It is known that students with learning disabilities constitute one of the groups of students with special needs. In our case, Ramaal has certain difficulties with his verbal ability, comprehending directions from the teacher and understanding the other children in the pre-school. According to the findings of the pre-school staff, Ramaal has a learning disability. Learning disability has an enormous impact on the child’s life and can be viewed as a life-long challenge. As a rule, learning disabilities lead to the slower development of the child’s academic skills, and his individual development. In order to assist Ramaal, it is necessary to implement the appropriate strategies. As an educational assistant, I recommend to implement a number of strategies, including emotion coping strategies, cognitive strategies and problem-solving strategies.
As learning disabilities create a significant stress in the life of an individual, emotion coping strategies can help Ramaal to control his emotions and behavior. It is necessary to recognize what situations trigger stress in the life of Ramaal, and seek support. In addition, it would be better to keep Ramaal socially active. He should maintain good relationships with his peers. Cognitive strategies will help Ramaal to develop the appropriate reading, writing, comprehension skills. It is recommended to use cooperative learning because this approach encourages students to work together on different academic assignments and achieve success. Moreover, cooperative learning increases interaction between students. Problem-solving strategies are vital as children with disabilities will be able to solve different problems without support and assistance of their parents or educators. Ramaal may benefit from these strategies and approaches because he will be able to see the reaction of other children in the group, their successes and failures, and make decisions without outside help. These strategies should be assessed to ensure that they could be implemented in a successful manner.
Practical Exercise 8.2
It has been found that children with intellectual disabilities are among the most difficult to participate in special programs. Children with intellectual disabilities will learn if they are provided not only with the appropriate program and special teaching strategies oriented to their individual needs, but also the adequate psychological support. In our case, Lily, aged 8, is a student with intellectual disability. She has serious problems with communication. It is known that she is able to say only some words and uses only short sentences to express her ideas. She exhibits a limited vocabulary. In this case, the major goal for Lily is to develop her communication skills. The major strategies to assist children with mental retardation include emotional, cognitive, behavioral and social coping strategies.
As an educational assistant or disability support worker, I will implement these strategies in order to assist Lily in developing her communication skills. The major recommendations for the treatment of communication problems in children with mental retardation or intellectual disability are focused on psychological interventions. Lily will be able to improve her communication skills through special educational training program based on the development of reading abilities. Reading aloud will help Lily to be more confident in what she says, to learn many new words and word combinations, and effectively use them in communication process at school. In addition, language plays an important role in cognitive development and social development of a child. Lily will be able to participate in social activities at school, and succeed in the academic process. Besides the above mentioned facts, it is possible to develop alternative methods of communication, including sign language and picture (or symbol) communication systems.
Practical Exercise 7.1
Gifted students require special strategies that can be used to assist them in the academic process at school. As a rule, they demonstrate superior reasoning powers and have unique problem-solving ability. Gifted students communicate with adults in a mature way, but have difficulties in communicating with age peers. What is more important is that gifted students resist sameness and routine tasks which make them bored. At school, gifted students want to move on quickly to more challenging tasks, despite what the rest of the group is doing. In our case, Nicole has been identified as a gifted student. It is known that she has excelled in academics throughout her schooling. In addition, she is a talented musician and artist. At school, the girl is bored because the content is easily mastered.
Taking into consideration the above mentioned facts, it is necessary to conclude that Nicole should be given more complex tasks. It is very important to inform Nicole’s teachers to prepare more complex assignments and tests for her. The major goal of Nicole’s teachers is to get Nicole interested in their subjects. This strategy will help Nicole not to be bored during the class. As an educational assistant, I am sure that this strategy can be very effective because it will motivate Nicole to learn more and more. In addition, Nicole will be able to use this knowledge in the nearest future, when she will become a University student. It is known that gifted students get excitement and pleasure from intellectual challenge. Nicole will be able to demonstrate her skills and abilities in solving the most complex tasks at school. In addition, she will improve her self-esteem.