Learning Disabilities: The Importance of Obtaining an Official Diagnosis

A diagnosis by a psychologist who is an expert in the field of Learning Disabilities is needed as it would provide an official diagnosis. Such a diagnosis would not only identify learning problems but it would also entitle a student to receive special accommodations – accommodations that could involve:

  • in-school remedial services;
  • a reduced workload;
  • extended time for exams;
  • oral exams for those with written communication difficulties;
  • permission for the older students to use note-takers or record classes.

This assistance would be applicable throughout a student’s academic career and this includes his/her college and university studies as well.

Learning Difficulties – When to Start Remediation

As the demands for testing children with learning problems are heavy, it could take many months or even more than a year before a student is evaluated. Consequently, it is not advisable to wait for an official diagnosis before starting remediation.

In fact, remediation in the hands of an effective tutor should be started as soon as its need is evident – even at the pre-school level if necessary. For tips on choosing a tutor go to www.abcofreading.com, blog # 10.

Remedial Reading – Syllabication

Remedial Reading  – Syllabication

Syllabication is the process of dividing a word into its parts. This process makes it easier to read challenging multi-syllable words.

A syllable is a word or part of a word that has a vowel that can be heard. For instance:

  • pet has one vowel and therefore is a one syllable word;
  • boat has two vowels but as only the ‘o’ is sounded, it is a one syllable word;
  • contain has three vowels but as only the ‘o’ and ‘a’ are sounded, it is a two syllable word – con/tain.

Syllabication tends to be the bane of weak readers be they 8 or 80.

As there are many exceptions to the syllabication patterns, the objective is to teach the concept that words that can be divided into parts rather than stressing particular patterns.

For exercises that allow students to grasp the concept of syllabication, you can refer to the Darwin the Dragon Reading Program or prepare your own.

Syllabication should be introduced when the student starts to encounter multisyllable words.

Side Note: As the Program also accommodates adults, it has two sets of teaching instructions as well as two titles – the one mentioned above and the Vowel First Method.

Remedial Reading: Parental Participation – Help or Hindrance

  • Parental tutoring should only be carried out if the sessions rarely result in unduly stress and frustration for either the child or parent. The reasoning here is that negative emotions not only inhibit learning but, more significantly, they can also affect the child/parent relationship.

    Therefore, if parental tutoring isn’t going well an alternative approach should be considered. For instance, parents could:

    • hire a tutor – see blog entry 10 for tips on choosing a tutor;
    • look into having a trained school volunteer assist their child;
    • use the services of a reputable learning centre;
    • consider linking up with parents whose child also has a learning problem and tutor each other’s children.

Parents as tutors

 

Incidentally, a child’s limited progress doesn’t rest on his shoulders but on the shoulders of the teaching system. A system where far too many teachers graduate from university without sufficient knowledge on how to assist students with persistent learning problems and where the some teachers aren’t keeping up with their professional development..

The next posting will address tips on choosing a tutor.