1. List the common elements in the definitions of learning disabilities and the problems involved in each of these elements.1. Neurological Factors. “All learning originates in the brain, and, consequently, a disorder in learning can be caused by a dysfunction in the central nervous system, which is an organic system comprising the brain and the spinal cord.” (Lerner, p.14) It is difficult to detect through a medical examination but can be determined through observation of behavior.2. Cognitive Processing Factors. “Refer to an uneven development of the various components of mental functioning. Mental ability is not a single capacity; rather, it is composed of many underlying mental abilities.” (Lerner, p. 14). A person with a Learning Disability will show a lagging or lapse in their development which shows a learning problem.3. Difficulty in Academic and Learning Tasks. “Individuals with learning disabilities encounter different types of problems in learning. One child’s challenge may be in the acquisition of speech and oral language; another’s may be in reading, arithmetic, handwriting, motor skills, or writing. (Lerner, p.14)4. Discrepancy between a student’s potential for learning and academic achievement. There is a big gap between what the student is potentially capable of learning and what they actually learned due to their learning disability. To determine if there is a discrepancy, “The child with a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in one or more of the 7 areas: 1) determine the student’s potential for learning, (2) the student’s current achievement level, and (3) the degree of discrepancy between the student’s potential for learning and the actual achievement level.” (Lerner, p. 14-15)5. Exclusion of other causes. “Teachers who work with children with other disabilities often observe that many students appear to have two problems – their primary disability plus their learning disabilities.” (Lerner, p.15). There may be other disabilities such as; Intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, visual or hearing impairments, or cultural, social or economic environments – can also factor into adding to the students Learning Disability.
2. Describe the prevalence rates of learning disabilities and explain the reasons why students are identified as having learning disabilities.“A learning disability is a neurological condition that interferes with a person’s ability to store, process, or produce information, affecting the person’s ability to read, write, speak, spell or complete mathematics.” (Lerner, p.11) Having a learning disability interferes with attention, memory, coordination, and social skills. Beginning in 2000 the number of students having a LD has decreased. In 1997 4.4% of students in a public school were identified with learning disability. By 2006 the number of students with a learning disability dropped to 4.0%. Even though the numbers for Special education services increased. Some students are being qualified: in OTHER areas – Autism, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD) . The expansion and attention to early childhood education. Improvements in reading instruction provided in Gen Ed. Shifts in identification approaches, including the use of Response-to-Intervention (RTI).
3. Describe the increase of inclusion placements for children with learning disabilities and the importance of collaboration because of this trend.There are benefits to inclusion in General Education: “Can provide students with a disability greater access to their general education peers, raise expectations for student performance, help general education students be more accepting of diverse students, and improve coordination between regular and special education educators.” (Lerner, p.29)STRATEGIES targeted for student with learning disabilities:1. – Begin each lesson with a review of what has been learned. 2. Tell students the goal of the lesson. 3. Place students with special needs near the teacher. 4. Present new material in small steps & provide ample practice after each step5. Teach all students study skills. 6. Allow sufficient practice of the concepts of skills. 7. Use differentiated instruction. Ask a large number of questions, check for understanding & obtains a response from all students.Guides students during the initial practice.Provide systematic feedback & correction8. Summarize what has been learned at the end of each lesson. These strategies benefit all students in the general education classroom, and helps for inclusion to be done responsibly. This helps each student ensure they are receiving services to meet their needs without pointing out to the general ed student their peer has a disability.
4. Identify the series of three special education laws, including their names, Public Law numbers, and date of passage. What changes were made in each of these laws? Name of Law Public Law Number Changes MadeThe Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975PL – 94-142First SPED Law passed gave students w/ disability a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Also develop IEP (Individual Education Plan)Early Childhood Amendments of 1986PL 99-457Extended provision of law to children w/ disabilities age 3-5 years of age.Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 1990 IDEAPL 101-476Autism and Traumatic brain injury were added for students with a disability. This began transition services to prepare students from school to the world of work, and provisions of assistive technology devices.Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA-1997)PL- 105-17Revision added to prepare students for employment and independent living including students who have been suspended or expelled from school, and for students with behavioral challenges. In IDEA-1997 the gen ed teacher was required to be a participant in the IEP process, since the movement toward inclusion IDEA -2004PL-108-456There is zero reject of the student, all students w/ disability are provided FAPE based on their individual needs. “Students who are suspended from school for any more than 10 days per year must have access and reach progress in the general education curriculum and their IEP services. Also they should receive a functional behavioral assessment, behavioral intervention services, and modifications that are designed to address the behavior violation so that it does not recur.” (Lerner, p.288)
5. What is meant by the term “high stakes testing,” and how do these policies affect students with disabilities? “Statewide assessment tests are often called high-stakes testing because so many critical decisions are based on test results. There are rewards and punishments for students, teachers, administrators, and schools.” (Lerner, p.257) With Common core standards adopted by the majority of states there are directives coming from the national, the state and local sources for high academic output in every content area of academic coursework. Tests can be used to make a high-stake decision, such as if the student will graduate or be promoted to the next grade level. Sometimes, when this happens, a student will give up and drop out. The dropout rate increases for the student with a learning disability. This causes concern for the educators because these students will have poor prospect for employment and continuing on into post secondary education. “In the past, students with a disability were excluded from such statewide and districtwide assessments. All this changed with the IDEA-1997, IDEA-2004, and NCLB-2001 require that students with a disability be included in statewide and districtwide assessments and that the results be reported. (Lerner, p. 258) Students with a disability are expected to learn the same amount as a student without a disability and they are expected to integrate, manage and express large amounts of information with an large amounts of vocabulary words, especially at the secondary level.
