Key Words for Educators

  • Multisensory
  • Experiential
  • Accommodations

Specific Learning Disabilities … According to IDEA

  • Disorders in the basic psychological processes involved in understanding and using language
  • Manifest in student difficulty with listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, and doing math
  • Not caused by visual, hearing, motor disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or emotional disabilities

What are some effective strategies for working with children who have a specific learning disability?

  • Provide multisensory instruction and assessment
  • Give positive feedback and repeated opportunities for practicing new skills
  • Offer supports around organizational skills
  • Plan hands-on learning experiences
  • Consider relevant assistive technology and other accommodations
  • Communicate with families and other professionals to share information and strategies

View a Video

Life with a Learning Disability

Students with learning disabilities represent the move common type of educational disability, with nearly 2.4 million students diagnosed with a learning disability.  Of these, dyslexia is the most prevalent. Click here to meet one exceptional young man who explains what life is like living with a learning disability.

How Would You Feel?

Dr. Rick Lavoie is a renowned expert in learning disabilities and the preeminent leader on helping others to understand how it feels to be a child with a learning disability.  His award-winning workshops and video series, F.A.T. City, have long been a staple in training programs for educators seeking to improve their empathy and instructional proficiency with children who have learning disabilities.  The themes and illustrations of how adults can be made to feel like a child with a learning disability, and subsequently to understand what to avoid in their own instruction, are hallmarks in this 1989 video, “How Difficult Can this Be?  The F.A.T. City Workshop.”.

Click here to view the video.

What’s in a Name?

The term “learning disability” is a broad description of many different challenges.  Dr. Sheldon Horowitz from the National Center on Learning Disabilities explains the variety of specific issues encompassed under the learning disability umbrella. Click here to view Dr. Horowitz’s presentation.

You Can Do This

A learning disability is not a dead end, but rather an obstacle in the road.  Encourage students that they can get around it, even if they have to go off-road to do so. What they cannot do is to stop in their tracks or to give up.  Students with disabilities should not expect any less of themselves and they should not let anyone tell them that their potential is limited.  There are strategies.  There are supports.  But most of all, they need to believe in themselves and seek support from others.  Sometimes, seeing what others have achieved can help anyone on their darkest day.  Check out these examples of famous individuals who have struggled with challenges and succeeded.

Click here to meet actor Henry Winkler.

Click here and be surprised by the company individuals with learning disabilities keep.
by The Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education