Inclusive Education? What is that? How to we work to create a classrooms and learning envrionrments where all students thrive? This week on the Special Compass podcast we are having a conversation about Inclusive Education.Read More
Do you have a dream that you are awaiting to fulfill? Or are you consistently struggling to achieve a goal? Do you feel like you are making no progress despite all your hard work like you are spinning in a circle? If you answered yes to these three questions, then this blog is for you!
The Journey to Success is not easy, believe me! I have struggled and jumped over so many hurdles to get where I am in life. My learning disability is my strength, not my weakness. There is a stigma that those with special needs are weak and limited to their ability. I want to let you know there are #nolimits to what we can achieve!
Join me on this journey to success! I want to share with you, my personal stories of inspiration and motivation that helped me to overcome the challenges I have faced. Your special needs may be different than mine but you do not have to overcome the challenges alone. We are on this journey together!
There was so much information on learning disabilities, we could not possibly fit it all in one episode. In episode two we continue the discussion on learning disabilities and understanding the various forms, symptoms, and methods of intervention to help students.
Show notes: Epsidoes One & Two -Learning Disabilities
Learning Disability Origin
- Samuel Kirk – A key psychologist in the study of learning disability. Coined the term Learning Disability.
- The study of learning disability began with multiple cases of children displaying similar symptoms to an adult who suffered a stroke but no indication of brain trauma.
- Defining learning disability a constant controversial debate. The definition haschanged multiple times over the years
Eight key components that remained consistent in various learning disability definitions:
- Subaverage Achievement
- Psychological processing problems
- Exclusion of disabling condition
- Life Span problem
- Social relation issues
- Exclusion of disabling conditions
Learning Disability defined according to the Learning Disability Association of Canada:
A number of disorders which affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or the use of nonverbal or verbal communication. Included but not limited: language processing, phonological processing, visual-spatial processing, processing speed, memory and attention and executive functions. Key areas: oral language, reading, written language and mathematics
Learning Disability defined in a more simple context
Everyday people commute to work or school. Everyone will take a different route to get to their destination. If one day there is construction on that regular route you will have to take a detour to get to work or school. Regardless of the route, you take you will still get to your destination. You will just have to find a new way, it may take a bit longer but you will get there.
Learning disabled individuals, learn differently their brain literally processes information in a different way. They are still able to learn but how they process information may be at a different rate or form compared to a non-learning disabled individual.
FACTS, FIGURES, AND MYTHS
- Figures. Canadian statistics. 1- 10 Canadians or 3.3 million / stats Canada - children with a disability in Canada or 3.2 % children with LD / 1 child per school bus.
- Dropout rates, unemployment rates, and crime
- Myth: Can’t learn certain topics Fact: Have the ability to learn
- Myth: unintelligent. Fact: Average or above average intelligence
- Myth: Grow out of it Fact: lifelong condition
- Myth: all the same Fact: different severity
- Myth: cannot go to post-secondary Fact: Fully able to achieve higher education
Helping Students to Succeed.
Three pillars: Building Independence, Metacognition and learning and Support Team
- Elementary: Self- Esteem and Confidence- “learned helplessness”
- Middle School: metacognition and creativity- Operating from a mindset of abundance
- Secondary: Critical thinking and Advocacy Skills - Speaking up and using your voice
- Post-Secondary: Independence - Live your life your way
- Inclusive education a form of education where exceptional students who receive accommodations and support within the general classroom setting. Can include: coteaching, collaboration, consultation, assistants from paraprofessionals etc.
- Assistive Technology – Not a replacement of skills but to help support students.
Symptoms and Causes
- Many reasons that cause learning disability: hereditary, problems during birth
- Learning Disabilities become more prevalent during the elementary school age. Detected and diagnosed early can help implement an early intervention for student success.
- There is a discrepancy or gap kind of unusual
Various kinds of learning disability
- Effect the major components of learning
- Reading - Dyslexia is a common learning disability that impacts reading. Not all learning disabilities that are connected to reading is dyslexia.
- Phonology, decoding, fluency, comprehension
- Writing -letter formation and fluency. Its laborious, roughs strokes wide spaces
- Math -cognitive development, arithmetic performance
- Language- phonology, syntax (sentence structure), morphology, semantics ( a branch of linguistics referring to the meaning), pragmatics, metalinguistic, receptive language (difficulties understanding oral language and listening), expressive language.
- Executive functioning - memory, staying on task, intention
- Gifted and has a learning disability
- Prevent them from not reaching their full potential I.e can get a B in class but their LD is preventing them from achieving an A
- ADHD / ADD
- not a learning disability but a behaviour issue that still impedes on a student's learning
Diagnosis- The process for diagnosing a learning disability is a journey. It usually starts with a teacher or parent/ guardian suspecting there may be an issue and refers the student to a special education teacher for further assessment.
- Informal evaluation or test by special education teacher
- Observation of student
- Interviews: parents, teachers, and students
- Referral for a psychological test.
- It has to be a psycho assessment - testing various cognitive functioning process.
- Duration of test can vary in length from 4 hrs - 2 days.
- After the test is complete the psychologist will complete a report which will conclude with the diagnosis.
- The report is review by the IEP team and an IEP is created for the student
- Individual Education Plan (IEP) - IEPs are the most common term used but in some provinces, it is referred to as an IPP (Individual Program Plan). The documents serve the same purpose. Outline the learning strengths of the student, their challenges, how and where accommodations will be provided and goals to work towards for the school year.
- Working towards helping the student
- Informal evaluation or test by special education teacher
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October is learning disability month! What better way to kick off this month of awareness by the premiere of the Special Compass Podcast. Not your average podcast, the focus is to have an inclusive discussion, bringing more awareness and information to help all students excel in school and in life. If we want to ensure no student is left behind it's time to have an inclusive conversation.
