Early learning disabilities is a major condition affecting children from a young age. This condition can affect the child’s social life upbringing. Most scholars have explained that early intervention can reverse the condition. There is need for the parents to monitor their child’s developmental behavior and provide early intervention. In the following essay, the learning disabilities are going to be discussed and the role of parents and contribution of teachers in correcting them.
The causative factors are also going to be analyzed and how the human services department should handle such cases. Early learning disabilities develop in childhood where children lack essential skills such as proper reading, writing, listening, speaking understanding amongst others. They have problem with keeping, processing or retrieving information. It is common to find that in some situations it goes undetected. Other people develop a learning disability when it comes to being taught a second language.
According to Peoples (2000), these are skills imparted at the elementary stage of education. Children who have been given a good basic foundation from a younger age tend to develop sharper skills as they grow older as compared to those who lacked a good basic education. It is a common experience to isolate and look down upon those with learning disabilities. These people feel alone and are shy to mingle with others because there is a fear of being laughed at. Contrary to what many people believe, having a learning disability does not mean that one has a low in intelligent quotient (IQ).
Research has shown that many learning disabled children in fact have an IQ of over 70% (Levine1994). The bad news about learning disabilities is that it will limit someone from fully exposing their capabilities. Those with an IQ lower than 70% are regarded as mentally retarded. Although psychologists at school, clinics or the neuropsychiatric are involved in identifying these learning disabilities in children, they can be identified as early as before the school-going age by the parents. Parents should ensure that their children receive the best of education at the elementary stage of learning.
Ways of identifying learning disabilities include testing students from what they have been taught and assessing their response. In my view, however, this can lead to misjudgment because some students would fail exams out of failure to revise rather than inability to understand. Then there are those students who are rude in that they would not want to read after the teacher. Can this be classified as a disability? Other methods of testing disabilities in learning include aptitude tests,observing social interaction, intelligence tests and class participation.
It is common to find students with a different level of understanding of the subjects taught in class. Some have a general disability of understanding to all subjects, others are poor in mathematics (dyscalculia), others in reading (dyslexia) while others in writing (dysgraphia) (Levine 1994). It is important to know the causative factors of early learning disabilities so as to understand the reasons why they occur. Some researches has linked early learning disabilities to genetic factors. This means that it can be found within a family group by nature and so little can be done about it.
The behavior or conditions affecting the mother during pregnancy can also cause the early learning abilities. It has been found that an expectant mother on alcohol or abusing drugs tend to give birth to children who are inactive and slow learners. Accidents during pregnancy or any form of trauma can affect the mental development of the growing child. To add on this the exposure that one gets during birth, for example, chemicals or drugs or delayed labor can affect the child’s growth. Some factors are behavioral, where a child grows up with no interest to learn new things.
With time ,it is found out that he becomes a slow learner. There has been an argument concerning gender. Some researches conducted claim that boys are at higher chance of developing learning disabilities than girls (Coutinho & Oswald, 2005). However, this has been disputed, by teachers stating that the ratio of boys to girls with learning disabilities is the same and variations occur on the kind of learning disability (Bandian, 1999). In my own view I think research should concentrate more on the causative factors that can be dealt with rather than what little can be done about.
For example, it is not expected that parents should now start giving birth to girl children only, so as to reduce the expenses of raising a disabled child. A majority of causative factors could be societal. Various studies have shown that, the environment that children grow up in, will influence their abilities to develop the basic skills. According to Margai and Henry (2003) learning disabilities is more common in children from poor backgrounds and those living in polluted areas and attending public schools.
Most of these children are brought up with parents who have low education and most of the time depend on charity and welfare for their basic needs other than on employment. Obviously, when accustomed to the same kind of testing with upper class children, they will show low intelligence ability. Then children brought up in war places or an environment with a high rate of criminal activities tend to miss out on developing the cognitive abilities. Take for example, a student whose parent has been jailed for a long time. He might be affected emotionally and develop trauma which can slow down the cognitive abilities.
However, these authors fail to point out that some children grow up in poverty situations but they grow up to become some of the world’s greatest and sharpest people. This is because they see their poverty situation as a motivational tool to work hard and rescue themselves from it. Moreover, these parents may sort welfare assistance so as to put their children in schools that can give them a better education. Learning disability can also affect children who are receiving treatment for chronic conditions like leukemia, asthma, among others. Most schools have developed measures of addressing poor learning abilities.
