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Slide 1 - Teaching students with learning disabilities at UPEI Carla DiGiorgio Webster Centre for Teaching and Learning, UPEI April 4, 2008
Slide 2 - Today’s schedule 1:00-1:30: LD Simulations 1:30-2:00: What is an LD and what is it not? 2:00-2:30: Findings from current research 2:30-3:00: Strategies for teaching
Slide 3 - Simulations A visual-spatial learning disability Auditory Processing
Slide 4 - DID YOU KNOW… LDs affect approximately 10% of the general population, and there are over two million Canadians with LDs. The number of students with LD entering college or university has been increasing steadily over the past 10 years. The number of college freshmen with LD has increased tenfold since 1976. This is the fastest-growing group of college students with disabilities receiving services. students with disabilities have been less successful in participating fully in the college experience and in attaining a college degree. over 85% of students with LD arrived at college or university with either inadequate or non-existent documentation of their disability.
Slide 5 - What is a learning disability? a variety of disorders that affect the acquisition, retention, understanding, organization or use of verbal and/or non-verbal information. impairments in one or more psychological processes related to learning, otherwise average or above average abilities essential for thinking and reasoning. specific not global impairments and as such are distinct from intellectual disabilities.
Slide 6 - What is it not? Not ADHD Not due to general developmental disadvantage Not due to cultural or linguistic, or medical difficulties
Slide 7 - Information processing getting information into the brain (INPUT), making sense of this information (INTEGRATION), storing and later retrieving this information (MEMORY) or getting this information back out (OUTPUT).
Slide 8 - Psychological processes phonological processing; memory and attention; processing speed; language processing; perceptual-motor processing; visual-spatial processing; executive functions; (e.g., planning, monitoring and metacognitive abilities).
Slide 9 - Common learning disabilities Dyslexia – a language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding written words. It may also be referred to as reading disability or reading disorder. Dyscalculia – a mathematical disability in which a person has a difficult time solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts. Dysgraphia – a writing disability in which a person finds it hard to form letters or write within a defined space. Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders – sensory disabilities in which a person has difficulty understanding language despite normal hearing and vision. Nonverbal Learning Disabilities – a neurological disorder which originates in the right hemisphere of the brain, causing problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative and holistic processing functions. (ADD/ADHD) interferes with a person’s ability to sustain attention or focus on a task and to control impulsive behaviour (30-40% of people with LD also have ADHD)
Slide 10 - Signs: Reading Skills Slow reading rate and/or difficulty in modifying reading rate in accordance with the material's level of difficulty Uneven comprehension and retention of material read Difficulty identifying important points and themes Incomplete mastery of phonics, confusing similar words, difficulty integrating new vocabulary Skips words or lines of printed material, and has difficulty reading for long periods of time
Slide 11 - Written Language Skills Difficulty planning a topic and organizing thoughts on paper Difficulty with sentence structure (e.g., incomplete sentences, run-ons, poor use of grammar) Frequent spelling errors (e.g., omissions, substitutions, transpositions) Difficulty proofreading written work and making revisions Essays are often limited in length Slow writing Poor handwriting (e.g., poorly formed letters, trouble with spacing, overly large handwriting) Inability to copy correctly from a book or the blackboard
Slide 12 - Oral language Skills Inability to concentrate on and comprehend spoken language when presented rapidly Difficulty orally expressing concepts that they seem to understand Difficulty speaking grammatically correct English Difficulty following or having a conversation about an unfamiliar idea Trouble telling stories in sequence Difficulty following oral or written directions
Slide 13 - Mathematical Skills Incomplete mastery of basic facts Reverse numbers (e.g., 123 to 321) Confused by symbols, especially + and x Copy problems incorrectly from one line to another Difficulty recalling the sequence of operational concepts Difficulty comprehending word problems Difficulty understanding key concepts and applications to aid problem solving
Slide 14 - Organizational and Study Skills Difficulty with organizational skills Time management difficulties Slow to start and complete tasks Inability to recall what has been taught Lack of effective notetaking abilities Difficulty interpreting charts or graphs Inefficient use of library or reference materials Difficulty studying for and taking tests
Slide 15 - Attention and Concentration Trouble sustaining attention on school-related tasks Fluctuating attention span/easily distracted by outside stimuli Difficulty juggling multiple tasks and overloads quickly
Slide 16 - ADHD signs in adults: doesn’t remember being told things saying things without thinking “zoning out” in conversations problems dealing with frustration trouble getting started on a task underestimating time needed to complete a task leaving a mess and being disorganized forgetting special dates, meetings or always being late not finishing a project.
Slide 17 - ADHD cont’d as many as 30% to 70% of children with AD/HD may continue to experience symptoms of AD/HD as an adult. It can be difficult to spot AD/HD in adults because the symptoms are often mistaken for other things, like a stressful lifestyle, substance abuse or psychological problems. AD/HD is not often recognized in adults until they seek help with one of these conditions.
Slide 18 - Things to remember: Learning disabilities can affect the way in which a person takes in, remembers, understands and expresses information. People with learning disabilities are intelligent and have abilities to learn despite difficulties in processing information. Living with a learning disability can have an ongoing impact on friendships, school, work, self-esteem and daily life. People with learning disabilities can succeed when solid coping skills and strategies are developed.
