. p. or of environmental. another reason that contributes to confusion in the area of LD is that it is a comprehensive field including education. psychology. brain injury.2). For instance.These are common statements made about children with learning disabilities. determined by intelligence tests and academic achievement. Although there is not a consensus on definition of LD. regarding academic. hearing. read. the term ³specific learning disability´ means ³those children who have a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language. cultural. According to Reid and Lienemann. behavioral. they need help to learn how to do those things (http://www.org/mental/learning_disabilities. of emotional disturbance. Thus. assessed with standardized tests.

meningitis etc. fetal alcohol syndrome Perinatal: prematurity. According to Sanders. Causes of Learning Disabilities Currently. 2006. Postnatal: brain injury due to stroke.4). smoking. anoxia. the child can be identified as learning disabled (Reid & Lienemann. Genetic: Many of the learning disabilities are transmitted from the parents through genes. the causes of learning disabilities can be classified into four categories. . Central Nervous System Damage Prenatal: maternal drug use. According to Reid & Lienemann(p. which almost coincidence with those of Reid & Lienemann: 1. Innate: It includes the ones who have undergone some genetic or chromosomal mutation which results in learning disabilities during gestational period. girls with Turner s syndrome and boys with Klinefelter s syndrome are likely to be more prone to learning disabilities. serotonin etc. 2. hypothesized causes of learning disabilities are listed as below: CAUSES Central Nervous System Abnormality EXAMPLE Abnormal brain hemispheric symmetry. little is known about the causes of learning disabilities. injury during birth. then. p.the actual achievement is large enough. Among those with dyslexia. high fever. nerve cell anomalies in areas of the brain related to language.3). For instance. Genetic Conditions caused by chromosomal abnormalities such as Turner syndrome or Fragile X syndrome Environmental Exposure to environmental toxics such as lead poisoning Biochemical Abnormalities Imbalances in neurotransmitters like dopamine. it is indicated that at least 50% of the cases are hereditary.

(Sanders. drugs. 3537) Defining characteristics of learning disabilities In the book Understanding Dyslexia and the Reading Process by Marion Sanders. Constitutional: All the biological factors causing cognitive dysfunction events as well as the postnatal factors like meningitis. alcohol.33-35) According to Reid & Lienemann. fine motor coordination and attention are the representations of this characteristic. lead paint etc. perception. based on the data derived from history. the diagnosis is made clinically. II.3. from observations of the student and from test scores. they may attend to unimportant components of a task and ignore relevant information. 4. Learning disabilities result from an imbalance among cognitive abilities especially the modular skills. X-ray. is common among students with LD. There are many students testing poorly on some of the underlying specific skills but whose academic abilities seem to be unimpaired (Sanders. infections etc. attention and memory. Interference with the Acquisition of Basic Academic Skills: There may be many people who meet the two criteria above but who do not have any academic difficulties. Thus. These operations depend on various aspects of brain development. Students with LD are often described as spacey or not with it as they fail in maintaining focus. As there is no single test for learning disabilities. Sanders introduces 3 main characteristics: I. Those are among the factors: prematurity. Underlying Neurological Basis: Inadequate functioning of cognitive operations related to learning such as memory. III. head injury. through induction. the ability to identify important or meaningful information. Congenital: It includes all factors taking in all of the pregnancy and birth factors which may cause cognitive dysfunction. p. . characteristics of students with learning disabilities can be classified into five groups: Attention: Difficulty in selective attention. organization and circuitry. are in this category. Uneven Profile of Cognitive Abilities: The term cognitive abilities referring to various discrete skills that make up general intelligence include modular systems like perception.

Memory: Research shows that students with LD have memory deficits. 3. 5. It is common among students with LD that one day the students can readily remember everything. for no apparent reason. 2. Moreover. they simply will not succeed. Reasoning: difficulty in organizing and integrating thoughts. Research suggests that the problem of learned helplessness is common among students with LD with a percentage of 70%. Lack of Coordinated Strategies: Students with LD are unlikely to respond appropriately to the demands of an academic task by using an effective set of cognitive strategies (Reid & Leinemann.helpguide. Attributions: Students with LD usually attribute success to external factors like luck or the test being easy. p. . 4.htm) Learning disabilities typically affect five general areas: 1. Arithmetic: difficulty in performing arithmetic operations or in understanding basic concepts. but the next day. They are shocked when their child receives a low score on a standardized test or a progress report comes home indicating their child is "underachieving" or "not working up to their full potential. these kinds of attributions affect student s academic motivation and performance. Signs and signals of learning disabilities Some signs of learning disabilities can be present in early childhood. the sooner an intervention can be made. they attribute failure to internal factors such as lack of ability. Thus.org/mental/learning_disabilities. parents are often surprised to find out that their bright and imaginative child is struggling in school. writing and spelling. Learned Helplessness: Students with LD believe that no matter how hard they try. which is beneficial because the earlier a problem is recognized. Spoken language: delays. When the learning disability is not diagnosed early-on. disorders. Memory: difficulty in remembering information and instructions. Written language: difficulties with reading. it s gone. so there is no reason to try. Often a developmental lag is not considered a symptom of a learning disability until the child is much older and attending school. and deviations in listening and speaking." (http://www. which wastes precious treatment time.6-9).

