Factors Affecting the Academic Performance of Students At Risk With Learning Disabilities

The main purpose of this study was to determine the specific learning disabilities, level of self efficacy, self esteem, multiple intelligences, parent and teacher’s involvement of students at risks with learning disabilities and their relationships to academic performance of high school students at risk with learning disabilities in order to design a supportive classroom environment for these children.

This study was based on the theory that academic performance of students at risk with learning disabilities is dependent on the self-efficacy, self-esteem, multiple intelligences and parents and teachers’ involvement. The self-efficacy includes general self efficacy and social self efficacy. The multiple intelligences includes the Linguistic Intelligence, Logical-Mathematical Intelligence, Bodily Kinesthetic Intelligence, Musical Intelligence, Interpersonal Intelligence, Intrapersonal Intelligence, Spatial Intelligence, and Nature Intelligence. This study hypothesized that there is significant relationship between self-efficacy, self-esteem, multiple intelligence, parents and teachers’ involvement to the academic performance of students at risk with learning disabilities.

The research design was descriptive using cross tabulation technique. The study was conducted at Gingoog City Comprehensive National High School,Division of Gingoog City, Region X. Philippines. The respondents of the study involved the thirty four ( 34 ) students at risk with LD. Five ( 5 ) sets of questionnaires were being administered to gather the needed data such as the Self efficacy Scale, Barksdale Self-esteem Evaluation Index ( SEI), Multiple Intelligence Developmental Assessment ( MIDAS) and Parent Involvement Checklist. Each questionnaire has undergone the test of validity and reliability. The statistical tool used were frequency, percentage, weighted mean and cross tabulation analysis.

It is concluded that most of the second year students at risk with learning disabilities have mild dyslexia, mild dyscalculia and mild dysgraphia. These students have suffered low general self efficacy, low and lack of social self efficacy and all of them have lack of self -esteem. Each of these students possesses different types of intelligences and although the said intelligences are low still, none of them has linguistic and logical intelligences and most of them have average general academic performance. The general self -efficacy and social self efficacy, self esteem, multiple intelligences do not significantly affect the academic performance of the students. However, teachers’ support play a major role in the academic performance of LD at risk. While there is a low correlation between parents involvement and general self -efficacy and between parent involvement and multiple intelligences, the kind of parental involvement of the students do not affect the social self efficacy, self esteem, and academic performance of the students.

From this conclusion, the supportive classroom environment intended for students at risks with learning disabilities are consist of the following; knowledge about LD, establishing learning centers like reading centers, writing/ spelling centers, multiple intelligence centers, parent involvement nook, teachers’ attitude, academic performance update, remedial reading intervention, accommodations and classroom size. With the right interventions in reading with parents, teachers and administrators’ support, these children with LD can succeed in their lives and become worthwhile persons in the community and country as a whole.

Source by Susan Aparejo

Autism Apps to the Rescue

A new generation of electronic education aids, called “autism apps”, are proving to be useful for special needs children like those affected with autism spectrum disorder. These aids include apps like “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” that are a new generation of gadgets designed to be much more than a recreation.

Autism app development is an emerging field and has immense potential to come up with new therapies for improving the health condition of autistic children. They are a much cheaper and more effective education aid than the cumbersome adaptive technology devices used earlier.

It’s estimated that at least one in every 68 children in the US are autistic. Elsewhere, like in Australia, autism has been diagnosed in more than one percent of the population and the numbers are increasing every year.

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder widely varies across the world. The exact causes behind the disorder are unknown. But scientists believe that a combination of environmental, prenatal, and genetic factors contribute to the disorder.

Any reliable diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder must happen by the age of two. But in most cases, parents are usually late to realize that there’s something different in their children and often go into a denial mode when pointed out that their kid may be autistic.

Therapy options may vary once a child has been diagnosed of autism, which is largely based on symptoms and observing behavioral patterns. Appointments with a variety of health professionals like counselors, occupational, and speech therapists may be required. This is usually time consuming and very expensive.

Some studies suggest that behavioral intervention is the best for autistic kids and also the most effective. At least 20 hours of therapy should be provided each week for at least 12 months. But the charges for each session are at least $75 which is usually not affordable to the majority of the people. Besides, most behavioral therapists stay in big cities and options are limited for those living in small towns.

Autism apps can be used both at home and outside. They have a big potential to level the field by making the therapy options more accessible to children with autism. The autism apps like “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” can provide a safe and structured environment where children can enjoy doing mathematics and brush up their sentence making skills. Autism Apps are increasingly finding favor among both teachers and parents.