Slide 19 - LD’s can affect all areas of one’s life: Academics Organization and Focus Social Life Physical Interaction With the World
Slide 20 - Access of students with learning disabilities to postsecondary education Partners: Audrey Penner, Holland College Joanne McCabe, UPEI Webster Centre- Accessibility Services Lori McCarthy, LD Association of PEI Jason Doiron, Psychology Dept. UPEI
Slide 21 - Research aims of this study: collect and connect knowledge on barriers facing students with learning difficulties and their instructors provide educators with useful strategies for improving access and success for students. connect learning difficulties to other life needs and issues
Slide 22 - Stage 1: Interviews UPEI students with LD: 7 UPEI professors: 7 Holland College students with LD/ learning challenges: 7 Holland College instructors: 7
Slide 23 - Interviews 1. For students: what are the positive and negative experiences you have had as a person with a learning challenge? 2. For instructors: What is it like to have a student with learning challenges in your class? How have you adapted your teaching for this?
Slide 24 - Results: University students Many rely on the Accessibility Services office and this experience has supported them greatly However, many students still do not like to ask professors for extra support They want to be assessed like other students Extreme determination to be self-sufficient Rely on support from family and friends
Slide 25 - University professors Difference between LD and ACE students Adaptations are taken care of by Accessibility Services Variance in ownership taken by professors Adaptation of teaching? Variance in personal contact with students with LD Personal experience
Slide 26 - Themes and questions Ownership Stigma Assessment services School experience Role of the university and community college Outside influences Future opportunities Carryover into next generations
Slide 27 - Recommendations Earlier assessment and identification in schools Connection between parents and children Integration of education and health, community care and support More technological support Closer look at teaching and personal support Length of time in program; economic support Transitioning to life Opportunities to support others
Slide 28 - Recommendations for university: Get to know students Be open to their needs Ask them what they need first Incorporate a variety of instructional approaches Make learning real Engage students Acknowledge and celebrate connections between subject areas
Slide 29 - Recommendations cont’d Don’t see the arts as a default for students who have difficulty Tell students why they are learning this topic Bring the ‘lab’ into class Don’t underestimate students Teach to learning styles Accommodations are meant to level the playing field not advantage some over others Make it easy for students to use technology in class and outside of class
Slide 30 - Teaching strategies: What do students with LD’s need? specific skill instruction; the development of compensatory strategies; the development of self-advocacy skills; mentoring; appropriate accommodations.
Slide 31 - Suggestions for College Students: If you know you have a Learning Disability, and you have documentation: meet with the Disability Services Program Advisor and the Coordinator, and talk to your instructors before the term begins. If you think you may have a learning disability, but aren't sure, contact the Disability Services Office. Set realistic goals and priorities for coursework. Keep only one calendar with all relevant dates, assignments and appointments. Use a tape recorder during lectures. Selectively tape record key points using the "pause" switch.
Slide 32 - Student suggestions cont’d Sit toward the front of the classroom to maximize your contact and to reduce distractions. Listen to the tape or review notes as soon as possible after class to refresh your memory and to fill in any gaps. Estimate how long a given class assignment will take, generally planning on 2-3 hours outside of class for every hour in class. Build in study breaks; fatigue is a big time waster. Make notes of any questions you might have so they can be answered before the next exam. If you are having trouble or feel overwhelmed, seek help before you fall behind in your work.
Slide 33 - Accommodations for Learning Disabilities in Postsecondary Schools: Extended time for tests, exams Reduced course load Course counselling Taped texts Reading scanner for print material Voice output computer Reader (support person) Scribe for oral work (support person) Specialized organizational tour Tape recording of lectures
Slide 34 - Presentation: Provide on audio tape Provide in large print Reduce number of items per page or line Provide a designated reader Present instructions orally
Slide 35 - Response: Allow for verbal responses Allow for answers to be dictated to a scribe Allow the use of a tape recorder to capture responses Permit responses to be given via computer Permit answers to be recorded directly into test booklet
Slide 36 - Timing: Allow frequent breaks Extend allotted time for a test
Slide 37 - Setting: Provide preferential seating Provide special lighting or acoustics Provide a space with minimal distractions Administer a test in small group setting Administer a test in private room or alternative test site
Slide 38 - Test Scheduling Administer a test in several timed sessions or over several days Allow subtests to be taken in a different order Administer a test at a specific time of day
Slide 39 - Other Provide special test preparation** Provide on-task/focusing prompts Provide any reasonable accommodation that a student needs that does not fit under the existing categories
Slide 40 - Assistive technology** Word processing softwareeg Co-writer Voice recognition softwareeg. Dragon naturally speaking Text-to-speech softwareeg. Kurzweil Visual mapping software eg. Inspiration
Slide 41 - What can all students benefit from? Learning styles** Variety of teaching, learning modes Variety of assessment tools: assessment should tie directly to learning goals Model appropriate skills Let students teach Encourage and reward student collaboration One-on-one conferencing Bloom’s taxonomy**
Slide 42 - Organized syllabus Organized class: outline at beginning Student engagement in class: lecturing is frequently boring Visuals to enhance concepts Smaller classes; smaller groups Cross-curricular connections Connection to everyday life, careers
Slide 43 - Ask students for midterm evaluations More labs, demonstrations, think experiments Merging art with science Hands-on whenever possible Incorporate movement within the class Change up groups; develop meaningful groupings
Slide 44 - Divide up long classes into meaningful chunks Introduce and conclude discussion for each topic Connect and ask students to volunteer connections between different concepts Invite and encourage divergent interpretations, esp. those you don’t hold Develop relationships with students Invite students to bring their own expertise and outside research into class
Slide 45 - Things to remember: In 2001, a substantially smaller proportion of working-age Canadians with disabilities (38%) than without disabilities (48%) had some postsecondary education. only 11% of working-age Canadians with disabilities graduated from university compared to 20% of those without disabilities.
Slide 46 - Some great websites: www.ldac-taac.ca www.ldonline.org www.ldao.ca www.ldapei.ca Thank you! cdigiorgio@upei.ca