Monday, June 14, 2021


(During the summer months, I like to take the A-Z Challenge and come up with words alphabetically and see how they apply to education. I think it’s a great exercise for teachers and students to give this a try.)

When I first meet my students with special needs, they deny having any learning problems. They state they are there because of behavior problems.

I spend a lot of time during the first month talking about learning problems and explaining that I believe everyone has a learning problem of some sort. It might stem from a lack of interest in the subject, short-term memory problems, or some genetic issue but I don’t care about the cause. It is important to learn to cope with the problem and move forward so they can be more successful in whatever they do.

Everyone has different strengths and building things is not one of mine. I love learning and reading books but if I have to build something, I’m a fish out of water. One of my students was able to build a car engine easily and I know I would have difficulty doing that. I could read about it and learn about it but I would still have difficulty with the hands-on work. Over time and lots of hard work plus some frustration, I eventually would be able to do it. Yet, that doesn’t make me stupid. I would know who to go to if I needed help building an engine.

I also spend a lot of time on different learning styles. I explain that I learn better visually so I like to see written instruction or pictures while my husband is an auditory learner. He prefers to hear the instructions and doesn’t want to read about them. Others learn by actually doing something and making something. One learning style is not better than another and it’s important to find out what works best for you

I also share that it is important for them to be self-advocates. When they are having difficulty, speak about it and we will try to brainstorm a different way for them to understand the topic. Other classmates might be able to help restate the information or even show them something. The bottom line is that they understand the information. By denying there is a problem only puts an obstacle in the way of finding a solution.

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

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