“Students with disabilities may be eligible for accommodations in taking high-stakes tests. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) offers information on accommodations.” (Lerner, p.258) http://www.ets.org/disability
6. Describe ways to establish and maintain the student’s self-esteem and motivation. (Lerner P. 86-89) Self Esteem – it is important to recognize the emotional impact of failure on the student. The parents anxiety becomes uncontrollable. 2. Fostering Motivation – the need to have friends. The need for independence. The need to be important. The need to know. The need to assert. The need for control. The need to be recognized. The need to have affiliations and belong to a group. 3. Building Rapport – a good relationship between the teacher and student is an essential first step in clinical teaching. A healthy relationship implies compassion w/out over involvement, understanding w/out indulgence and genuine concern for the students development. 4. Sharing Responsibility – Students should participate in both the analysis of their problems and the evaluation of their performance. Student should also take an active role in designing lessons and choosing materials. 5. Providing Structure – and establishing routine are important for introducing order into chaotic lives of students w/ LD. Knowing a specific schedule, sequence of activities, and manner in which lessons are taught. 6. Conveying Sincerity – teacher to convey confidence that together they will find ways to overcome the difficulties. 7. Showing Success – Success is a vitamin. Self esteem is the result of success. Students should become aware and appreciate their success. Praising good work. Using extrinsic rewards as reinforcement. Developing visual records of progress through charts and graphs. 8. Capitalizing on Students Interest – finding materials in student interest through conversations, sports, adventure, action, history, science, biography, memoir, mysteries, and humor. Find through TV Guide, newspapers, baseball, football, programs, music, popular magazines, computer manuals.
7. Describe the features of IDEA that pertain to placement or the delivery of education services, including the continuum of alternative placements and the least restrictive environment.IDEA requires states to: 1. Include students w/ disability in their statewide and districtwide assessments and report the results. 2. Develop alternative assessments and policies on accommodations for students w/ disabilities.ALSO : An IEP for a student w/ a disability w/ problem behaviors must include a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) & (PBS) Positive Behavioral Support. “THE LRE – Least restrictive environment provisions of the IDEA provide that, to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities are educated with their peers without disabilities. The premise of the LRE is that placement decisions about the student’s educational setting should be based on each student’s individual needs.” (Lerner, p.293)
8. Discuss the following related to ADHD/ADD: P.197, 202,205, 208 Characteristics – ADHD is a chronic neurological condition characterized byInattention – inability to concentrate on a taskImpulsiveness – is the tendency to respond quickly w/out thinking through the consequences of an action.Hyperactivity – refers to behavior that is described as a constant, driving motor activity in which a child races from one endeavor or interest to another. Instruments to assess – (Lerner, p. 199-200) “Usually based on the observation of behaviors. A. Persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. For inattention six (6) or more of the following symptoms have persisted for at least six (6) months. Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school work, at work, or during other activities.Often as difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish school work, chores, or duties in the workplace.Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort.Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities.Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.Is often forgetful in daily activities.For hyperactivity and impulsivity, there are six or more of the following symptoms.Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet or squirms in seat.Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is inappropriate. In adolescents or adults, may be limited to feeling restless.Often unable to play or engage in leisure activities quietly.Is often ‘on the go’ acting as if ‘driven by a motor’.Often talks excessively.Often blurts out an answer before a question that has been completed.Often has difficulty waiting his or her turn.Often interrupts or intrudes on others.” (Lerner, p. 199-200)Eligibility – Children with ADHD may be eligible for special education services under “Other health impaired.” (OHI)Section 504 services – a child with ADHD may be eligible for services.Medical treatments – Brand Name Generic Name Duration of ActionRitalinMethylphenidate3-5 hoursDexedrineDextroamphetamine3-5 hoursAdderallCombination8 hoursConcertaContains type of Ritalin8 hoursFocalinGeneric4 hoursVyvanseLisdexamfetamine8 hours Methods for teachingIncreasing Attention – Coming to attention – Focusing attention – Sustaining attention.Managing Impulsivity – Adapt curriculum, Help students learn to wait, Help students manage time.Reducing Hyperactivity – Limit distractions, – Seat student near teacher, away