Developmental, Intellectual, and Learning Disabilities

By Sarah Lawrence

This week I learned a lot about students with LD.  LD students are students who have a learning disability.  This disability usually affects and limits the child's intellectual functions and adaptive behavior.  Students may struggle only in certain areas while doing fine in others, and to reach these trouble areas the teacher will have to find a different method of teaching.  The student has no control over their limitations because the causes of their case were out of their hands; such as pregnancy issues, problems at birth, exposure to toxins, and health problems.  The child's environment, social group, and culture also play a factor. Usually children before the age of 5 are more susceptible to LD, and most people are diagnosed as being LD before age 18. Some of the ways the student is diagnosed is by IQ tests and being compared to peers.  If the child has an IQ score between 70-75 they are generally labeled LD.  To teach students who are LD, teachers need to be flexible and creative.

Teachers also need to be creative when it comes to working with children with Down Syndrome.  DS is not a natural illness because the child is born with an extra 21 chromosome.  They think and feel just as much or more than the average student.  They want to be like their peers, but require a slower path to get there.  We need to help, but not baby, them so that they can be the best that they can.  Research shows that children with DS can live full lives.

Should I have a student with LD or DS in my class I plan to use 3 methods for accommodating them:

1. Buddy System- providing a friend for the student gives them a sense of belonging and will help them to grow with their peers.

2.  Hands on Learning- instead of just listening to me talk, allow the student to learn by using flashcards and tangible objects.

3. Slow it Down-  Do not expect them to be as fast as their peers, but allow them the time they need, within reason, to catch on and grasp the lesson.

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