Students with Learning Difficulties: Referral Process and Considerations /…
Students with Learning Difficulties: Referral Process and Considerations
/ by: Alexandra Sylte
Identification and Following Steps
1. Teacher suspects student has learning difficulties.
2a. Contact special education services team
(or other related personnel).
Evaluate the student -
assess whether or not the student has learning disabilities.
If the student has a learning disability
of any kind, there should be a meeting/discussion held to determine the next steps, and what the school/teacher can do for the student.
< Look into assistive technologies and methods in the classroom.
Training should be made available for all teachers (to ensure preparedness), and should be encouraged for parents as well to help build a supportive and informed school community.
If the student is found to not have a learning disability,
the matter should not be ignored. There should still be an investigation into why the student was a suspected case, and what can be done to help them in their learning journey.
Some information about how evaluation might take place in the U.S.:
How a Student is Identified as Having a Disability and Needing Special Education Services
2b. Contact the parents
Keeping consistent and transparent communication
with the parents of the student is very important.
Direct / spoken communication -
Regular meetings between the teachers and the parents are a good way to keep everyone on the same page and have them be fully updated on the situation in the classroom / at home.
Report / Record keeping -
For purposes of record keeping and tracking progress, it would be a good idea to keep some form of written records of the communication and discussion between the teachers and parents.
*Keep in mind:
Many parents are unprepared when they discover that their child has learning disabilities, and some of these parents may be uncooperative (they don't wish to label their child, don't agree with the diagnosis, etc.).
< Keep in mind the grade level of the student, as this will affect both identification and the process as a whole.
VIDEO: What is an LD? An introduction to learning disabilities
Grade Level Considerations :pencil2:
If the student is in primary school, digital text-based resources can be adjusted to the Lexile level of the individual student.
Primary students may be less self-aware, and their emotions can be more difficult to assess in relation to potential learning difficulties.
Common assessment through an external body (standardized tests, AP, IB, etc.) limits the ability of the teacher to differentiate either instruction or assessment.
Assistive Methods and Technologies
Provide feedback ASAP
so that the student is always aware of their progress and their position regarding their goals.
positive and respectful
. Give models and examples, and positively enforce rules.
Get to know the student.
Try to understand their perspective and their interests.
In the classroom
Ensure that the classroom is
a safe space for all.
Establish clear guidelines and rules
to prevent any misunderstandings or misconceptions (especially with regard to classroom conduct).
if they are overwhelming for the student. Break down the assignments in a way that the student understands.
Assistive Technology Examples
Text-to-speech and dictation - technologies that help relay information to the student (and vise versa) can help the students gain better understanding of the lesson materials, and can help them in engaging with the lesson.
Graphic organizers - These can benefit students who have difficulty expressing themselves on paper, as well as visual learners who need to see their thoughts mapped out.
Tools (i.e. tablets, calculators) - If needed, students should be able to use necessary tools in the classroom to assist their learning.