(http://www. shape." and "tomorrow. numbers or words (e. playing sports.htm) ." "today.(http://www." * Disorganized thinking. holding a pencil or trying to tie a shoelace * Frequently losing or misplacing homework. color Symptoms in school-age children * Difficulty in understanding and following instructions. writing." 18 with 81. spelling.org/mental/learning_disabilities.childdevelopmentinfo.g. schoolbooks or other items * Unable to understand the concept of time. or "on" with "no. confused by the difference between "yesterday.") * Lacking motor coordination when walking.helpguide. confusing "b" with "d.. tasks requiring sequencing * Trouble with remembering what someone just told them * Failing to master reading." problems identifying words or a tendency to reverse letters.com/learning/learning_disabilities) Signs that appear in preschool * Delay in understanding or using spoken language * Difficulty in understanding simple instructions * Lengthy pause before naming objects and colors * Limited awareness or interest in books * Difficulty coloring or drawing * Problems with motor coordination * Short attention span * Difficulty discriminating size. and/or math skills and therefore fails schoolwork * Difficulty in telling the difference between "right" and "left.

causing problems with visual-spatial. You might mix up the letters in a word. Effective instruction for learning disabled English learners Research suggests that some useful practices can affect the English learning of disabled learners. Phrases might appear like this: (www.ldonline.org/ldbasics/whatisld). Utilizing cooperative learning and peer tutoring. evaluative and holistic processing functions (www. Nonverbal Learning Disabilities: a neurological disorder which originates in the right hemisphere of the brain. and . It may also be referred to as reading disability or reading disorder.org) Dyscalculia: a mathematical disability in which a person has a difficult time solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts. organizational.ncld. for example. reading the word "now" as "won" or "left" as "felt. Providing opportunities for students to practice speaking English in both formal and informal contexts throughout the day. Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders: sensory disabilities in which a person has difficulty understanding language despite normal hearing and vision. Use of students' native language strategically when students are floundering." Words may blend together and spaces are lost. Here are some effective methods for them: - Using visuals to reinforce concepts and vocabulary. intuitive.Common learning disabilities Dyslexia: a language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding written words. Dysgraphia: a writing disability in which a person finds it hard to form letters or write within a defined space.

6th grade student at Türkan oray Primary and Secondary school at Rumeli Hisarüstü neighbourhood. INTERVIEW WITH THE ENGLISH TEACHER of 6th Grades BARI ERTÜRK OBSERVATION SCHOOL: TÜRKAN ORAY PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL 1. How did you diagnose the student with the learning disability? 2. (http://www. accepting his answers without correction before smail¶s friends.org/content/view/519/389) Observations about the Student smail has specifically difficulty in pronunciation and writing in English. his teacher supports his disability via waiting for the answers. His teacher told us that he is good at his other school subjects aside from English.- Focusing on rich and evocative vocabulary words during lessons so students remain engaged and challenged. He has just difficulties in writing and pronunciation of English. Do you think inclusion of the child with the whole class is a helpful thing to do? . The words can serve as vehicles for teaching literary concepts.ncld. He is a nice character in the class. He stutters the words while giving answer in front of the class. What kind of prejudices did/do you have when you face (d) with this case? 6. He does not humiliate or scorn smail in class sessions as teacher understands him and behaves tolerantly towards ismail. Do you have any background knowledge about the specific learning disability? 3. No one discriminates against ismail. He comes from a poor family background. He is a male. To my observation. His weaknesses are in pronunciation of English words and mistakes in writing in English. Did you take any expert advice or support from any person or institution? 4. His disability is not severe degree one as far as I saw. Through this explanation. we think that smail has a learning disability in English ³dyslexia and disgraphia´. He is behind his peers in English class. Did you use any kind of activity or method to help the mentioned child? 5.

