I wrote most of these articles and conference reports while I was doing my M.Ed.(CI). Originally put up on the website TeachAsiaOnline.com (defunct since 2009), I have decided to archive them here as I think most of the information is still relevant and useful for others. (2012) I'm now picking up where I left off to write about more recent seminars I attended.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Intervention Strategies for LD Students

Speaker: Mack L. Bowen, Ph.D., Illinois State University
Organised by: Srinakarin Wiroj University, Bangkok
Date: 7 October 2005
Location: Srinakarin Wiroj University, Bangkok

Summary
Dr. Bowen started his lecture with an overview and definition of LD (learning disability). In the US LD refers to children “…who have a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in the understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations.”


Applying this definition, about 4-5% of the children has LD, which means that every teacher may have an LD child in each class.

The major learning problems for LD children are:
  1. Memorising words or basic facts
  2. Short attention span
  3. Organising and sequencing work.
Problems manifest themselves in early childhood, oral language, reading, writing, mathematical and social/emotional difficulties.

Teachers can help children with LD through:
  1. Applying the Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotski) to each student: give each student a challenging, but not too difficult learning objective and help him/her get there.
  2. Instructional accommodations: change the education program (through e.g. scaffolding, changing materials), but not the level of mastery. LD students will learn as much as the other students.
  3. Instructional modifications: change the education program including curriculum and assessment. LD students will learn LESS than the other students.
  4. Learning strategies instruction.
Dr. Bowen subsequently discussed 5 of the problem areas mentioned above (early childhood, oral language, reading, writing and mathematical difficulties). They consist of long lists with the problem indicators (how do you know the child has LD in this area) and intervention strategies to be applied in each area.
Most strategies focus on a great variety and repetition of activities catering for a variety of senses.

Reflections
Many of these strategies would benefit every language student, not only LD students!

For example, some oral language problem indicators are:
  • Words formed poorly - mis-articulations
  • One-word responses - lack of sentence structure
  • Difficulty forming questions etc.
Oral language strategies are:
  • Provide a wide range of listening activities
  • Provide practice in naming objects
  • Encourage child’s natural language expansion (longer answers to questions)
  • Build child’s speaking vocabulary etc.
A lot of the problems (except for the attention problems) and solutions for language students are similar to students with LD. The difference is that LD students have these problems with their first language, language students with their second language.

(c) cafavier, 2005-2011

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