Students who have learning disabilities often need special accommodations to learn at the same pace as their peers, but educators are finding that separating disabled students from their classmates does them a disservice. Instead, models that include all children in the same classroom with lots of individualized attention from teachers seem to work best to keep those with disabilities on track to graduate.
Technology also helps disabled students learn the way that is best for them; for example, although they may have understood a passage from a book very well, they might have trouble expressing that in writing. So, instead, they can dictate their thoughts to a computer.
Experts also emphasize the importance of reaching students with disabilities early on, before they fall behind in class and get frustrated. That frustration is, too often, what leads students to drop out of school before earning a diploma.
"If we want kids to graduate from high school, then having a strong foundation at the elementary level is critical. And for kids with significant learning disabilities and significant attention-deficit disorders, having technologies, providing accommodations for reading and writing are critical." - Dr. Bill Henderson
"It's almost emotional for me to talk about it, because, seeing him now, seeing him from where he was, and seeing me where I was at that age, he's doing what I used to do when I was 14. He's 9. So it's phenomenal." - Gerald Gorman, father of disabled student
1. What is a learning disability?
2. How do you learn best? Are you a visual learner? Do you like listening to things better, or reading them?
3. Why could having a learning disability make a student more likely to drop out of school?
1. Why do you think the learning setting described in the video is more successful than dividing students into classes according to their learning abilities? How does your school handle this?
2. Do you think it's fair to assume all students learn the same way? Why or why not? Discuss with a partner how each of you learns best, and whether your learning styles are different from each other's.
3. What did you learn from this video that you didn’t know before?