On Learning Differences

Vol. 2, No. 2 - Information on Learning Differences Online Spring 2003


In This Issue

Auditory Processing: Potential Effect on Learning

On the Path to Remediation

A Technology Breakthrough for Educators and Students

Overcoming Fear and Shame:
It is Never Too Late to Learn

Book Review


An Editorial Consultant and Writer Extraordinaire

Conference Information

About the Editor

Sharing Ideas

Permission to Copy from Visions on Learning Differences

Please see other issues



  by Lisa B. Lee Sang

Approximately 20% of the population has a learning difference. Although these learning differences may foster creativity, for example, when a student compensates for academic failure, they may leave a student at a disadvantage in formal education where traditional learning strategies are put into practice. There is, however, the opportunity for those learning deficits to be overcome.

Remediation is the goal of a multi-step process of correction. Accommodations for students whose special needs are documented by qualified professionals are often an initial step in the guided study along the road to remediation.

Accommodations, or modifications in the teaching style, aid the student with learning differences. These adjustments cater to a wide range of learning styles.

For students with learning problems, it may help if instructors use some of the following strategies.

Modifications should be made in the way information is introduced; a multi-sensory presentation is best for optimum processing. Be sure that any material given a student is on his or her ability level. Give outlines and summaries of lectures, and give assignments with due dates typewritten on them.

In addition, review the last lesson before introducing new material. Break material into smaller parts/simpler forms for presentation and explanation. Present information slowly. Monitor the rate, level and flow of presentation, and ask for feedback. Relate information in the basic concepts and reinforce the base foundation, then slowly develop more complex concepts.

Further strategies include the use of visual aids/simple schematic drawings to reinforce (supplement) verbal explanations. For example, when describing a nerve cell, it may be helpful to draw one, then ask the student to do so to aid comprehension and memorization. Keep examples as short and as simple as possible, avoid abstract examples, repeat information when necessary, and provide preferential seating when indicated.

Highly important, allow the student to work at his or her own pace whenever time permits, for instance, giving extra time for the completion of assignments and for untimed testing. Permit the student to use a calculator, computer, typewriter, tape records, readers, and note takers, and to give oral reports.

Occasionally, the student requires a by-pass strategy such as course substitution. Often, however, students given support tend to persevere and to improve.

Lisa B. Lee Sang is a former research assistant and has tutored students in diverse subjects, from kindergarten through college and beyond, many of whom had learning difficulties. Today she is teaching science in a middle school in Maryland.

2003 Lisa B. Lee Sang. All rights reserved