Special classrooms have been kept aside for those with learning disabilities where trained personnel, special equipment and a breakdown of syllabus are used to teach them. Practice is needed for a child to develop a particular skill and it is best when introduced early in life. Despite the fact that this can be taught later in life, the concerned child learns a step behind his peers and so children of the same age will tend to have a different grasp of knowledge making them unable to talk or share together. Moreover, the disabled child may just perform poorly in class in case he/she is subjected to the same examination as the abled child.
Several authors have described intervention methods to early learning disabilities which can be given at the school-based or parent-based (LD online 2008). This include the art of mastering, where the student learn at their own level of understanding things rather than with others of their same age. A teachers should never move to the next topic before ensuring that all the students have understood the current topic. It should be ensured that fundamental skills are gained before moving to the next level. They also need to practice frequently on whatever they learn in order to master this.
The instruction given in class should be direct and lesson plans should be in scripted form. Too many instructions should never be given at once. Instead they should be broken down one at a time. The teachers should ensure they are at the same pace with the students and emphasize on the important lessons. Mistakes made should be corrected immediately before the student grasps the wrong content. It is also important to ensure special sitting arrangement so that we have those with shortsighted problems sitting in front rows of the classroom.
Progressive assessments should be carried out frequently followed by revision as this enables the student to understand the wrong areas and work to avoid the same mistake. With time the content sticks to their memory. Some need special equipment, like electronic dictionaries and spellers especially those that are weak in language, note takers for those slow in writing amongst other special tools (Vadasy, Sanders, & Peyton, 2005). Teachers should also calculate the act of time and patience to these students to give them morale and interest in learning.
According to Thompson (2005), too much pressure in children from both the parents and the teachers to achieve academically can lead to disinterest in learning. It has also been discovered that students with learning disabilities tend to pick up on bad behaviors like bullying, drug abuse, school dropout to join thuggery gangs amongst other vices. Teachers and parents should encourage the students to work hard and also participate actively in other areas of interest like sports and music. Public schools should appreciate that students have different learning abilities and each one of them is entitled to understand whatever they are taught.
Jitendra, Edwards, Starosta, Sacks, Jacobson,& Choutka, 2004), So they should provide for special learning to students who lag behind, for example, by giving them extra tuition hours. There is the aspect of teachers and parents collaborating so as to give the best care to the disabled students but it is observed that most of the time they conflict instead. Parents accuse teachers of grouping there children in lower grades than they deserve or judging them harshly. Others complain of the teachers administering more difficult assignments than there children can handle without bothering if the student understands.
Moreover, some parents do not go well with the idea of paying an extra amount of fees so that the child is bought for special equipment for use. On the other hand the teachers accuse the parents of not being of good assistance to their children with school work while at home. As it is described on LD on lie (2008), parent need to build and maintain a good relationship with the teachers of their children. This will assist the teachers in supporting the children in the best way they can out of their own will. One way of doing this is by the teachers providing a daily or a weekly assessment of the child and giving it top the parent.
The specific area where the problem lies can then be easily identified. Then parents and teachers should understand that children are very sensitive and words like ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb’ or ‘lazy’ should not be used to refer to a child with a learning disability (Levine). This is because the aforesaid child grows up feeling that and this affects his/her social upbringing. Parents and teachers should give encouragement to the students and make them know that they can achieve their dreams with a little more effort at a time.
They should also warn other students from discriminating and humiliating the students with learning disabilities. A high self esteem can make the students overlook their problematic conditions and work to make the best out of them. When discussing about ways to curb the early learning disabilities, early intervention becomes one of the major ways of how to deal with it. This is much achieved by the parents’ help. Early intervention should be administered as early as possible as this will assist the child to develop the cognitive skills required to overcome early learning disabilities.
It is a corrective measure. Parents need to be trained on how to identify such cases in their children. They should not sit back trying to find out why the disorder is existing, instead they should step up and try to find a solution. Consequently they should outsource information on the various methods that are used to intervene. Gortmaker, (2007) describes an experimental analysis that assisted some parents to teach their children to read. It was a reading intervention that consisted of high word overlap and low word overlap. Other methods described included use of cane software that is voice-activated.
The results were positive in that the children learned to read effectively. Kozol (2000) argues that children should not be branded as having some sort of weakness just because of the way they were created. After all, people are not expected to think and act the same. Early intervention involves spending as much time with ones children, being there as they utter their first words, teaching them how to concentrate and how to read. In fact, Peoples (2000) confirms that people can be taught how to read without the intervention of modified expensive equipment.
In case a child is detected with a learning disability the best way is to give full support. It is the duty of the parents to talk to their children and make them understand their learning disability. They should be encouraged to make the best use of other talents that they possess rather than sulk about their disability. Early learning intervention can take place at home or in a day care center. Moreover health practitioners can do it in health departments or in clinics. Still, inn some district schools, there are programmes of early intervention being offered.
To avoid feeling lonely and depressed about the child’s condition, a parent can join support groups that have members of children with learning disabilities. Being a human service practitioner advocates that one has to handle issues that affect the social life individuals in the communities. A major issue of concern can be the early learning disabilities in children. As a human service practitioner, I would advocate for proper upbringing of children. This will concern establishing centers that can provide lessons to parents on how they should interact with their children from birth to adult hood.
This is because parents have become so busy nowadays with work. Such that they allocate little or no time to their children. Such behavior can result to gloomy children who may end up with learning disabilities. Another way is to advise pregnant mothers to refrain from habits that can affect the mental upbringing of children such as smoking and alcohol taking. Moreover they should be visiting the clinics quite often for regular check ups. Social centers where children who have been disabled would be set up where counseling services can be provided in addition to providing resources that can help them in overcoming their conditions.
Tutors that can assist in reading, pronouncing, writing will be required to handle the children according to their conditions and provide to them what they could have lacked in school. Moreover there would be open forums that will assist in self actualization of the students. This will allow them to air their views and encourage each other about their condition. The one important thing to put in mind is ensuring that schools and parents adhere to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004.
An Act that ensures students with disabilities are not discriminated against and that they are given quality education. To add on that, it would be ensured that elementary education is only given by qualified teachers who are patient and know how to impart these basic skills to the children. The making of special equipment should be strictly for aiding those who cannot reverse their state rather than prescribing their use to any child who shows some sign of a disability condition. Despite the belief, of the majority, early intervention through interaction with the child can aid a lot.
Prevention is better than cure, so parents should assist their children early enough before it reaches the stage where they (children) will become unsure of themselves and start getting involved in unwanted behaviors. In conclusion, early learning disabilities should be treated with care. It is a condition that has been found to affect about 10% of the American population(LDW, 2008) It is the pride of parents to see their children excel in life and become the best of what they want to be. Learning disabilities should be tackled as soon as they are noticed.
Although it is sad to know that there is no permanent cure to learning disabilities the children should be encouraged to use other skills that they possess to the best of their advantage. District school systems should be equipped in away as to assist the learning disabled to become achievers rather than discriminating them. Parents also need to form good associations with the teachers and anyone involved with their children’s education. Human resource service practitioners should ensure corrective measures are followed to provide the needed care to the disabled children by pushing for better education systems in the public schools.
Reference List Bandian, N. A. (1999). Reading disability defined as a discrepancy between listening and reading comprehension: A longitudinal study of stability, gender differences, and prevalence. Journal of Learning Disabilities,32(2) 138-148 Coutinho, M. J. & Oswald, D. P. (2005). State variation in gender disproportionally in special education: Finding and recommendations. Remedial and Special Education, 26(1), 7-15 Deeney, T. (2008, March). Coordinating supplemental reading instruction. Intervention in School & Clinic, 43(4), 218-225. Retrieved October 27, 2008, from Academic Search Complete database.
Gortmaker, V. (2007) Improving reading outcomes for children with learning disabilities: Using brief experimental analysis to develop parent- tutoring interventions. Journal of applied behavior analysis 40. 2: 203. Jitendra, A. , Edwards, L. , Starosta, K. , Sacks, G. , Jacobson, L. , and Choutka, C. (2004, September). Early reading instruction for children with reading difficulties: Meeting the needs of diverse learners. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37(5), 421-439. Retrieved October 27, 2008, from Academic Search Complete database. Learning Disabilities/ LD online (2008). Teachers and Parents together.
Retrieved on November 2008 from http://www. ldonline. org Learning Disabilities Worldwide /LDW (2008). About learning disabilities. Retrieved on November 2008 from http://idanatl. org http://www. childdevelopmentinfo. com/learning/learning_disabilities. shtml Levine, M. , (1994). Educational care: A system for understanding and helping children with learning differences at home and in school. Educators publishing service. Kozol, J. (2000). Ordinary resurrections:Children in the years of hope. New York. ISBN051770000x, Peoples, L. , (2000). You can teach someone to read. GloBooks Publishing LLC.