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Children with Special Educational Needs encounter a number of challenges in their educational environments- this paper will examine two examples of children with SEN and the learning disabilities associated with them. It will also outline the definition of the term 'Learning disabilities', the possible causes and theories, the learning disabilities in each case, and the students' needs according to their disability for an effective learning environment along with the assistance need by both students in developing their social skills.
Learning disabilities vary in severity and may interfere with the acquisition and use of one or more of the following:
oral language (e.g., listening, speaking, understanding)
reading (e.g., decoding, phonetic knowledge, word recognition, comprehension)
written language (e.g., spelling and written expression)
mathematics (e.g., computation, problem solving)
Learning disabilities may also involve difficulties with organizational skills, social
perception, social interaction, and perspective taking.
Many students with learning disabilities display no signs of difficulty, except
when they attempt the specific academic tasks that challenge their particular area of cognitive processing difficulty. ()
Special education is any program provided for children with disabilities instead of, or in addition to, the general education classroom program. ()
The Education Act 1998 Section 7 subsection (1)
'There should be made available to each person resident in the State, including a person with a disability or who has special educational needs, support services and a level and quality of education appropriate to meeting the needs and ability of that person.'
The Piagetian model seeks to explain universal regularities and consistencies in child development. Understanding the individual child, however, requires an appreciation of the child's adaptation within his other particular social and cultural niche. ()
'Learning disability includes the presence of:
â€¢ a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, to learn new skills (impaired intelligence), with;
â€¢ a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning);
The major types of LD may be broken into disorders in four areas:
Spoken language: Delays, disorders, and deviations in listening and speaking.
Written language: Difficulties with reading, writing, and spelling.
Arithmetic: Difficulty in performing arithmetic functions or in comprehending basic concepts.
Reasoning: Difficulty in organizing and integrating thoughts. working with children to perfect their decoding skills, their fluency, and so forth, is undoubtedly necessary for them to become successful readers. But for many children with learning problems, focused training on specific skills will not be sufficient to guarantee a positive developmental outcome.
In one sense, every child is exceptional. No two children are exactly alike in their ways of learning and behaving, in their activities and preferences, in their skills and motivations. All students would benefit from programs uniquely tailored to their individual needs.
However, schools cannot practically meet the precise needs of every student. For the sake of efficiency, students are grouped into classes and given common Instructional experiences designed to provide the greatest benefit to the largest number at a moderate cost. This system works reasonably well for the great majority of students. However, some students do not fit easily into this mold. Some students have physical or sensory disabilities, such as hearing or vision loss or orthopaedic disabilities, =that restrict their ability to participate in the general education classroom program without special assistance. Other students have mental retardation, emotional or behavioural disorders, or learning disabilities that make it difficult for them to learn in the general education classroom without assistance. Finally, some students have such outstanding talents that the general education classroom teacher is unable to meet their unique
Piaget -Jean Piaget'sÂ learning theory that, when learning new information, humans may change their understanding of an idea to incorporate the new information into their previous understanding of an idea. For example, a child may learn that "food is good." Tis is assimilation then Later, he may taste a food he does not like. His understanding of food would then change to "some food is good, and some tastes bad."
Although learning disorders clearly involve features of brain development that are associated with cognitive difficulties, the context within which the child's cognition is constructed is equally important.
MILD LEARNING DISABILITY
Students with mild general learning disabilities have significantly below-average general intellectual functioning. This is reflected in a slow rate of maturation, reduced learning capacity and inadequate social adjustment. Mild general learning disability may also manifest itself in delayed conceptual development, difficulties in expressing ideas and feelings in words, a limited ability to abstract and generalise what they learn, limited attention-span and poor retention ability, slow speech and language development, and an underdeveloped sense of spatial awareness. Students may experience difficulty with reading, writing and comprehension and have poor understanding of mathematical concepts. A student with a mild general learning disability is likely to struggle with both the content and presentation of his/her work.
Some students may display poor adaptive behaviour, inappropriate or immature personal behaviour, low self-esteem, emotional disturbance, general clumsiness and lack of co-ordination of fine- and gross-motor skills. Students' self-esteem can be affected, particularly when they enter post-primary provision, which may result in unacceptable behaviour as a way of avoiding failure. Insofar as IQ (Intelligence Quotient), may be used as an indicator of mild general learning disability, such students' cognitive functioning range from IQ 50 to 70 on standardised IQ tests. Remember that each student is different - what works for one may not work for another.
