Be Sensitive! Struggling Students At Work

Posted by Big Universe on Jan 21, 2012 4:12:13 PM

What is important to know for working more effectively with learning disabled children?

Recently I watched the video, “How Difficult Can This Be?” presented by Richard Lavoie. This is a great professional video that emphasizes the need for us to be much more sensitive to the feelings and perspectives of children with learning disabilities. A few points that I found interesting include: how deficits and differences in visual perception impact students; why student engagement is difficult to achieve and maintain; and how processing delays cause students to become further behind. If you have not seen this video and would like to learn more about how children with learning disabilities struggle, this is definitely one to check-out!

Since watching this video, I’ve noticed just how much more sensitive I am to the students struggling in my classroom. I’ve tried to make every effort to consider my students’ capabilities and weaknesses prior to setting lesson objectives and learning goals. I thought I would share a few questions I often ask myself before planning my reading instruction for my struggling students:

    • At what reading level is this student performing? What reading behaviors are evident and/or lacking?
    • What is the student’s stage of writing and spelling development? How does this information help me understand the student’s stage of reading development?
    • Does this student have an IEP? If so, what are the goals and accommodations? How can I best adjust my instruction to help this student meet his goals?
    • What are the reading strengths/challenges of this student? What reading goals can I help this student set and eventually meet?
    • What reading program is most appropriate for this student at this time in their reading stage of development?
    • What resources do I have that will help this student meet the lesson objective?
    • What is the student’s affective development? Does this student display a weak or strong reader self-concept? Why? How can I help in this area?
    • What strategies do I currently use to work effectively with learning disabled children?
    • How is this student performing in the regular classroom? How can I help bridge the gap between the student’s intervention services and classroom small group instruction?
    • How can I best motivate this student to accomplish his work?
    • What is this student’s level of social and emotional development? How can I use this information to help this student stay focused and on task?

What information is important for you to know prior to working with a student with a learning disability? What strategies do you use that help you work effectively with a struggling student? As we learn to be sensitive to our struggling students, our lesson objectives can be met successfully and our students definitely grow in more ways than one!


Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation, Integration Ideas, Literacy

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