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Learning Disabilities


Learning Disabilities Victoria Smith & Jason Harnett Adapted Physical Education What is a learning disability? Professionals are unable to agree on one specific ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Learning Disabilities

Learning Disabilities Victoria Smith Jason
Harnett Adapted Physical Education
What is a learning disability?
  • Professionals are unable to agree on one specific
    definition of a learning disability or LD. What
    experts do agree on is that this group does not
    learn for a variety of reasons.
  • Many believe that children with LD have a
    neurological disorder that results in problems in
    storing, processing, and producing information in
    the central nervous system, thus causing a
    deficit in understanding spoken or written words.
  • Individuals with LD often have an imperfect
    ability to listen, think, speak, read, write,
    spell, calculate mathematical equations, or motor

Lets break it down into simple terms
The IDEA defines a learning disability
as Specific learning disability means a
disorder in one or more of the basic
psychological processes involved in understanding
or in using language, spoken or written, that may
manifest itself in an imperfect ability to
listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do
mathematical calculations. The term includes
such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain
injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and
developmental aphasia. The term does not apply
to children who have a learning problem that are
primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor
disabilities of mental retardation or of
environmental, cultural, or economic
Characteristics of LD
  • Difficulty learning new skills, relying on
  • Trouble learning about time
  • Difficulty remembering facts
  • Confusing basic words (dog, cat, run)
  • Poor coordination, 'accident prone', unaware of
    physical surroundings
  • Having a hard time learning the connection
    between letters and sounds
  • (Phonetics)
  • Spelling and reading errors such as substitutions
    (house/home), letter
  • reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w) and
    transpositions (felt/left)
  • Problems with planning
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Transposes number sequences and confuses
    arithmetic signs

  • Five common learning disabilities include
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Visual Processing Disorders, and
  • Non-verbal learning disabilities.

  • A language-based learning disability
  • Involves a cluster of symptoms resulting in
    difficulty with specific language skills,
    particularly reading.
  • The core difficulty is with word recognition and
    reading fluency, spelling, and writing.
  • Dyslexia is diagnosed in people of all levels of
  • There are no known causes of dyslexia.
  • Most people with dyslexia need help from a
    teacher, tutor, or therapist specially trained in
    using a multisensory, structured language

Dyslexia Empathy Activity You will be given
exactly one minute to read the paragraph on the
following slide. You will then be given two
minutes to answer questions relating to the
excerpt. Ready
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  • Answer the following questions on a blank sheet
    of paper. You will have 2 minutes to complete
    the following questions.
  • What did Bob suggest to do for the day?
  • What were Bob and John searching for in the
  • What was the brand?
  • How did they cook it?

  • Tips to help individuals with dyslexia
  • A student with dyslexia can be given extra time
    to complete tasks, help with taking notes, and
    work assignments that are modified appropriately.
  • Teachers can give taped tests or allow dyslexic
    students to use alternative means of assessment.
  • Students can benefit from listening to books on
    tape, using text reading computer programs, and
    from writing on computers.

  • Dyscalculia
  • Dyscalculia is a term referring to a wide range
    of lifelong learning disabilities involving math.
  • Some warning signs for dyscalculia include
  • Good at speaking, reading, and writing, but slow
    to develop counting and math problem-solving
  • Good memory for printed words, but difficulty
    reading numbers, or recalling numbers in sequence
  • Good with general math concepts, but frustrated
    when specific computation and organization skills
    need to be used
  • Trouble with the concept of time-chronically
    late, difficulty remembering schedules, trouble
    with approximating how long something will take
  • Poor sense of direction, easily disoriented and
    easily confused by changes in routine
  • Poor long term memory of concepts-can do math
    functions one day,
  • but is unable to repeat them the next day
  • Poor mental math ability-trouble estimating
    grocery costs or
  • counting days until vacation
  • Difficulty playing strategy games like chess,
    bridge or role-playing
  • video games

