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4 Reading Tips for Students from a Real Author

Rick Riordan, author of novels about Percy Jackson, an ADHD and dyslexic character and father to an ADHD and dyslexic son, has a lot of experience working with students with learning disabilities.

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Rick has turned his story into a five-book series. From all that he has learned from his writings and his experiences with his own son who deals with learning disabilities, Rick has come up with four important tips about helping students with learning disabilities with reading.

Model reading at home

Since children look up to their parents in many things they do, it is important that they set a good example about reading while they are in their homes. If parents can set aside a time where they dedicate to reading, either to their children, or with their children, kids will see that reading is an important thing to do and can be fun, especially with the whole family. It can also be the starting point for great discussions or talks.

Match your children with the right books

Each child has their own set of interests and hobbies. It is important to let them pick and choose the types of reading material they want to read. By taking note on what they are interested in, you can discover new reading material that will keep your kids engaged and interested in reading.

Create a productive environment for reading

While children are reading, they should be focused on the task at hand. Many children with ADHD and other learning disabilities can focus better when there are fewer distractions, but a simple object, like a stress ball or eraser. It is also important to help them find a comfortable spot, like on a sofa or in the backyard where they can enjoy the area around them.

Most importantly, keep the long view

Having learning disabilities may bring up some obstacles, but should not shut down any dreams or goals for students with them. There are so many examples of very successful people with ADHD and dyslexia, among other disabilities. Staying focused and continuing reading can help these students learn and grow!

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Specific Learning Disabilities – Differences with Students

As a teacher, trying to understand and implement strategies for a student on an IEP(Individualized Education Plan) indicating the child has a specific learning disability (SLD) is like reading an essay written in a foreign language.  This is one of the catch-all terms for students who have learning disabilities that can affect their ability to listen, think, read, write, spell, and complete mathematical questions.  The wide variety of issues a student may have under the umbrella term of SLD makes it difficult to determine the correct classroom strategies that should be implemented.  Sometimes the IEP is helpful in providing goals and strategies that the student should aim to achieve.  This information can provide insight as to where the student struggles and what strategies should be implemented.  Unfortunately, on some IEPs, the information is very vague and it will take time to determine strategies to help the student to be academically successful.

classroom

Many students who are classified as having a SLD have dyslexia, dysgraphia, or dyscalculia.  Dyslexia makes it difficult for a student to read, dysgraphia makes it difficult for a student to write, and dyscalculia makes it difficult for students to compute math problems.  Many times, these issues are compounded with other disabilities including ADD or ADHD.

One resource that can help a teacher with students who are diagnosed with SLD would be the Learning Disability Association of America site.  On this site, there is a specific section for teachers.  This page provides information and articles about LD, ADHD, social aspects of the disability, and reading strategies for the classroom.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities also has a page on their site directly for teachers.  This site provides information to support effective teaching strategies, monitoring the progress of the students, and Universal Design for Learning.  All three of these sections contain supporting articles written about the hot topics in teaching students with learning disabilities.  One article I found interesting was about how tweens with learning disabilities have a difficult time mastering the challenge curriculum where higher-order processing skills needed.  This article breaks down a study that was completed on this topic, and includes the teaching techniques and strategies as well as outlining the findings.  The recommendations  provided were to break down the steps of the tasks the students must complete, provide repetition, small group instruction, modeling when appropriate, and providing multiple exposures to the material (drill, repeat, practice, repeat, review).  The articles provided on this website offer a depth of research-based materials for implementation into many different special education classroom settings.

The website Great Schools has an interesting article about assistive technology for students with Learning Disabilities.  They suggest the implementation of simple technology such as online learning programs like Learning Today or the use of an electronic dictionary to help a student with spelling.  For all of the technologies that they list as good tools for students with learning disabilities, there is a link to another short article describing the tool and the classroom uses.

All of these resources can help teachers to implement strategies for success with students with specific learning disabilities.  Understanding the deficit and then providing the student with the tools they need to be successful will make the school year gains increase for the student.

Article By Laura Ketcham

Picture By woodleywonderworks

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Learning in All Ways – Students with Learning Disabilities

Even though they may not have all the supplies and budgets needed to start up a program, Pam Kortum and the St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association definitely possess the passion needed to make a change in the lives of students with disabilities.

As the parent of two children with learning disabilities, Pam spent years trying to find a place in St. Louis that would be appropriate for her own children, until she decided to start her own. They offer a range in programs and there is information for parents, training for teachers and help for students of all ages.

These services would be useful for parents or teachers who have never dealt with students with disabilities and may not know the appropriate way to handle a situation, react or deal with the children. They even offer services for students in college who may need help staying on top of their course load.

With an early childhood outreach program, students can receive tutoring and speech help from staff and also language evaluations. These services are a way for students to learn that there is nothing wrong with having a learning disability and that there are ways and people that are willing to help you get through them.

This program is a great example of showing kids that they can do anything they set their mind to, even if they have some obstacles in the way. With the support and efforts from the St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association, those students can find their way in doing so.

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