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I am sorry. I have been MIA for the last few weeks and I bet you are wondering what happened. There has been a lot of change on my end, and no matter how hard I tried to prepare ahead of time there were a few hiccups along the way. Don’t worry, everything is settling down and I am feeling so positive about the future.
I will give you the scoop. The last two weekends in April I had back to back speaking engagements. I was speaking at the Ontario National Alliance of Black Student Educators (ONABSE) annual conference and just this weekend I was in Kingston, Ontario delivering a keynote speak at the Speak Up 4 Ability forum by the Learning Disability Association of Kingston. In between all these events, I was moving and battling a cold.
The themes of transition and changed were huge topics in both of my presentations. I cannot stress enough the importance of helping and preparing students who are transitioning into post-secondary education. The process to receive help and support for students with LD is a whole new ball game and if you are not prepared for the change you may strike out.
If you are joining me, now on this journey you may want to go back and read my story. I was one of those students who had a difficult time in university a major reason was because I had a learning disability and I did not know how or where to get help on campus.
IEP/ IPP do not transfer over into college and university. Upon walking on campus, students need to learn to raise their voice and be their own advocate in order to get the support and accommodations they are entitled to. Yes, entitled it is not a choice it is students right. Any student with a disability has the right to a barrier-free education and it is the colleges and universities duties to ensure students succeed in their studies with no barriers. However, this only happens when students speak up and start advocating for themselves. No mom and dad cannot be your voice, you have to speak up for yourself.
If you will be starting college or university this fall, here are a few tips to help you get off to a great start this fall.
1. Do not wait to visit the student disability service centre.
If you have been identified as having a learning disability, or ADHD and have an IEP/ IPP go to campus and speak to someone at the disability service centre. Explain to them that you will be starting school in the fall (or whatever semester) and you have been receiving accommodations and support in high school and want to know how to get the same support in post-secondary? The exact question you need to ask and the person should instantly guide you through the process.
2. ‘I can do it on my own.’
Do not get caught up in this mind trap and think you can solve or handle your problems on your own. Everyone needs a team to help them reach the top. Do not wait until it is too late. Ask questions, ask for help. Be in constant communication with those around you wanting to support you. Do not go MIA and think you can handle it on your own because if you could it would have been dealt with by now.
3. Plan Your Study/ work schedule for the semester
You cannot be mad at the results you did not earn if you did not put in the effort. College and University schedules can be hectic, regardless it is important to prepare and plan your study schedule. A simple 15 minutes of reviewing notes daily will add up the time exam season rolls around. Do not wait until the last minute to cram, study or write an assignment (studies have shown that you are less productive this way.) If you want tips on studying ASAP science does a great job at breaking it down.
4. Progress not perfection
Life is a journey. We are going to learn lessons along the way. You may not get it right on the first try but do not get discouraged and give up. Focus on making progress, not perfection. As long as you keep moving forward you will excel.
While change is unavoidable, we can help to minimize the stress associated with transitioning. You are in control of your destiny and there are no limits to what you can achieve.
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Many believe Valentine’s is just another commercial holiday, a way for people to go out and spend money as a means of expressing their love to others. For me growing up, the day was just a family celebration, where we made the time to have a nice home cook meal together and enjoy one another’s company. As I grew older I realized that love has many different meanings, which cannot always be captured in a hallmark card. Over the past few years, I have taken the time not only to show my family how I appreciate and love them but recently extended my display of affection to my friends. Although I never received a dozen rose, I have always had a happy valentine’s day regardless. But one year, I realized that I had forgotten to show the most important person in my life love.
When is the last time you showed yourself some Self-Love?
Love comes in many different forms, and while love is love, self-love is important and we should be showing ourselves some T.L.C every day. So what is self-love and why is it important? Allow me to create an illustration with an analogy that was recently given to me.
Imagine two individuals are holding a candle. Both individuals want to light the other person’s candle to give them light and make them happy. The only problem is their own flame is not light. How can we expect to light someone else candle if our own flame is not lite? How do you expect to love someone else, if we haven’t taken care of our needs?
Self-love is the act of taking care of our own well-being and happiness. It is the need proceed of being selfish before we can be selfless to others especially those we love. We need to learn to be selfish first before we can be selfless.
You are probably wondering what love, emotions, and self-love have to do with education and learning disabilities. At first, I didn’t make the connection but after going and growing through my experience I realized it is a critical part of the journey of success.
Most individuals with the learning disability are diagnosed at a young age. The challenges students may encounter with their LD can impact their self-esteem and self-confidence from young and continue as an adult. Children build their self-esteem by comparing their abilities with their peers. A student with dyslexia is likely to internalize their problems in reading as a personal attribute and will avoid reading activities. In my cases, I have always been self-cautious about my writing abilities. I would encounter mental blocks of self-doubt, overthinking situations to the point that I would not write a sentence. (Starting this blog has been an emotional challenge). These negative thoughts that play through our heads as a kid continues into are adulthood and in some case for the rest of our lives.
The only way to get past these mental blocks in our head is to cast it out with self-love. I had to realize that in order to fulfill my goals for Special Compass, I had to show myself some self-love and break past my mental blocks. My learning disability is a part of me but it does not define who I am. My imperfections are what make me unique and rather than be shy and hide from them I need to embrace them. If I want to help others, I need to help myself first.
In life, we will always have good intentions to do well on to others. But we cannot lite someone else’s candle if our flame is not burning. The journey to success can be challenging and while we are here to support one another, make sure you take care of yourself first give the show some love to you.
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