How to make people with learning differences feel equal
Learning disabilities can impair many skills and make various areas of life more challenging. However, this doesn’t mean that individuals with dyslexia and other conditions are less valuable. On the contrary, they can be just as successful, if not more so, than people without these disabilities.
That’s why it’s crucial to help them feel equal to others. This article will tell you how to foster a more inclusive environment.
Understand the crucial details about learning differences
Learning differences include many thinking and learning disorders that influence people’s brains. They keep them from efficiently using, storing, and sending out information.
Some have a specific learning disability, such as trouble with math and writing (dysgraphia). Others might have a condition that affects their learning differently, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which impacts their attention spans.
People can have multiple impairments, making the learning environment more confusing.
There can be several causes of learning difficulties in young people and adults. They’re not always clear, but they usually involve genetics. In other words, a child’s parent may have a similar or the same condition.
Here are a few other risk factors:
Low birth weight
Illness or injury during childhood (lead poisoning, meningitis, head injury)
Once you recognize a grade-schooler, high school student or adult has a disability, you can help them make a difference in their own life.
Many individuals with learning differences have low self-esteem.
In children, this is evident if they stop participating in various activities, including social gatherings, sports practice, and school clubs. Dyslexic kids and students with other impairments are often ashamed to be with other students.
They may believe they’re not as valuable as their peers and think others won’t like them due to their condition. Over time, the sense of shame can cause depression and isolation.
Sometimes, you can boost children’s self-esteem by organizing support groups. These non-judgmental free spaces allow them to openly share their feelings and listen to other children with similar conditions.
If you can’t get an elementary school pupil or college student to open up, try talking to them in a comfortable environment. This can be the library, park, or other places where they normally study or spend most of their time.
Another great idea is to tell success stories. Many successful people have had learning differences, like dyscalculia and autism. They needed extra time to perform various assignments and often required special instructions, such as color coding and nonverbal input.
However, this didn’t stop them from improving their time management, achieving impressive academic performance, or addressing their mental health issues. They elevated their executive functioning to enhance social skills and thrive in their professions.
Tell your children or students about these extraordinary people to show them what’s possible despite their learning differences.
Creating equality in school
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires middle schools and other public institutions to have a universal design for learning. This means all students should have equal opportunities in the classroom, including those with learning differences.
There are many ways to create equality in school, like using multiple modalities during lessons and providing learning support. For instance, if you need your learners to move around the room, clearly define the procedures and goals to give them a sense of direction.
If you play podcasts or other recordings, consider offering outlines for adding notes and sketching visuals while listening. Students who read texts should also be able to use assistive technology to adjust the text size and fonts.
Additionally, be sure to give students in your education programs the option to choose preferable activities. For instance, they can practice in groups, do role-plays, answer questions independently, or receive feedback during guided practice.
Carry this flexibility over to other areas, including their demonstration of comprehension. Students could construct models, create posters, write papers, do presentations, or make videos to show they understand a concept.
You can also offer more choices beyond instructions:
Letting students choose quieter areas of the classroom for finishing assignments
Sitting at a specific table for group work
Watching a video on a computer
Reading digital textbooks
Printing assistive worksheets
Making these choices enables students to relate to your content better, increasing their engagement and productivity.
When implementing your equality strategies, don’t just consider students under your individualized education program (IEP). It would be best if you also extended the accommodations to other learners, especially those that frequently use them.
For instance, your students may need a copy of your notes. You can use Google Classroom or Blackboard to post assignments and presentations, allowing your students to access them easily. Likewise, learners who struggle to take notes or lose their copies can retrieve them within seconds.
Inclusion in society
Besides school, individuals with learning differences also face exclusion in other areas of life. They may deem themselves unworthy of certain professions, as they believe they’re not as smart as others.
In these situations, encouragement is paramount. Many people with learning conditions have above-average intelligence and problem-solving skills that can help them thrive in many fields and have more diverse careers.
For example, you can encourage your learners to become musicians despite their impairments. Many assistive technologies can help them polish their skills in a safe environment, like playing instruments on iPads and computers.
The same goes for your drama lessons. Rather than limit students with conditions to roles that depict disabilities, let them showcase their personalities by playing the same parts as other actors.
Alleviate certain symptoms with Speechify
Cutting-edge technology can work wonders for people with learning differences. Speechify is a great example.
This text to speech (TTS) app can improve reading comprehension by reading aloud documents, articles, and other learning materials. The voices are immersive and help the listeners focus on the meaning of the content. Over time, this can help people develop and elevate critical language skills.
How do people with learning difficulties feel?
People with learning difficulties often feel less worthy than others. They have low self-esteem, so they’re more likely to fall behind in school.
How do you overcome learning disabilities?
You can help people overcome their learning disabilities by creating equal learning and job opportunities. Using technology and advice from non-profit organizations can also be a great idea.
How do people learn?
People learn in different ways. For instance, some learn through visual input, whereas others learn by listening to the content.