he was reading incorrectly. But. and . I did not go any institution or expert. Teacher s Comments Here is the teacher¶ remarks and comments about smail. pronouncing the words wrongly maybe it was because of his mouth structure. He is trying hard to improve himself. What is the reaction of the parents of the child? Did they help you or not cooperate with you? TEACHER S ANSWERS 1. 4. of course. full of mistakes. 5. No. Apart from that. I have not talked to the parents of him yet. 7. When I saw his repetitive mistakes in pronunciation and his bad writing. He participates to the lessons. 3. 2. there are specific writing mistakes in his exam papers. and he was still reading the sentences incorrectly though he sometimes tried hard to correct them. Although he was attentive and wanted to participate to the lessons. I still do not much about this disability. I know his disability and understand him. I do not shout at him for his errors. I was afraid and a bit panicked as this was my first situation with a learning disabled student. smail is a very good student.7. 6. I will talk as soon as possible as he needs help and support from his family. This makes me afraid and tense. His friends love him. I do not have any background knowledge about his case. ³I have a problem with Ismail like this for example: His pronunciation was really bad when started to teach to him at 4th grade. He is attentive and curious for the lessons. I do not know the methods to use. I give him much time for his answers. Yes. I talked with my colleagues about smail. I got to know that he has a learning disability.

On the other hand. Yet. we started talking about upcoming holiday and asked him whether he was excited or not. we focused on this problematic area and started to talk about the reasons of this failure. Plus. However. So. Otherwise he wanted to read a lot. He saw himself like any other student in the class and he based his disability on only the time limit in the exams. He mentioned that he had six siblings at home and he was doing his homework on his own without anybody¶s help. Then. But. Then. His parents can teach him at home and help him to do his homework.writings in his notebook. he need more time than his peers. He mentioned about the English exams. we should control the home environment of him. He told that they were too long to finish in the time given to him. he is correcting them very little or not.´ INTERVIEW WITH THE STUDENT As a group. he answered ³of course. we talked about his family and asked him if there was anyone at home who was helping him or not. we understood that he didn¶t want to accept his disability. He can be tutored face to face about mispronunciation. the thing we infer about this student . We talked about his expectations about the school report. Firstly. Again. We asked what he is doing in his leisure times and he just said he likes watching television a lot. I love´ without hesitation. we want him to tell us the reason why he had the lowest grade in English. the teacher wasn¶t aware of this situation or he didn¶t want to spend extra time for only one student. Because he has some problems related with writing. English was the course in which he has the lowest grade among all other subjects. He was so enthusiastic about English course that when we asked if he loves learning English or not. I have not talked to his family yet. he started talking about his problems related with English course. Then. Not to make the student feel something wrong with him. But. Ismail is the best example that I have in wrong writing and mispronunciation. we talked with him like in an ordinary conversation rather than in an interview atmosphere. we started our interview with some general questions and then move into the questions related with the specific area. I talked to his other teachers and they told he is not that bad at his other school subjects. I do not have enough time to spare for that as I am working very hard. He is not doing much of his homework. Actually. We especially asked whether he reads books in his leisure times because he has some problems related with reading but he said that he hasn¶t got any English books to read.

as far as from the target student not to distract him. He doesn¶t want to accept his disability. Also. They have access to internet through one teacher¶s computer in the class. On the walls. His self-esteem and self-confidence were at good levels according to my observations. his friends began to laugh but he seemed that he used to that situation. The teacher was just going over the seasons and months which they had learnt in the previous weeks. Bahar s Journal I tried not to be eye-catching and distinctive among the students as I was careful about not to make them feel that I came to observe one of their friends. I just listened to the lesson as if I was not there at all. Perhaps he was more willing than anyone else in the classroom. He was not aware of his disability. That day. Cennet s Journal The classroom which I participated to observe the student with learning disability was an English language classroom where there were about twenty students. So.from our interview is that he is willing to learn as much as any other student in his class. I was most careful about that while taking my notes. sat at the back of the class. he just gave up after three names because he mixed them and mispronounced them. I can say. they were in English class and just practicing their grammar. The teacher was also accepting his . there are useful chunks. He was willing to participate in the lesson like his peers. His mistakes in writing English and problems with mispronunciation of the words made the teacher suggest me smail. this helped us. They did not notice my goal to come to that class. However. crowded and very small. We spoke with the teacher in a great secrecy about the case of smail. teacher can not spare enough time for each student especially for the students like smail. Classroom was a typical state school classroom. I tried to be a casual teacher trainee in the class as other trainees. We are aware that this child can overcome this disability but he needs some support. he was attentive and participative to the lesson. Teacher tried to raise smail as much as possible for my observation. although he was willing himself to say the names of the months in English. I did not do any eye-contact or behavior that can make my aim clear and fail the study. So. My intention was only known by the teacher. I just sat at the back of the student but he wasn¶t aware that I was observing him. English poems and idioms are hanged.