Dyscalculia Empathy Activity Solve the
following math problem. You will be given 2
minutes to complete this task. One day, a person
went to a horse racing area. Instead of counting
the number of humans and horses, he instead
counted 74 heads and 196 legs. How many humans
and horses are there? (No one is missing any
appendages or heads)
  • Dyscalculia
  • Tips to help individuals with dyscalculia
  • Use graph paper for students who have difficulty
    organizing ideas on paper.
  • Work on finding different ways to approach math
    facts i.e., instead of just memorizing the
    multiplication tables, explain that 8 x 2 16,
    so if 16 is doubled, 8 x 4 must 32.
  • Practice estimating as a way to begin solving
    math problems.
  • Introduce new skills beginning with concrete
    examples and later moving to more abstract
  • For language difficulties, explain ideas and
    problems clearly and encourage students to ask
    questions as they work.
  • Provide a place to work with few distractions and
    have pencils, erasers and other tools on hand as

  • Dysgraphia
  • Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects
    writing abilities. It can manifest itself as
    difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting, and
    trouble putting thoughts on paper.
  • Common signs of dysgraphia include
  • Tight, awkward pencil grip and body position
  • Illegible handwriting
  • Avoiding writing or drawing tasks
  • Tiring quickly while writing
  • Saying words out loud while writing
  • Unfinished or omitted words in sentences
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper
  • Difficulty with syntax structure and grammar
  • Large gap between written ideas and understanding
  • demonstrated through speech.

Dysgraphia Empathy Activity On your paper,
re-write the following statement using the pencil
provided and your non-dominant hand. You will be
given one minute to complete this task. Write
neatly!! ? Dysgraphia is a learning disability
that affects writing abilities. It can manifest
itself as difficulties with spelling, poor
handwriting, and trouble putting thoughts on
  • Dysgraphia
  • Tips to help individuals with dysgraphia
  • Use paper with raised lines for a sensory guide
    to staying within the lines.
  • Try different pens and pencils to find one that's
    most comfortable.
  • Practice writing letters and numbers in the air
    with big arm movements to improve motor memory of
    these important shapes. Also practice letters and
    numbers with smaller hand or finger motions.
  • Encourage proper grip, posture and paper
    positioning for writing. It's important to
    reinforce this early as it's difficult for
    students to unlearn bad habits later on.
  • Be patient and positive, encourage practice and
    praise effort - becoming a good writer takes time
    and practice.

  • Visual Processing Disorders
  • A visual processing, or perceptual, disorder
    refers to a hindered ability to make sense of
    information taken in through the eyes. This is
    different from problems involving sight or
    sharpness of vision. Difficulties with visual
    processing affect how visual information is
    interpreted, or processed by the brain.
  • Some visual processing disorders include
  • Visual discrimination
  • The ability to differentiate objects based on
    their individual characteristics
  • Visual Closure
  • The ability to identify or recognize a symbol or
    object when the entire object is not visible
  • Object recognition
  • The ability to consistently recognize letters,
    numbers, symbols, words, or pictures

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  • Visual Processing Disorder
  • For reading
  • Enlarge print for books, paper, and worksheets.
  • Create a window using an index card which can
    be used to block out peripheral material which
    can be distracting while reading.
  • For writing
  • Use paper that structured (dark, bold lines)
  • Paper that is divided into large sections can be
    used for writing math problems
  • Teaching Style
  • Try to avoid the students weakness
  • For example, if you write something on the board,
    verbalize what is being written

  • Non-verbal Learning Disabilities
  • A non-verbal learning disorder (NLD) is a
    neurological syndrome consisting of specific
    assets and deficits.  
  • The assets include
  • Early speech and vocabulary development
  • Remarkable rote memory skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Early reading skills development
  • Excellent spelling skills 
  • Also, these individuals have the verbal ability
    to express themselves eloquently.