Source by Kevin Carter

Dinosaurs and Their Appeal to Children on the Autism Spectrum

Dinosaurs and the Autism Spectrum

Autism is a life-long, debilitating condition that affects a surprising number of people. Research from the National Autistic Society suggests that as many as half a million people in the UK have some form of Autism or have a related condition such as Asperger Syndrome. Autism is a condition that affects the way in which people relate to themselves and the world around them. Sufferers can be over-sensitive to sensory stimuli, they can find it difficult to make sense of their environment. Asperger Syndrome is a form of Autism. People with Asperger Syndrome find it difficult to communicate and interact with others. Neither Autism or Asperger Syndrome are related to low intelligence, indeed, from our experience with children that have Asperger Syndrome the child concerned is often shown to have a higher than average IQ. For example, one of the attractions of dinosaurs to children on the Autism Spectrum are the long names and all the complicated facts associated with these prehistoric monsters. Some children on the spectrum, seem able to retain vast amounts of information related to their favourite dinosaurs and can recite an astonishing amount of factual information about them.

Detecting Children on the Autism Spectrum

These conditions cannot be detected just by looking at a person, there are no visual symptoms but they do manifest themselves in certain behaviours. If these behaviours can be identified in young children at an early age than steps and processes can be put in place to help them and their families manage their condition in an effective way. As these are termed “hidden disabilities” it can be very difficult to diagnose the condition. Fortunately, thanks to the campaigning of a number of charities and other organisations the awareness of both Autism, Asperger Syndrome and other related conditions has risen substantially over the last twenty years or so and many teachers and teaching assistants are now trained in being able to identify Autism in the school children in their class.

Children with Asperger Syndrome may have fewer difficulties with their speech and they usually do not have the accompanying learning difficulties associated Autism, but they may have specific learning issues. These can include dyspraxia and dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Fortunately, society’s understanding of these conditions has greatly improved since my own time at school. Recently a friend was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum and having related dyslexia but as a school child her condition was not noticed and she did not (and nor did her parents), receive the help and support needed.

With the right help and encouragement, people on the Autism Spectrum and with Asperger Syndrome can lead completely fulfilled and independent lives. The important thing from our perspectives as teachers is to understand the condition and to put in place support at an early stage to help children and their parents/guardians/family members manage.

Autism is a Spectrum

When teaching a class it can be difficult to identify the behaviours in a young child that could indicate that this child has Autism or a related condition. The problem is there are “degrees” of Autism. I always prefer the term Autism Spectrum condition rather than the alternative title Autism Spectrum syndrome, but in my experience both are used. I imagine the condition of Autism like a long bar with a person with this condition fitting somewhere along this bar as each individual can be affected differently. It is true to say that whilst all people with Autism will share certain behaviours and difficulties making sense of their world and their environment, some people will be able to live independent lives whilst others, who may have related learning difficulties and disabilities will require specialist support throughout their lives.

Where do Dinosaurs Fit In?

There are certain types of behaviour associated with children on the Autism Spectrum. Not all people will display the same behaviours, Autism affects individuals in different ways. One of the mantras I use when teaching in a class where there is a child or children on the Autism Spectrum is to remember to “celebrate their uniqueness and to rejoice in the way that they are able to see the world differently from myself”. However, there are common behaviours and the subject of dinosaurs seems to lend itself to them.

For example, some children may be natural scholars and become extremely knowledgeable about a subject they enjoy. Studying dinosaurs seems to tick many of the boxes for them and they become almost totally immersed in their subject. Children on the Autism Spectrum may be able to recall information better than their peers, with so many facts and figures surrounding the study of dinosaurs they seem to be naturally drawn to this topic. For instance, being able to quote facts and statistics about dinosaurs – which was the biggest, fiercest, heaviest, fastest, longest? Vertebrate palaeontology and the Dinosauria in particular seem to be a rich source of information that is often recited repeatedly with parents/guardians being bombarded with questions and demands for more data.

In addition, young people on the Autism Spectrum may often not want to join in games with other children, preferring to play alone, immersing themselves in their favourite subject area and playing with dinosaur models and other replicas. Often they can repeat the game over and over again or insist on doing the same activity over and over again at the same time each day. The availability of videos and DVDs on dinosaurs can help with this. Children on the Autism Spectrum can enjoy watching repeated plays of the same DVD.

Dinosaur Days Out

Fortunately, there are a number of museums that have displays of dinosaur fossils and other items that can be visited. However, for a family taking a child on the Autism Spectrum out for the day can be a daunting prospect and one difficult episode can result in the parents/guardians losing all confidence.