In one of them. he asked whether he made a mistake or not and sat down. the teacher could encourage him or gave more time to him as he knows that he has a learning disability. After talking with the teacher. he was writing the sentences or words in the way he pronounced them. He was very interested in English. he made a mistake while he was telling the months of the year. In the lesson I observed. At that moment. However. he was willing to answer the questions. he got low marks in exams although he participated in the lesson and studied for English. The teacher was just ignoring that student.disability and didn¶t force him. the attitudes of his peers were not constructive. he had difficulty in pronouncing. These were the reasons why the teacher suggested observing that student. Although he is a successful student. Yeliz s Journal I attended to smail¶s English lessons to make observation about his disability. too much forcing could be very bad for him but the teacher should be very patient and maybe in some other ways such as giving more time to this student. The teacher should take an action to make his peers stop those kinds of behaviors and also he should encourage smail so that he can develop his English. which is one of the characteristics of learning disabilities. now he is pretty good at writing when it is compared to his first times. he mispronounced ³Turkey´ as it is written. He seems not to be offended by their attitudes. Then. It was a morning class with approximately 20 students in the classroom. but when he was called on to give answer. he made mistakes and then his peers laughed at him. There was one thing that got my attention very much. Also. It was just a usual event for the people who were in the classroom except me. He was not aware that he made a mistake until his peers laughed at him. the teacher made him answer many questions. I learned that when he first started to learn English. he should feel the sense of accomplishment because this opportunity will give this student the chance to achieve something in his future. Moreover. There was something wrong in that classroom. I am really affected by the attitudes of the teacher and his peers. I put myself in the shoes of him and thought about it. As I was there for observation. Yet. Of course. he can be discouraged because of those attitudes towards him. Also. but still he has good relationships with his peers. .

p. By the end of the school year.html Lewis & Doorlag.one and computer assisted instruction. By the end of the school year. . we developed our IEP goals in these areas to improve his pronunciation. Given direct instruction and practice. Ismail will correctly spell all words that he learns in sixth grade. reading and writing in English. smail will write a complete sentence in English within a minute of viewing a picture or being given an idea. one. By the end of the school year. Ismail will increase his writing in English from a primary to an elementary level using individual and small group instruction. smail has difficulties in pronunciation. Given direct instruction and practice. Ismail will read sixth grade English materials with adequate comprehension and fluency.com/goals/criteria. smail will write a paragraph composed of at least 5 sentences with correct grammar and spelling. By the end of the school year. smail will identify vowel sounds like b-d at 90% accuracy as charted by the teacher. Ismail will correct his spelling errors by using a dictionary.171-179) Short term objectives Given direct instruction and practice. Given direct instruction and practice. Thus. By the end of the school year.spiritlakeconsulting.spedforms. smail will spell high frequency words correctly using a dictionary. By the end of the school year.to. reading and writing. smail will read a paragraph in English fluently.EDUCATIONAL PLAN According to our observations. ( http://www. Ismail will increase his pronunciation skills from a primary level to an elementary level using strategy.com/IEP/ld_IEP. Given direct instruction and practice. Annual goals By the end of the school year. Ismail will decrease stuttering behavior from 5 or more times a class period to 0 or 1 times a class period using speech therapy. Ismail will write legibly and with sufficient speed.htm http://www.

smail will identify vowel sounds like b-d at 90% accuracy as charted by the teacher.OBJECTIVE ACTIVITY  Minimal pairs  Parroting TIME REQUIRED A week s time ( 4 lessons of 40 minutes) FIRST WEEK y Given direct instruction and practice. - A week s time ( 4 lessons of 40 minutes) FOURTH WEEK y Given direct instruction and practice.  Writing in the air using hands - A week s time ( 4 lessons of 40 minutes) THIRD WEEK y Given direct instruction and practice. smail will write a paragraph composed of at least 5 sentences with correct grammar and spelling.  From simple to complex sentences. smail will spell high frequency words correctly using a dictionary. smail will write a complete sentence in English within a minute of viewing a picture or being given an idea.  Writing daily journals - A week s time ( 4 lessons of 40 minutes) .  Teaching the writing process. SECOND WEEK y Given direct instruction and practice.

