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Learning Disabilities Essay

When a child doesn’t seem to be learning, some teachers and parents in his/her life might criticize the child and think of them as stupid, or maybe just too lazy to want to learn. What they don’t realize is that the child might have a learning disability. But how are these children being helped? There are many programs, special schools and facilities, home teaching methods and many other ways in which children with Learning Disabilities are being helped. There are many different types of learning disabilities; the most common ones are dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. (Jerome Rosner. hird ed. 1)

Dyslexia is a disorder in which someone has difficulty reading, which is not caused from a physical handicap, or emotional disorder. Many people with dyslexia have bad handwriting and have a tendency to read letters backwards. Those who have a high or even normal IQ, but have a reading level lower than it is supposed to be, may have dyslexia. They might need to have a better form of being taught. (http://www. cdipage. com) A child should first be tested with a comprehensive neurodevelop-mental exam before assuming that he/she has dyslexia or any other learning disability.

According to the web page where this information was learned from, reading problems are mainly caused by ineffective reading instruction, auditory perception difficulties, vision perception difficulties, and language processing difficulties. Studies show that the best way to teach any child how to read, whether he/she has dyslexia or any other learning disabilities or not, is using Phonics. (http://www. cdipage. com/dyslexia. htm) “I have been recommending the Phonics Game to children, teens and adults who have been diagnosed with dyslexia for over ten years.

All of those who I re-tested after using this program were reading at or above grade level. ” (Robert Myers, Ph. D. -Clinical Psychologist) Attention Deficit Disorder is a syndrome that is characterized by serious and persistent difficulties in three specific areas. These areas are attention span, impulse control, and sometimes hyperactivity. Attention Deficit Disorder is a chronic disorder which can begin in infancy and can extend throughout adulthood while having negative effects on a child’s life at home, school, and within the child’s community.

The term Attention Deficit Disorder, a condition which previously fell under the heading of “learning disabled”, “brain damaged”, “hyper kinetic”, or “hyperactive”, was introduced to more clearly describe the characteristics of these children. There are two types of attention deficit disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Undifferentiated Attention Deficit Disorder. Students who have exhibited the characteristics of Attention Deficit Disorder for longer than six months may be at risk for having an attention deficit disorder.

However, a diagnosis of attention deficit should only be made after ruling out other factors related to medical, emotional or environmental variables which could cause serious symptoms. Therefore, physicians, psychologists, and educators often conduct a multi-disciplinary evaluation of the child including medical studies, psychological and educational testing, speech and language assessment, neurological evaluation, and behavioral rating scales completed by the child’s parents and teachers.

Hyperactivity with ADD, without treatment, often results in failure, rejection by peers and family turmoil, all of which can lead to developmental delays and psychiatric complications stemming from low self-esteem and frustration” (Jerry M. Weiner, M. D. , Pres. Amer. Academy of Ch. & Adol. Psychiatry) Without treatment, Attention Deficit Disorder can lead to poor social adjustment, behavioral problems, and school failure, drop-out and delinquency and drug abuse. A person with attention deficit disorder is too easily distracted and doesn’t pay enough attention to instruction.

About three to five percent of students in high school have attention deficit disorder. (Rosner, 2) Some professionals feel that running tests on people with learning disabilities is a cure, but these tests are only ways to gather information. The two types of tests used are IQ and School Achievement. Achievement Tests are designed to measure how much a child has learned in a specific area. An IQ test is used to predict how well a child will adjust in a normal teaching environment. (Rosner, 9,10) There are three ways to help children with learning disabilities overcome their problems. They are remediate, compensate, and to simply just wait.

To remediate is to try to eliminate the problem. This is when you help the child overcome his or her deficits so that the child can make progress in a normal teaching environment. To compensate is to provide nonstandard teaching conditions that help the child progress in school despite their deficit. To wait is to delay any advancement in the child’s grade level until the child has the skills he or she needs to progress in a normal teaching environment. (Rosner, 85) If these steps don’t work there are schools where these children can go. For these schools to serve their purpose well, they must first believe in what they are doing.

They must also have a professional staff who can help the children overcome their deficits. This staff plays major part in the success of the school. (Cruickshank -Selected Writings Volume 2, 158-159) Many people say that the old time schools were better in teaching all children. But the truth of the matter is that no single approach suits all children adequately. The child who enters first grade with appropriately developed basic learning aptitudes (perceptual skills) and language abilities does well in any environment but thrives in an environment that allows him/her to make some of the decisions his/herself.

The learning disabled child needs structure but can not generate it on his own. In effect, the child’s progress in school, if this child makes any, can be charted in terms of his/her relative dependency on others to provide that structure. The more he progresses, the less he will need that help. (Rosner, 145-153) Children develop many skills and learn much information during their preschool years. Standard school instructional conditions are designed on the assumption that the students will have achieved a certain level of ability (in terms of perceptual skills and language) by the time they enter school. This is not always the case.

Rosner, 156-157) It is important therefore that parents and preschool teachers know how to look carefully at all children, and identify those who are slowing down in one or more aspects of there development and early learning. They must also know how to follow up identification with appropriate actions. There are also special medications that learning disabled children can take, mainly for those with attention disorders, which can help improve their learning. Used are three drugs, Ritalin (methylphenidate), Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine), and Cylert (pemoline). Their basic job is to make the children more attentive.

This allows them to learn more, they will become a lot more focused in what they are being taught. Studies show that 90 percent of hyperactive children may be helped by these medications. (www. helioshealth. com) In conclusion, children with Learning Disabilities are being helped in many ways, whether it is from a special school, special programs that help, medications, or simply from home by parents or a special tutor. As we learned, the three methods of helping these children, remediating, compensating, and just waiting, does a great amount of help when it comes to ways of coping with learning disabilities.

The medications can also be very useful. The main thing, though, for the help for these children would probably be the support of the parents, teachers, and loved ones. Without that, the child might just lose all, if any, self-esteem and consider him/herself as “slow”, “stupid”, “retarded”, when in fact he/she might just need a little help in being taught and not actually be one of those given “names”. If more people would decide to help, there might be a chance that learning disabilities would not be considered as something bad, and, perhaps, become history. You never know.

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