There are some hopefully helpful tips and advice we can pass on to help parents/guardians manage the day out ensuring that it is a rewarding activity for all concerned.

1). Remember the Sensitivity

Some children on the Autism Spectrum can be over sensitive to loud noises and bright lights. If intending to visit a dinosaur attraction we recommend contacting the providers before you go to gain an understanding of any elements that may be distressing to your child.

2). Contact the Provider before you Visit

Getting in touch with the museum before the day gives you the chance to learn about any special arrangements that may be in place to help you get the most out of your day. You can also receive specialist advice and organise support on the day should it be needed.

3). Get the Guidebook before you Go

By getting a guidebook or leaflet before you visit you and your child can plan their day. This can help the child preparing them for the experience to a degree and enable you and your family to be able to get the most out of the visit

Obsessing on Dinosaurs

Not all children on the Autism Spectrum will have obsessions. Those that do may not obsess on dinosaurs and prehistoric animals. For instance, we have encountered a number of young children who become totally immersed in subjects as diverse as cars and “Thomas the Tank Engine”, but a number of children do develop a fascination for the Dinosauria. This in itself is no bad thing, as with the establishment of the creative curriculum in most parts of the United Kingdom schools are often covering this subject area within their teaching schemes of work. Learning about dinosaurs can help develop confidence, after all, many children will share this common interest and love of all things to do with dinosaurs. There are a large number of supplies of resources that can assist, everything from the local library, the regional museum and of course the internet. For parents/guardians too, learning about dinosaurs can be a rewarding experience especially if it is an area the enables them to celebrate the way in which their particular child views the world.

Source by Mike Walley

Analyzing Issues of Overidentification in Special Education

Overidentification in special education has two potential meanings. First, it can mean that there are too many students being identified as needing special education in a school or district. Estimates of students in need of special education services have ranged from 3% to 8% of total students. Central office staff typically attempt to stay within the 10% range however, it sometimes reaches highs of 13% or more. Second, it may mean that a certain group of students is over represented in the special education population in comparison to their make up in the general population of students. Ideally, the proportion of the subgroup of students in the special education population should be identical to that of the general population.

Overidentification of students in need of special education services results in a number of negative outcomes for the students, the school district, and to a larger extent society. Students identified as needing special education services often don’t receive the same rigorous curriculum as those not receiving services. Therefore, they are not as prepared for the demands of the next grade level as unidentified students. They frequently have lowered expectations placed upon them, may be socially stigmatized, may display greater behavioral problems requiring disciplinary action, and are more likely to not complete school or they complete school with less skills than other students.

Overidentified students place an unnecessary burden on already limited school resources and take away existing resources from those students who are really in need of them. Staff time is taken up in extra preparation for their daily needs, to go to extra meetings, and to complete evaluations. If discipline becomes an issue, then administrator time gets taken away from other duties.

In regard to potential impacts on society, overidentification’s reduced demands, watered-down curriculum, and potential social stigmatization leaves students unprepared to continue with their education or lacking the skills necessary to take a productive role in the workplace and support themselves. When these students are unable to become productive members of society after school then their educational institution has failed them.

Some of the reasons for overidentification include:

  • Poverty and income inequality
  • Inequity in schools funding
  • Inability to access early interventions
  • Lack of training in regard to appropriate referrals to and placements in special education
  • Lack of understanding of diverse populations

Research has found that students from impoverished backgrounds are more likely to be unprepared for the rigors of education and lack the background knowledge and experiences of their more affluent peers. The Head Start Program was developed in 1965 to meet this need, and to provide comprehensive services to low income families during the preschool years. However, while gains have been made, a gap still exists, and many families are unable to access these services for a variety of reasons.

Schools are not always funded appropriately with many schools requiring students to bring in their own work materials, lack resources for paraprofessional support, or lack the funds to have full day kindergarten or hire enough teachers to have smaller classes. When schools are funded appropriately, the district often determines where and when the money is spent, which may not always be on the biggest needs or those that will make the biggest difference in the long-term.

Unfortunately, some schools don’t always make appropriate referrals or placement decisions. Sometimes they wait too long before making a referral and sometimes they make one too soon. The advent of Response to Intervention (RTI) may help in this area as schools should have data about how students respond to interventions before making a referral.

Lack of understanding about different cultures and the way children learn may also lead to students being over identified, especially for behavior concerns. Not every child is able to sit in a chair for six hours a day learning. There are many ways to learn and students need to be exposed to as many of them as possible before being identified with a disability.