y To teach the student how to write a sentence. finger. smail will read a paragraph in English fluently. We will start simple and gradually move to complex sentence writing. She/he can understand what she/he read. and the logical order of facts for non-fiction.FIFTH WEEK y Given direct instruction and practice. y Teach the writing process. There are four basic steps to writing: thinking of an idea. . We will spend one whole week just coming up with and talking about ideas. Then. We will get the student to pick the topic that is of greatest interest to him/her and spend another week revising and polishing the writing piece. revising and correcting mistakes and publishing the finished piece. we will make the student write in the air with hand. writing a rough draft. y To improve the reading comprehension. This activity helps the student to form a visual image of the paragraph.  Chunking strategy - A week s time ( 4 lessons of 40 minutes) ACTIVITIES FOR OUR GOALS y To teach spelling words correctly. we will go over the subject. including any characters or plot lines for fiction. verb and attributes of writing a sentence. Make the letters as big and dramatic as desired. We will practice each step. get the student to draw a picture of what has been read. we will just put ideas on paper. analyze the mental picture evoked by the paragraph by asking questions. in the second week. Get the student to master sentence-writing before expecting paragraphwriting. This kinesthetic activity will make the letters more permanent and memorable for the student. Then. We can combine this method with saying and hearing the sounds to teach letter sounds.

com/how_13157_help-student-has. "I want to go pray outside. grain-drain. lame-lane.essortment. bit-pit. break-brick.ehow.educationworld.g. We will teach the student to focus on the subtle phonological differences by parroting what he says when he speaks incorrectly. We will try to say them naturally as much as possible as in a real conversation. meal-kneel. it will be checked and evaluated to see the development. y We will try to teach the rules of the English language. we will use the strategy chunking. Example: if the child says. hair .).com/family/educationalacti_snyc.html http://www. bill-pill. more easily remembered parts. We will discuss with the child what should happen in the story and how to spell the words while he watches.or multi-syllable words like fantastic .fan / tas / tic. Chunking is a strategy that involves breaking words into smaller. After the child has mastered simple letter combinations. tight-kite. like 'ea' and 'ee'.com/a_lesson/lesson115.htm . Example word pairs: hill-hail. maskmast. letting him watch because we know that modeling is very important. mail . owed-old. we will begin teaching combinations that sound alike but are spelled different. y y Working one-on-one. chin-gin." repeat it back as a question ² "you want to go pray outside? Do you want to pray? Or do you want to play?" To teach to identify different sounds. parrot-pellet. Gradually we will add skills as the child masters each lesson. We will chunk single syllable words like great gr / ea / t .nail. y To develop writing skills. beat-beak.y To teach how to spell words and make the writing process much easier for him. http://www. we will collect word pairs that sound very similar to each other (e. smack-snack. ache . we will write a story with the child. when-hen. guide-tied. we will say each word pair to the child and ask the child if the words are different or if they are the same. At intervals. y To develop writing skills. slab-slap. we will want him to keep a daily journal. etc. shell-fell. free-three.here. This strategy will help our student remember spelling or vocabulary words.shtml http://www. flew-flow.ate.

the rubrics we plan to use: Learner¶s Self Evaluation Checklist Name: Address: After this unit.EVALUATION TOOLS For evaluation process. I am now able to: Date: Topics: Easily Need More Practice Not At All I enjoyed I need to know more about I need more confidence in I suggest .

I liked most 2 After this unit. can Please list three things/activities that you enjoyed most. practice with Please list three suggestions for what you want to learn next. I suggest I need more practice with I suggest I need more practice with I suggest Generalized Task Rubric Apprentice Basic Learned * Demonstrates detailed understanding of major concepts.htm .ca/CLR/Btg/ed/evaluation/general. understanding of major concepts. I can I liked most 3 After this unit. -uses language to describe process or strategy -reflects and generalizes about process and purpose * Demonstrates partial * Demonstrates a understanding of the fundamental level of major concepts.Unit Self-Assessment Checklist 1 Please list three things that you can do After this unit. . to describe process or strategy -reflects and generalizes about process and purpose Exemplary * Demonstrates deep understanding of major concepts.nald. I can I liked most Please list three things that you need to I need more practice more. to a point.is stronger at ³doing´ than at describing with -uses language at the language literal level -solves basic problems -reflects about process at the concrete level and purpose only http://www. -uses language. I now.

2008 .PRED 331 SPECIAL EDUCATION PROJECT Prepared by: YELIZ YILMAZ CENNET ALTINER BAHAR TÜRK Fall.