Identifying And Supporting Students With Learning Disabilities: A Case Study On George

Students with Learning Disabilities and the Strengths-based Approach

According to Catherine (2018), there are various learning disabilities that children may portray. Because these disabilities portray varying characteristics, it is essential for educators to come up with best ways of assisting them to achieve their dreams. This study seeks to identify the learning disability which George has based on the case study one “meet George,” and discuss some of the legal obligations which his teacher has. It will also discuss the current state, national and international policy and legislation support in the implementation of inclusive educational practices for the learners such as George. According to Joav (2017), although learners with this disability may portray various problems especially in learning, reading, and writing, they are good in other aspects especially those that require creativity.

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According to Wanda (2017), people with learning disabilities are important like other children and requires to be given sufficient support. The strengths-based approach in students with learning disability values the skills, capacity, connections, knowledge and the potential of the individuals. According to Trisha (2011), the strength-based practice can also be defined as the combined efforts between the students with learning disability and those supporting them. These efforts allow them to work collaboratively with the aim of determining an outcome that is positive to the student.

In George’s case, there are identifiable characteristics that show he has a learning disability. For example, his inability to write well implies that probably he has a disability known as Dysgraphia which is associated with student’s difficulties in handwriting and motor skills. This disability also makes one to reverse numbers and also to have problems in seeking for assistance on the subjects he/she does not perform well.

According to Reid (2011), the strengths-based approach includes supporting people with disabilities in what they can do. Although George has some challenges in some aspects such as in providing good handwriting, being attentive in some subjects, writing numbers in reverse, problems in reading, among others, there are various things that he can do best. For example, he can do better in some of the subjects such as math and science. This means that because he has an area where he can show outstanding performance, it is good to support him in what he can do better while trying to find strategies which can be used to help him overcome his weaknesses.

The student can also do better in sports and has a dream of pursuing a particular career. This means that irrespective of the weaknesses that he may portray in learning, there are various aspects that he can do better, and therefore it is important to give him the support he deserves. The strength-based approach also asserts that enhancing relationship between educators, other students and people with learning disabilities is essential (Wanda, 2017). Therefore, George’s teacher, in this case, should ensure irrespective of George’s weakness to work in groups, he comes up with proper strategies which can make him feel comfortable in socializing with other students. This would help him learn a lot of things from not only the teacher but also from his peers.

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Identifying George’s Learning Disability

The strength-based approach also asserts that people with learning disabilities need to be seen more than just care needs, and they need to be shown how to become specialists who can be in charge of their own lives. For the case of George, irrespective of having the identified learning disability, he is good in some things and has dreams that can be developed to make them a reality. In this case, it is the duty of his teacher to be in the forefront in making him attain all what he feels is best for him.

From the case study, George does not want to talk about his learning disability although when playing volleyball he feels equal to his peers. He also does not like other students to make fun of him because he can read and write as well as they can. Because one of the major arguments of the strength-based approach is that people with learning disabilities should be supported, the teacher should discourage the other students from doing what George does not like. It is advisable for the teacher to encourage the other students to motivate George by telling him that they are all equal and that he can do better in the areas of his weaknesses.

According to Dennis (2015), students who portray weaknesses in some subjects portray strengths in others. For example, George is not good at English but shows good performance in math and science. For the teacher to make him attain a great career, it is good to encourage him to think of pursuing a job which is related to the subjects that he is good at (Mather & Wendling, 2012). Because he is good at building things with materials and dreams of being an engineer, the teacher should motivate him of striving to attain his dream because this career is related to what he is good at.

Learning disabilities such as Dysgraphia is a problem which accepted in learning institution and students with these challenges assisted to realize their dreams (Arnot, 2012). The state laws require People with learning disabilities to be respected and assisted by not only their family members but also their teachers. In schools, the teachers have legal obligations of protecting students with disabilities from being criticized by their peers or being discriminated for what they feel they can do.

Children with Dysgraphia and other learning disabilities in Australia are entitled under the Disability Act of 1992 to both distinguished curricula and differentiated assessment. The Australian government supports the rights of students with learning disabilities to have the same educational opportunities as other students (Rabbia & Seemab, 2016). For people with Dysgraphia, just like George, the government requires their teachers to show support through identifying the weaknesses and strengths which the students have and try to come up with intervention measures which can be used to assist them in realizing their dreams.

Legal Obligations of Teachers

The Australian disability standards for education provides guidance to educators, learning institutions, and administrators and parents on their rights and responsibilities (Joav, 2017). The Australian government also works with states and territories to ensure students with learning Dysgraphia and other learning disabilities are supported through conducting case studies on how to support such students, establishing positive relationships, ensuring learning institutions work based on disability standards for education 2005, among others.

At the international level, the world health organization and other agencies state that children with Dysgraphia and other learning disabilities have the rights to education, and should receive full support from their teachers as well as their parents to attain their dreams (Flanagan & ALFONSO, 2011). These organizations also affirm that children with this learning disability should not be subjected to any form of discrimination because they have the potential of becoming who they want irrespective of their weaknesses.

The international law and especially in regard to human rights places obligations on all countries to respect, protect and fulfill the right to education for the students with Dysgraphia and other learning disabilities. It requires them to be supported by assisting them to overcome their weaknesses and take the advantage of their strengths to attain their dreams.

Conclusion:

From the case study, George portrays various characteristics that shows that he has a learning disability known as Dysgraphia. Although he is weak in some subjects such as English, he is good at math and science, and also performs better in sports and other things that require him to build things with different materials. The strength-based approach requires people with disabilities to be assisted to attain their dreams and therefore it is the duty of his teacher to assist him to realize his dreams. Because he aspires to be an engineer, the teacher should encourage him and discourage other students from viewing him as different. The Australian disability standards for education provides guidance to teachers, learning institutions, administrators, teachers and parents on their rights and responsibilities. At the international level, the world health education requires teachers and parents to show support to students with learning disabilities.

References:

Arnot, M. (2012). The Sociology of Disability and Inclusive Education: A Tribute to Len Barton. London: Routledge

Catherine, P. G. (2018).  Rethinking the Concept of Learning Disability.  Canadian Psychology, 59(2), 232-243.

Dennis, P. (2015). Helping Students with Learning Disabilities Transition to College.  T H E Journal (Technological Horizons in Education), 42(2), 76-97.

Flanagan, D. P & ALFONSO, V. C. (2011). Essentials of Specific Learning Disability Identification.  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

Joav, M. (2017).  Some International Aspects of Disability and Abuse.  International Journal of Child Health and Human Development, 10(3), 83-97.

Mather, N & Wendling, B. J. (2012). Essentials of Dyslexia Assessment and Intervention.  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

Rabbia, T & Seemab, L. (2016).  A Mobile Application to Improve Learning Performance of Dyslexic Children with Writing Difficulties.  Educational Technology & Society, 19(4), 132-143.

Reid, G. (2011).  Dyslexia: A Complete Guide for Parents and Those Who Help Them.  Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell

Trisha, N. (2011).  Rethinking Disability: A Disability Studies Approach to Inclusive Practices.  Issues in Teacher Education, 20(1), 34-54.

Wanda, H. (2017).  The Four-Year College Experience of One Student with Multiple Learning Disabilities.  College Student Journal, 51(1), 67-78.