What is a Learning Disability?

The term learning disability (LD) refers to a particular brain functioning due to neurobiological factors.  LD gets manifested in language, speech, mathematical or motor skills. It’s not due to any reliably demonstrable physical or neurological defect. Of these types of problem, the best known and most widely researched are a variety of reading and writing difficulties known collectively as dyslexia. In dyslexia, an individual manifests problem in word recognition, reading comprehension and spelling. Children with a reading disability routinely add, omit and distort familiar words, and their reading lacks accuracy and fluency.

Children with learning disabilities are initially identified as such because of an apparent disparity between their expected academic achievement level and their actual academic performance in one or more school subjects such as math, spelling, writing or reading. They do not have obvious emotional problems, nor do they seem to be lacking in motivation, cooperativeness or eagerness to please their teachers and parents at least at the outset of their formal education. Nevertheless, they are at risk of failing profoundly after much effort and persistence.

The consequences of the encounters between LD children and school systems can be disastrous to a child’s self- esteem and general psychological wellbeing.

But there is also a brighter side to this picture. High levels of general talent, good teaching methodologies and motivation to overcome the obstacle of a learning disorder sometime produce a life of extraordinary achievement.

What is Direct Instruction (DI) and the Effectiveness of DI model on the student’s Academic Performance and Learning Outcome?

Direct Instruction (DI) is one of the best models that is widely used with children with Learning Disabilities. Before placing a student at a particular program, a DI placement test is administered. It’s a comprehensive test which helps the educator to clearly understand the needs of the student without guess work. In this program, students are not placed at the grade level but performance level. The program is carefully designed at an incremental increase which helps students gain fluency and automaticity over a particular concept. This one-on-one method creates high interaction between teachers and students which in turn gives a clear indication to the tutor that the student has understood a concept thoroughly. In DI method, students are taught the strategies in a meaningful sequence which helps them retain and reproduce the information over time. There is no rote learning at any point of time. Another advantage of DI is that the program formats are carefully scripted, thereby limiting confusion and distraction.

Thorough review helps the tutors understand the performance levels of the students. An overall DI program not only lays foundation for increasing knowledge but also teaches appropriate skills and confidence to help the child perform better in any challenging situation, thereby enabling them to have a positive self- esteem.

If your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability, please get in touch with us for guidance and assistance.

Contributed by Vaishnavi Ilango

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