Parents and educators need to be aware that over identification of students for special educational services has short and long-term consequences. These consequences affect the student, the school, and, potentially, society. It is the school’s responsibility to keep an open mind, look at individual differences and all possibilities prior to identifying a student as in need of special education services.

Source by David Pino

Special Education Has Changed Over Time

Special education has been assisting students with learning disabilities in the United States education system since the end of World War II. The first push for special education started when a group of parent-organized advocacy groups surfaced. In 1947 one of the first organizations, the American Association on Mental Deficiency, held its first convention. That marked a starting point for special education as we know it today.

Started during the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1950s, the United Cerebral Palsy Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and John F. Kennedy’s Panel on Mental Retardation were among an increased amount of advocacy groups for assisted learning programs. This strong push helped bring special education into schools across the country in the 1960’s as school access was established for children with disabilities at state and local levels.

The parent advocacy groups dating back to 1947 laid the ground floor for government legislation being approved by Congress in 1975 that was called the “Education for All Handicapped Children Act” (Public Law 94-142). This act went into effect in October of 1977 and it was the beginning for federal funding of special education in schools nationwide. The act required public schools to offer “free appropriate public education” to students with a wide range of disabilities, including “physical handicaps, mental retardation, speech, vision and language problems, emotional and behavioral problems, and other learning disorders.”

The law from 1977 was extended in 1983 to offer parent training and information centers. Later in 1986 the government started programs targeting youngsters with potential learning disabilities. The Act from 1975 was changed to the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (IDEA) in 1990. Since establishment of IDEA more than 6.5 million children and 200,000+ toddlers and infants are being assisted each year.

Special education in schools often unintentionally overlooks a key aspect of why students suffer from learning disabilities. The reasons for common learning disabilities are weak cognitive skills. Studies show that 80% of students enrolled in special education at some level suffer from underlying weak cognitive skills. Cognitive skills are the mental capabilities that one needs to successfully learn academic subjects. In more detail cognitive skills are learning skills used to retain information; process, analyze, and store facts and feelings; and create mental pictures, read words, and understand concepts. They are not to be confused with academic skills which would include subjects like math, science, or history.

Proper testing to identify these weak cognitive skills will help quality learning centers put together a plan of action to strengthen them. This sort of training will last a lifetime. By not targeting the cognitive skills a student will struggle for the rest of their life until they are trained properly. It is highly recommended that you get your child tested at a learning training center that provides cognitive testing. Once tested a personal, unique training program can be developed for your child to overcome their learning disability.

Source by Ken Gibson

Special Needs Education and Autism Apps

While special education instructors are more likely to use mobile apps for autistic children than general teachers, they often complain of not receiving any formal training regarding the use of these gadgets.

Autism apps like the recently updated “Make Sentences” and “Just Match”, run on iPads and smartphones, and have emerged as a major tool to impart sentence-making and match-the-word skills to special needs students.

Mobile technologies have the ability to resonate and support the instruction extended to special needs children, especially those having autism spectrum disorder. Instructors can capitalize on the features of these apps that can be installed on any mobile device. With interactive features and talk-to-text options, these two apps have the ability to personalize instructions for each special needs child, whether in classroom or at home. Not only teachers, these apps can be used by therapeutic professionals like school psychologists, occupational therapists, and intervention specialists. Parents of special needs children, administrators, and counselors also use the “Make Sentences” and “Just Match” apps in equal measure.

While these autism apps have opened up a whole new world for children affected with the disorder, a large number of special education professionals said that they received almost no training regarding the perfect use of these apps. While the “Make Sentences” and “Just Match” apps are menu-driven and can be self-taught, teachers still need to know how to make them the most useful to students.

The benefits of introducing these apps to autistic children are undeniable. Special education instructors admitted that they are more likely to use iPads and tabs for instructional reasons than overhead projectors or light tables, white screens, and their websites. They are unanimous that portable devices are the best in this regard.

But some instructors do receive formal training about how to use autism apps for students. Even those who didn’t, say that they are more likely to use these autism apps for children. It proves that teachers and instructors have an urgent and strong desire to learn more about these apps and how they can help children with autism spectrum disorder. But lack of proper training is often the impediment.

Both the “Make Sentences” and “Just Match” apps use cutting-edge technology. These apps have been developed by seasoned programmers who have studied the behavior and emotional responses of autistic children. Users can be rest assured that these apps will deliver what they are supposed to. What’s more important is that the company provides training and support for these two apps.

Source by Kevin Carter