Successful Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities

Teacher working closely with young studentResearch continues to confirm that we can teach students with learning disabilities to “learn how to learn.” We can put them into a position to compete and hold their own.

Some intervention practices that produce large outcomes are:

  • direct instruction;
  • learning strategy instruction; and
  • using a sequential, simultaneous structured multi-sensory approach.

Teachers who apply those kinds of intervention:

  • break learning into small steps;
  • administer probes;
  • supply regular, quality feedback;
  • use diagrams, graphics and pictures to augment what they say in words;
  • provide ample independent, well-designed intensive practice;
  • model instructional practices that they want students to follow;
  • provide prompts of strategies to use; and
  • engage students in process type questions like “How is the strategy working? Where else might you apply it?”

Scaffolding is also something that seems to make a real difference. Start out with the teacher using heavily mediated instruction, known as explicit instruction, then slowly begin to let the students acquire the skill, moving towards the goal of student mediated instruction.

Success for the student with learning disabilities requires a focus on individual achievement, individual progress, and individual learning. This requires specific, directed, individualized, intensive remedial instruction for students who are struggling.

Whether the student is in the general education classroom or learning in a special class setting, focus the activities on assessing individual students to monitor their progress through the curriculum. Concerns for the individual must take precedence over concerns for the group or the curriculum or for the organization and management of the general education classroom content.

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  1. Vanessa Finkley says:

    Hi I’m a mom of a 6 year old 1st grader she has had problems since kindergarten with her phonics, and blending sounds.She can’t pass standardized test they labelled her Ld and wanted her in a special ed class,I feel the teacher let her sit in class and not finished work just to push her aside,and this teacher also had 3 other teacher kids in her class so it was no slowing down for her.Please let me know what I could do as a mom she’s going to the 2nd grade but I don’t think she’s ready.

    • LDA of America says:

      You child is very lucky to have a parent, like yourself, that cares about the success of their education. To continue to advocate for your child there a few things that you might want to do to address their struggle with phonics and the blending of sounds. 1. Collaborate with your school and express your concerns about the phonics and blending struggles your daughter is experiencing by contacting the teacher, the school counselor, psychologist or social worker, the principal and/or the school study team. 2. By working with your daughter’s school staff a plan can be created and put in place to help with the phonics and blending struggles. Sometimes this can be accomplished without a formal Individual Education Plan (IEP), however, if you feel that you would like an assessment done please express that need to the individuals you are connecting with so an IEP can be initiated. 3. Go to your district website to find out if there is a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) that you can get in touch with and/or become involved in. 4. Take a few minutes to check out the following website and peruse the section on “Parent Support”.

    • Carmen Heethuis says:

      It is projected that 80% of students in Special education programs who struggle with reading are dyslexic. I highly recommend that you do some research and read up about the signs to be looking for. Research shows that areas of the left hemisphere utilized for reading are not active in individuals with Dyslexia and an intensive multi-sensory program is the most effective way to create new pathways in the brain for learning to read. If the interventions being provided through your special education program are not proving to be effective, it is imperative that you take action for your child. Waiting is not the answer!

  2. I am also a mother to a son with learning difficulties. It gives me great pleasure to learn that there is a chance to assist our children to become more productive adults and to participate in the mainstream economy.

  3. Dr Muhammad Nasir says:

    Thanks for such help. I learnt somewhat on teaching special students.

  4. N.Sankari says:

    Hi my nephew Rohan is 12 yrs old,he is knowledgeable but finds very difficult to frame sentences, ultimately the answer ends meaningless.He is diagnosed as ADHD with LD.
    In what way I can help him in studies? Is there any suggestions?


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