2.4 of learning. This is a discrepancy between

 

2.4 Classification of
Learning Disabilities

            As
learning disabilities is concerned with difficulty in learning some things or
subjects, the classification was done according to the degree of learning difficulties.

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Adima (1989) lists them as follows:

(i)           
Mild learning disabilities

Even
though this is not regarded as serious, it is however serious enough to attract
the attention of the parents and teachers. Learners with mild LD can be
successfully integrated in the general education classroom where delivery of
education services will be shared between the general and special educationist.
If this condition is neglected, it may become worse.

(ii)         
Moderate learning disabilities

This
condition is serious and it requires intensive assistance to enable the child
to succeed. Learners with moderate LD require remedial instruction in a
resource room. At the resource room, learners have a opportunity to receive
specific instruction while remaining integrated with their friends in the
school. In addition to the programmes being flexible to fit the level of the
learner, resource rooms have a variety of materials.

(iii)        
Severe learning disabilities

The child at this level cannot
learn without special materials, special method, and individualized educational
program (IEP). This being a very serious condition, learners require intensive
and comprehensive intervention, which ideally can be offered in a separate
class within the school or a separate school. While in a separate class, such
learners appear to have a better self-concept than in regular classrooms
possibly because regular class competition sets achievement criteria that these
learners cannot meet. With its lower teacher-pupil ratio, this setting offers
more intensive individualized instruction in which learners spend more time
learning and hence are able to make greater strides in both academic and social
areas (Smith, 1991).

      It
is possible that teachers will find one or more of these classifications in
classroom situations. A clear understanding off these classifications will
enable teachers to identify learners with LD and the degree of learning
difficulties.

 

2.5 Identification of
Learning Disabilities

In most cases the classroom teacher is usually the first to
notice signs of learning disabilities and refers students for special education
assessment. In addition the teachers assist in gathering assessment information
and in the coordination of special services. Students may be identified as
learning disabled at any age, but most are noticed during the elementary years.
There are two major indicators of learning disabilities. First, students appear
capable but experience extreme difficulty in some areas of learning. This is a
discrepancy between expected achievement and actual achievement. For example, a
young child may be verbal, appear bright, but be very slow to learn to say the
alphabet, write his or her name, and count to 20. The second indicator is
variation in performance; there is a discrepancy among different areas of
achievement. A class four child may perform well in math but read and spell
poorly (Lewis &Doorlag, 1983).

In addition to these two main indicators of learning
disabilities, teachers should watch for several other signs. According to
Gulliford (1971), outstanding examples cited are:

1.    Severe difficulties in reading, writing, spelling and
arithmetic;

2.    Distinguishing left from right, up and down, front and
back;

3.    Perceptual and language weaknesses;

4.    Some clumsiness in hand and eye tasks;

5.    Visuo-spatial difficulties in recognizing and
distinguishing written symbols; in reproducing letters or groups of letters
correctly; confusing or reversing letters

6.    Speech-sound difficulties in synthesizing words from their
component sounds; in relating words to meanings. Most of these children show a
history of late or slow speech development; often with continuing minor
articulatory defects and hesitancy in verbal expression;

7.    Association difficulties such as in associating speech
sounds with their symbols in reading and writing;

8.    Difficulty in spatial orientation-they bump into things,
and cannot estimate distances.

Moreover, California Association for Neurologically
handicapped Children (1980), an affiliate of the national association for
children and adults with learning disabilities, cited other signs seen in
children with LD as:

a)    Guessing constantly when reading;

b)    Trouble understanding or following instructions;

c)    Difficulties expressing thoughts;

d)    Trouble understanding time and distance;

e)    Short attention span: easy distractibility.

The disability manifests itself in each age group
(preschoolers, elementary children, adolescents and adults) with different
intervention and teaching strategies being required for each age group.
Substantial numbers of children with LD are identified in the age range of 9
through 14. Most children are not identified until age 9 when LD become
apparent as they enter school and fail to acquire academic skills in areas like
reading, mathematics, writing and other school subjects (US Education
Department, 1998).

Myklebust (1981) emphasized the importance of developing
checklists and testing measures by schools to help teachers identify students
with disabilities. Myklebust developed a Pupil Rating Scale as a screening tool
for LD, which has since become a research instrument included in extensive
investigation of the incidence and nature of LD in public schools in the United
States of America. Besides identifying signs of LD, it is important to know the
root causes of learning disabilities among children for effective intervention
measures.

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