The term "working memory" refers to the capacity to store and manipulate information in mind for brief periods of time. Working-memory capacity is strongly related to learning abilities and academic progress, predicting current and subsequent scholastic attainment of children across the school years in both literacy and numeracy
Working memory is a component of memory in which information is stored and/or manipulated for brief periods of time in order to perform another activity. It enables learners to hold on to pieces of information until the pieces blend into a full thought or concept. Working memory is important for a range of activities, such as controlling attention, problem-solving, and listening and reading comprehension. A student with working memory difficulties might have forgotten the first part of an instruction by the time the full instruction has been given. Or the student might be unable to recall the beginning of a sentence by the time he/she has read to the end. Some students will be unable to hold material in working
Short term Memory is a component of memory where information is stored briefly until it is either forgotten or integrated into long term memory. It is similar to working memory, however more passive as information is not manipulated. A student with short term memory challenges might not be able to remember information long enough to copy it down from one place to another.
Long-term memory refers to information that has been stored and is available over a long period of time. Effective short-term memory is critical to move information into long-term memory. A student with long-term memory difficulties might find it necessary to review and study information over a longer period of time in order for it to become part of his or her general body of knowledge. Rehearsal, repetition, and association are well-known paths to improving long-term memory in order to complete a task or understand a concept.
Students with working-memory impairments struggle in the classroom because they are unable to hold in mind sufficient information to allow them to complete the task. Losing crucial information from working memory will cause them to forget many things: instructions they are attempting to follow, the details of what they are doing, where they have got to in a complicated task, and so on. Because those with working-memory impairments fail in many different activities on many occasions because of these kinds of forgetting, they will struggle to achieve normal rates of learning and so typically will make poor general academic progress.
it appears that during the sensorimotor stage the diagnosis of learning disabilities is difficult. The research findings suggest that there is a delay in cognitive development of learning-disabled children during elementary school years, which corresponds to preoperational, concrete operational, and transition to formal operational stages.
Q. What is a mild general learning disability?
A. The World Health Organisation classifies general learning disabilities into mild, moderate, severe and profound. The definitions of the degrees of disability are usually expressed in terms of IQ, behavioural competence and/or the need for special service. Children with mild general learning disabilities (MLD) typically have verbal and performance IQ scores in the 50-70 range, i.e., two to three standard deviations below the population mean. They often have significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behaviour as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. Specific cognitive deficits often exist in such areas as memory, attention, or language.
It is important that the teacher creates an atmosphere of co-operation rather than competition in the classroom. Equal opportunities for choosing teams and group members should be afforded to all students, as students with inadequate social skills development will often be the last to be picked by peers. Seating position in class should not serve to further isolate the student from his/her peers.
Providing a culture of acceptance of difference in the classroom environment is of the utmost importance. Students need to know that it is acceptable to fail in their efforts and that failure is part and parcel of the learning process. Communicating with the students and engaging them in setting personal learning outcomes will facilitate the development of more autonomy and control in their lives. In developing social skills, it is necessary to provide as many opportunities as possible for the students to interact and work, both in pairs and in teams, on all aspects of the curriculum. This opportunity to interact socially is especially relevant to the SPHE programme. Students should be given opportunities to assume responsibilities in both the class and the school context. These could include such activities as planning visits or welcoming people to the school. This can help to develop their self-confidence and enhance their social standing with their peer group.
The Piagetian model seeks to explain universal regularities and consistencies in child development. Understanding the individual child, however, requires an appreciation of the child's adaptation within his orher particular social and cultural niche.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder characterised by symptoms of inattention and/or impulsivity and hyperactivity. Students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have difficulties maintaining attention because of a limited ability to concentrate
Students with learning disabilities are challenging to teach successfully in the inclusion setting because of the processing and academic deficits. However, if teachers are familiar with patterns of strengths and weaknesses and aware of several principles for good practice, most students with LD have a good chance for success. Instructional decisions should be made based on the child's learning characteristics, the task, and the content rather than teaching from a pre-determined philosophy. The best teaching will often integrate ideas from constructivist and behaviorist principles. A few examples of relevant recommendations discussed in this paper are in the list that follows this narrative. Although it is often easier to teach with one method overall, instruction is most effective if special education and general education teachers are familiar with several options and collaborate to make decisions for each lesson. In addition, these ideas are beneficial for several subjects, grade levels, and students with and without disabilities. They are generally easy to implement without changing