from noisy places, w/ well behaved students, keep routines simple. Increase Attention – Shorten the task, shorten homework assignments, use distributed practice, (shorter sessions), make tasks more interesting (Work w/ partners, interest centers, groups.), Increase the novelty of the task. Improve Organization – Provide clear classroom rules and teacher expectation, establish routines for placing objects in the room, provide a list of materials for each task, check that the student has homework before leaving school, use assignment books, use a different colored folder for each subject. Improve Listening Skills – Keep instructions simple and short, have students repeat instructions aloud and then to themselves, alert students by using key phrases such as (this is important or listen carefully), use visual aids – charts, pictures, graphics, transparencies, write key points on chalkboard. Help Students Manage Time – Set up specific routine and adhere to it, make lists to help students organize tasks, use behavior contracts that specify the time allotted for activities. Provide Opportunities for Moving – Permit students to move in class (sharpen pencils, get papers, get materials), alternate activities (Standing, sitting, moving), allow students to work while standing or while leaning on their desks, have work centers in the classroom, use computers (allow children to go to computers during work time).
9. Describe some of the findings of recent brain research and its relationship to learning disabilities. P.25 Technology for studying the brain and its structure have recently become available. Many of the studies involved individuals with dyslexia for reading disabilities. People with dyslexia have a different brain structure.Postmortem anatomical studies: Autopsy studies of individual with dyslexia show brain structure is different from those without dyslexia. Some of these individual, male, died suddenly from motorcycle accident and their brain was donated for studies.Genetic Studies: Family studies done in Scandinavia showed dyslexia “aggregates in families” (Lerner p.26). Reading disabilities is inherited and has a genetic basis. Studies done on twins, shows that even when twins are raised separately, genetics play a significant role in dyslexia.Computed Tomography (CT): Researchers were able to see the structure of the brain using this technology which shows 3-d images of the brain.Positron-Emission Tomography (PET) Measures blood flow and is invasive. Requires elaborate equipment and is the first technology to measure the brain at work.Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI): This breakthrough process is non-invasive and great for children. This came through during the 1990’s Shows the area of the brain receiving the most blood or are the most active.Frontal Lobe – is the phoneme producer. Is used to link letters to sounds and is associated with the ability to say words aloud. (Left front interior)Parietal Lobe – is the word analyzer. This area is used in analyzing words. (Left parietotemporal area)Occipital Lobe – the automatic detector. This part of the brain is used for integrating learned words and storing and retrieving words. (Let occipitotemporal area)Some research indicates that “physical changes occur as a result of academic intervention with children who are dyslexic” (Lerner, p.28) “The Chinese symbolic writing system puts demands of different parts of the brain than Western alphabetic writing systems. The Western alphabetic writing system requires abilities in phonological awareness of spoken words. The Chinese writing system requires abilities with pictorial and visual symbols.” (Lerner, p.28-29)
10 Describe the characteristics of students with mathematics disabilities. Not all student exhibit the same traits. Information processing difficulties:Motor ProblemsProblems in writing numbers, illegible, slow and inaccurate.Difficulty writing numbers in small spacesAttention ProblemsPoor attention doing the steps of mathematics in calculation.Poor attention during mathematics instructionProblems in memory and retrievalCannot remember math factsForgets the sequence of stepsForgets the multiple steps in word problemsProblems in visual-spatial processingDifficulty in visualProblems aligning numbersProblems with auditory processingDifficulty with remembering auditory arithmetic facts.Difficulty with “counting-on”Language and Mathematics Abilities: “Some children with mathematics disabilities have superior verbal language skills and may even be excellent readers, for many children the mathematics disability is compounded by oral language and reading deficiencies.” (Lerner, p. 427) Mathematics word problems are difficult for children with reading disabilities. Math Anxiety – is emotion based and based in fear of failure. This is very real. Visual spatial processing. – is information procession Auditory processing. – is information process Motor problems. – information processing Memory and retrieval – information processingDyscalculia – a medically oriented word that describes a severe disability in learning and using math. Described as a specific disturbance in learning math concepts and computations associated with a central nervous system dysfunction.Problem areas in math calculations and math reasoning. 26% of students w/ LD receive direct assistance. 50% of students w/ LD have IEP goals in math.
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