web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Demystifying Learning Disabilities: Empowering Students


Schonfeld-logo1

Meet Noam, a ninth grader I worked with several years ago. Noam came to my office because he was struggling with his biology curriculum. Though Noam was extremely smart, he had ADHD, which made it hard for him to focus on all of the material presented during class. Before we even looked at the material together, I asked Noam how he learned best. His face was blank as he responded, “Um, Mrs. Schonfeld, I really am not sure.”

We spent the next hour discussing the learning strengths and weakness of children with ADHD. I explained that often children with ADHD are wonderful at memorization, are visual learners, and are particularly adept at creative endeavors. On the other hand, reading long passages of text and performing rote operations can be difficult.

When we were finished with our conversation, it was like a light bulb had gone off in his head. He had always had the tools to succeed – he just didn’t know what they were. Together, we created a study plan that emphasized his strengths: graphic organizers, flash cards, and information set to song. I’m happy to say that Noam hasn’t needed my help since then.

What Noam and I did together in our first session had nothing to do with his biology curriculum, rather we focused on his brain and how his disability affected the way he learned. With all the time that we, in the education world, spend on modifying education for children with learning disabilities, we often forget to explain to them why they might need modification.

Demystification is the formal educational of “explaining to the child the facts about their learning disabilities and helping them to understand the challenges and strengths learning disabilities can bring.”

Demystification is actually a wonderful tool for helping children overcome their learning disabilities because it enables children to understand how they learn. They identify and understand their individual strengths and weaknesses – thereby learning how to advocate for themselves.

How can you go about the “demystification process?”

Identify his strengths. Most learning disabilities have positive aspects. Helping a child understanding what his strengths are will not only reinforce his skills, it will also increase his confidence. A great way to get your child to understand his assets is to get him to identify those assets himself. Have him create a “smart poster” with pictures of his strengths or create a song about his learning style. These creative outlets are often perfect for many children who suffer from learning disabilities.

It is important to begin the demystification process with an identification of strengths, rather than focusing on the downsides of the disability. This positive start to the process allows your child to know that even if he struggles in ways that other children do not, he might have something extra in other areas.

Explain the science of the disability. Helping your son understand what it is that makes learning hard for him will facilitate his learning in the future. If he is able to recognize what is going wrong – he might figure out a way to make it right. Ask a professional about different books that you and your child can read together about the learning disability. If your child is a visual learner, see if there are pictures or charts. If your child is an auditory learner, help him understand through an animated discussion.

There are even children’s books available for many common learning disabilities. In fact, one of the central reasons I wrote my children’s book about ADHD, My Friend, the Troublemaker, was to take the mystery out of the learning disability. Picture books are a great way to help children understand the way their brain works – especially if they are young when they are diagnosed.

Create a tailored learning plan. Based on your child’s disability and ensuing strengths and weaknesses, develop a learning plan that plays to his assets. This learning plan is different for each student, depending on his strengths and weaknesses. I have included some general modifications for two common learning disabilities:

ADHD:

Stronger emphasis on visual learning. Children with ADHD tend to be more comfortable with pictures and images than with text and words. Therefore, studying through visually organizing material can be significantly more productive than repeating words aloud.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

One Response to “Demystifying Learning Disabilities: Empowering Students”

  1. Mark Halpert says:

    Many students learn differently and have ADHD – is it a learning difference, a learning disability or both. At 3D Learner, we see the term learning disability as real — but it often reflects a right-brained learner who is in a left-brained school. While accommodations help, we prefer to teach the way the student learns, identify the attention and eye teaming challenges that are often present and help the parents to be the coach and advocate their child needs.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.
Four Notes on The Situation
Latest Sections Stories

With the recent kidnapping by the Hamas and the barbaric murder of three children – Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frankel, we believe that the best answer to honor the memory of those murdered is to continue building those very communities – large and small – that our enemies are trying to destroy.

book-Family-Frayda

Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.

book-I-Kings

Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”

The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defines a mentch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”

Certainly today’s communication via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and the like, including the ubiquitous Whatsapp, has reduced the need to talk with people and communicate at length.

These two special women utilized their incredibly painful experience as an opportunity to assist others.

Maybe we don’t have to lose that growth and unity that we have achieved, especially with the situation in Eretz Yisrael right now.

Sleepily, I watched him kissing Mai’s chubby thighs.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

My teachers like me and they tell my parents that I am a great girl with good middos.

The chicken and waffle nuggets were fabulous and were like chicken in a dessert form.

“Have you forgotten your dreams?” The Hope Merchant asks a defeated and hopeless Lily when she “happens” upon his shop.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defines a mentch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”

Schonfeld-logo1

In reality, Baruch is one of many children who can be described as twice-exceptional. He is both gifted and struggling with a learning disability.

Explosive children or those with ODD are easily frustrated, demanding and inflexible.

Have you noticed that your child is doing something radically different from his cousins (even if they go to a school a block away from each other)?

“If you have Asperger’s Syndrome, you are really good in your brain and your brain is wired a different way, so you are really good at drawing or school. But your social level is not high.”

If your child is struggling with these skills, it might be helpful to seek social skills training.

However, for some children, the split between home and school can be severe and potentially debilitating.

How can we, as parents and educators, make the learning process less unbalanced for our boys? Can we move them out of the back of the classroom?

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/demystifying-learning-disabilities-empowering-students/2013/01/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: