Learning Disability (LD) is a neurological disorder that results as a consequence of a person’s brain functions. Children having a learning disability are smarter than their peers but they may have issues with reading, writing, reasoning, and processing information if they are allowed to figure out concepts on their own.
A learning disability persists forever in a person’s life; however, with right interventions from parents and teachers, a person with a learning disorder can have a successful career. Some examples of famous personalities who had trouble reading are Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, and General George Patton.
Trouble with reading and poor development in language skills are the most prevalent learning disabilities and are hereditary in nature. However, these should not be bewildered with intellectual disability, autism, blindness, deafness, and behavioral disorders. Furthermore, learning disabilities can occur simultaneously along with other attention disorders including attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD). However, these two disorders are not similar.
Types of Learning Disabilities
The most common types of learning disabilities are dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, auditory and visual processing disorders, and nonverbal learning disorders. Dyslexia is a disorder where children have difficulty in reading the written language. Dyscalculia is a defect wherein the child struggles to solve problems pertaining to math. Dysgraphia is a condition in which a child in unable to write letters within a predefined area. Nonverbal learning disorders are caused due to certain changes in the right hemisphere of the brain leading to visual-spatial, instinctive, evaluative, organizational, and holistic processing functional difficulties.
Of all the learning disabilities, dyslexia is the most common type. It is characterized by a person’s struggles with reading comprehension, writing, phonemics, and math.
Symptoms of Dyslexia
In order to train children with dyslexia at home and school, it is important to understand its symptoms in different age groups of children. The symptoms of dyslexia vary according to age in children.
Dyslexic children of preschool age might not be able to understand if two words rhyme; find it difficult to understand the sounds of letters in a word; hesitate to learn new words; and might be terrible in the recognition of letters and matching them to the appropriate sounds.
- Children in primary school might not be able to identify the middle sound in a word; they could be unable to recognize the common sight words; they might quickly forget the spelling of words that have been already studied; and they could stumble with math word problems.
- Dyslexic children in the middle school could make many errors in the spellings of words; they might have to re-read text many times to understand it; and could read at a lower level academically than how they speak.
- High school children with dyslexia could often skip words in sentences when reading aloud; read at a lower academic level than their grade; and greatly prefer multiple choice questions over the objective type or short answer questions.
McArthur et al (2012) conclude from their studies that training in phonics could be fruitful in the improvement of reading skills. Statistically significant results were obtained specifically for nonword reading precision (large influence), word reading precision (moderate influence), and letter-sound knowledge (small-to-moderate influence). For several other outcomes, there were small or moderate influences that did not show statistical significance, but might be important, namely, reading comprehension, phonemic awareness, spelling, and fluency with words.
Dyslexia Remediation and LTK
The Language-Tune-Up Kit (LTK) supports the above research finding as it is a very useful reading intervention software that could train dyslexic children in reading. It could also be used for all children who are capable of reading between the 0 to 4 grade levels and is based on the Orton-Gillingham method of direct, explicit, systematic and sequential phonics teaching. The LTK involves the technique of providing a strong foundation in phonemic awareness and is suitable for use at home and school.
The LTK is segmented into five self-contained sections or BREAKS with 87 lessons and introduces new concepts and words to the students in each lesson by the way of an instructional segment. Students struggling to read regain their interest in learning as they see an immediate improvement in their comprehension skills. Moreover, they get the convenience of learning to read at their own pace. After completing study over the LTK program, the students will gain comprehension skills at the 8th grade level with a diverse vocabulary of around 4400 words.
LTK improves teaching effectiveness in schools. The LTK provides a large amount of flexibility to teachers who work directly with children having learning disabilities.
Key LTK Lessons features
Some of the unique features of LTK for assessing the learning of students include summary, progress, and details of the students, placement test, and class performance summary. The summary report of a student consists of student’s name, start and stop dates and time, time-on-task, and current lesson number. The placement report projects the errors made by a particular student with date, word groups presented to the student, and name of the assigned lesson. The progress report includes the data for each lesson, date of completion, and skills covered within a lesson. It also identifies the areas where teacher’s intervention is required. Therefore, the management system of LTK enables teachers to enroll and assess students through simple steps by providing access to student lesson results.