Express an understanding of the characteristics of a typical pupil/student with learning difficulties and outline suitable strategies for optimising their learning.
According to the Special Education Review Committee report, the term special education needs refers to pupils “… whose disabilities and/or circumstances prevent or hinder them from benefiting adequately from the education which is normally provided … or for whom the education which is generally provided in the ordinary classroom is not sufficiently challenging…”(NCCA, 1999, p. 6). As the S.E.R.C. report outlines, the term itself is not easily defined. It incorporates a broad spectrum of educational needs. The special need or learning difficulty I will be discussing in this essay is Dylexia. I am a third class teacher in an all girls school. I have taught a diagnosed dylexic student only once to date and have a student this year who has been referred for assessment, who is showing dylexic tendencies. Dylexia can and often does present many challenges to schools and class teachers when it comes to providing that child with the appropriate education that they are entitled to. One of the main challenges that schools and class teachers face, when dealing with special needs pupils, is the development of a differentiated curriculum for the student. As outlined in the Primary School curriculum, “All children have a right of access to the highest-quality education appropriate to their needs” (Government of Ireland, 1999, p.29). All children are entitled to an education best suited to their needs and teachers and schools need to make sure that each child receives that education. It is vital that schools and teachers work together to alter aspects of the curriculum to cater for the needs of the gifted pupil and provide them with an appropriate curriculum that they can participate in. I am going to discuss what dyslexia is, and how one would recognise a student, who may be having this specific difficulty. I will discuss the results of The Dyslexia TaskForce and some of its helpful findings, and I will also include my short powerpoint presentation on dyslexia.
What Dylexia is and the Characteristics of a Typical Student with Dyslexia
According to the Task Force on Dylexia,‘Dyslexia is manifested in a continuum of specific learning difficulties related to the acquisition of basic skills in reading, spelling and/or writing, such difficulties being unexpected in relation to an individual’s other abilities and educational experiences. Dyslexia can be described at the neurological, cognitive and behavioral levels. It is typically characterised by inefficient information processing, including difficulties in phonological processing, working memory, rapid naming and automaticity of basic skills. Difficulties in organisation, sequencing, and motor skills may also be present.’ (Report of the Task Force on Dyslexia, 2001. pg xii.) I would describe dyslexia as a literacy specific problem. I think it is important to know that it can affect anyone regardless of high or low their IQ, their social background or the quality of education they receive. Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty in classrooms and has been defined across the world in different ways. For example, in 1968, the World Federation of Neurologists defined dyslexia as "a disorder in children who, despite conventional classroom experience, fail to attain the language skills of reading, writing, and spelling commensurate with their intellectual abilities." (Pearlstein, D. 2008a) The U.S. National Institutes of Health, states that ‘dyslexia is a learning disability that can hinder a person's ability to read, write, spell, and sometimes speak.’ (Pearlstein, D. 2008b). The severity of dyslexia has a broad range varing from mild to severe, and can affect students and adults learning abilites in different ways. Although it is...
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