There are many similarities from chapter 5 to 12 that deal with a variety of learning difficulties. For the teacher in a practical setting, these similarities have implications for assisting students with difficulties outside of the norm. It is the opinion of the writer that the teacher needs to do the following; observation, assessment, adapting to the individual, communication and the need for inclusiveness for the disabilities mentioned.
Many students will be formally assessed before entering an educational facility however there may be cases when a student has a condition that has not been noticed by the family. In other cases the student may be diagnosed but shows signs of other conditions or has changed their condition has changed dramatically because of medication or environmental changes. For example a student with Asperger’s Syndrome may also show signs of emotional disorders. A teacher must be aware of the signs that a student may have learning difficulties outside of their condition. This could include signs of misbehaviour, hearing difficulties or students have difficulties retaining information as just a few examples.
The teacher in cooperation with the school staff and family may make an informal assessment of the student in cases where it is obvious that the student may be underperforming. For example a student that has difficulty hearing the teacher may be informally assessed for a hearing problem and that there is a communication difference that will impact upon the student’s growth. (Emerick & Haynes, 1986) This can then be formally assessed by a professional for the actual diagnosis.
3. Adapting to the individual
There will be all kinds of students that will need attention however many students such as those with different types of disability will require not only a different curriculum but will also need to be included in the classroom activities. The individual’s curriculum will need to be considered by other people apart from the teacher including family and other health professionals such as speech pathologists and doctors. Furthermore in the classroom there will need to be changes. A student with a speech disorder may be paired with another student with good communication skills who is willing to help the student with their speaking difficulties and Braille. Students may help a physically disabled student with their wheel chair or aided communication.
Communication with the student, parents, professionals and other students is of the utmost importance when working with students. For example a student with a hearing problem must learn to communicate differently by using other ways such as aided, unaided communication and sign language. The teacher must communicate with parents and professionals about medical issues, communication aids and many other issues. The classroom communication will be different for a person with hearing difficulties and the teacher will need to be clearer with the students and the class for doing activities.
5. The need for inclusiveness
A common theme in all the chapters was the need to consider a number of other people and professions. Any person with a disability or learning difficulty has needs that are outside of those of other students. For example a person with autism has medical needs and therefore collaboration with the parents is very important for monitoring the behaviour of the student and communication. (Smith, Polloway, Patten & Dowdy, 2008)
Emerick, L.L & Haynes, W (1986) Diagnosis and Evaluation in Speech Pathology. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Smith, Polloway, Patton & Dowdy (2008) Teaching Students With Special Needs