  • There are four major categories of deficits and
    dysfunction that also present themselves with
  • motoric (lack of coordination, severe balance
    problems, and difficulties with  graphomotor
  • visual-spatial-organizational (lack of image,
    poor visual recall, faulty spatial  perceptions,
    and problems with spatial relations).
  • social (lack of ability to comprehend nonverbal
    communication, difficulties adjusting to
    transitions and novel situations, and deficits in
    social judgment and social interaction).
  • sensory (sensitivity in any of the sensory modes
    visual, auditory, tactile, taste or olfactory)

Empathy Activity for Non-verbal Learning
Disabilities Any volunteers???
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Slow down instruction
  • Use eye contact to make sure student is engaged
  • Write rules and instructions on the board with
    bold lettering
  • Have students reiterate instructions or rules of
  • Modify equipment to fit the specific LD
  • Practice small games before playing on larger
  • Be visual i.e. Use arrows for receiver patterns
    in football unit
  • Provide many opportunities of differentiated
  • Have students model the skill being learned
  • Humor will lighten anyones anxiety
  • Have a student act out position in a game before
  • Peer partners can be effective
  • Maintain consistent class routines
  • Know your student and build rapport!
  • Be Patient!

Academic Intervention Ideas for Learning
  • Learning Disabilities Facts and Statistics
  • Approximately 5 of all students in the public
    schools have a LD
  • 2.8 million students are currently receiving
    special education services for learning
    disabilities in the United States
  • LD is the most common disability present today
    (80 of all disabilities are LDs)
  • ADD/ADHD is not technically a LD, however, these
    disabilities can coexist
  • 28 of students with a LD drop out of High
  • Children without learning disabilities performed
    at a higher level of efficiency as follows
  • balance (147.7)
  • strength (102.9)
  • upper limb speed and dexterity (81.4)
  • visual-motor control (36.4)
  • bilateral coordination (35.2)
  • upper limb coordination (34.6)
  • running speed and agility (33.3)
  • response speed (23.8).

  • It is important to note the following
  • Most children have difficulty in some areas (i.e.
    reading, writing, speaking) at one time or
    another. Only when these difficulties occur in
    more than one setting, persist over an extended
    time, and interfere with learning do they need
    special attention.
  • A key feature of a learning disability is that an
    educationally significant discrepancy exists
    between estimated intellectual potential and
    actual academic achievement. This discrepancy is
    referred to as Unexpected underachievement
  • A learning disability cannot be caused by
    cultural differences, lack of educational
    opportunities, poverty, or other such conditions.
  • Learning disabilities can coexist with other
    conditions such as ADHD
  • The majority of individuals with LD possess
    normal intelligence, however, their academic
    performance lags behind their peers.
  • Individuals with LD have difficulty learning in
    traditional ways.

As future physical educators, it is vital that we
remember that a learning disability affects how
the individual learns and not how well they
learn. It is up to the teacher to find effective
ways to teach individuals with LD.
Resources Graham, G, Holt/Hale, S, Parker, M
(2007). Children Moving A Reflective Approach to
Teaching Physical Education. New York, NY McGraw
Hill.   Grosshans, J, Kiger, M (2004).
Identifying and Teaching Students with Learning
DIsabilities in a Genaral Physical Education.
JOPERD. 75, 18-21.   LD Basics. Retrieved April
3, 2009, from The World's Leading Website on
Learning Disabilities and ADHD Web site
http//ldonline.org/ldbasics    Ormond, Jeanne
Ellis (2006). Educational Psychology Developing
Learners. Upper Saddle River, NJ Pearson
Education.   Santrock, John W. (2007). A Topical
Approach to Life-Span Development. New York, NY
McGraw Hill.   Winnick, Joseph P. (2005).
Adapted Physical Education and Sport. Champaign,
IL Human Kinetics.   Wright, Jim Academic
Intervention Ideas That Any Teacher Can Use.
Retrieved April 3, 2009, from Intervention
Central Web site http//www.interventioncentral.o
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