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What Should Be Done If LD or AD/HD Is Suspected?

June 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 156


When LD or ADHD is suspected because a child is struggling with learning and performance, the first thing parents and teachers should do is seek advice. These disorders are complicated and different from each other, and there are many who do not fully understand their impact and the methods that can be employed to help. Often the approach taken to support these children falls far short of what is necessary.

Here are 3 steps to simplify what is necessary to maximize success. When these things are done, we discover that students who were thought to be "dumb" become firefighters, salespersons, teachers, doctors, engineers, etc. They can truly be contributing members of society.

Step 1.

* An LD diagnosis requires a Psycho-Educational Assessment done by a registered psychologist. This assessment has 2 parts. First, we must prove that the individual has at least average ability, often called IQ. Throughout North America, the WISC IV is the common tool used. Second, we must test the individual's academic achievement levels in reading, spelling, writing, mathematics, etc. and compare them with expectations for his/her age. The WJ III Tests of Achievement is a commonly used tool.

* An ADHD diagnosis usually requires a formal symptoms checklist completed by each parent and a teacher and a questionnaire and a computerized test done by the individual. This can be done by a doctor or a registered psychologist.

Step 2.

The goal for this step is to determine the strengths, the weaknesses, and the learning stylein order to write an appropriate plan of action, or individual education plan, for the diagnosed individual. This is a challenging task which requires input from parents, teachers, and an LD specialist who can interpret the findings.

Strengths should include any skills from the list below, along with personality strengths, social strengths, emotional strengths, and skills in music, art, or athletics.

A simple test can determine learning style. It is important to know whether the individual learns better by seeing what is to be learned (Visual), by hearing what is to be learned(Auditory), or by doing (Kinesthetic-Tactile).

The following list of commonly used skills should help to formulate a list of difficulties with learning and performance. It can also help to identify some strengths.

* Organization -belongings, schedule, tasks, thoughts

* Memory -working memory, short term, long term -visual memory, auditory memory

* Conceptual -abstract, idioms, similes, metaphors

* Writing -speed, legibility, spacing, spelling, copying

* Reading -speed, sound/symbol, fluency, comprehension

* Mathematics -numbers, operations, concepts, language, problem solving

* Processing Speed -visual, auditory, subject specific, general

* Executive Function -planning, organizing, completing a task

* Attention -engage quickly and maintain focus

*Behaviour -appropriate, emotional control, obedience, impulsivity, hyperactivity

* Social -working with others, making/keeping friends, compliant, liked

Step 3.

Accommodations are supports provided by the teachers or the workplace. Coping strategies are supports a student or adult learns to use to improve learning and performance. Both of these types of supports should be listed in an action plan.

For diagnosed individuals who are not in school an action plan should be written and may require the help of a LD Specialist. This help may be found at any LD Association office. For diagnosed students an Individual Education Plan will be written with the input of parents, and schools must review these plans annually.

Two things are important in deploying the plan: 1. Since most individuals with LD have low self-esteem, efforts must be made to continually build self-esteem; 2. It is very important that these individuals learn self-advocacy skills so that they can explain their difficulties and ask appropriately for the accommodations needed.

> LD and ADHD are complex disorders, and every individual has a different set of strengths and weaknesses. To list all of the possible accommodations and coping strategies to cover all of the difficulties would take numerous pages. Listed below are some of the most common difficulties and suggestions proven to make a difference. Also keep in mind using strengths to assist with difficulties.

* Organization -everything in its place, weekly planner, list of steps to follow to complete a task

* Memory -highlighters, colours, pictures, mnemonics, funny stuff and maximize memory through hearing it, seeing it, and doing it

* Writing -use a computer software program called Dragon Dictate to translate oral speech into text with no spelling errors done quickly* Reading -faster reading is accomplished with computer software programs which read aloud any text (standard in MacBooks), including the internet. This fluent reading aloud enhances comprehension and memory.* Mathematics -a calculator bypasses the inability to memorize multiplication tables

* Attention -reduce sounds and visual distractions, wear earplugs, listen to music without lyrics

Source: EzineArticles
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