What Are the Characteristics?
A student with a learning disability whereby he/she has difficulties with comprehension and/or verbal/oral or written communication may have a language disorder. It may or may not be a direct result of something neurological, physical or psychological in nature.
A student that exhibits articulation difficulties and or impairments that can be a direct result of neurological, physical or psychological factors may have a speech disorder. Voice fluency is usually missing. Sometimes a child will have both language and speech delays. Note: language delays include lack of understanding, comprehension and the ability to relay thoughts.
Both disorders can have significan impact on the child's ability to learn. Typically in most jurisdictions, speech/language pathologists will do an assessment which helps to determine the extent of the disorder. A speech and language pathologist will also and provide recommendations for for the Individual Education Program (IEP) along with suggestions for support at home. Once again, early intervention is crucial.
- Teachers will want to reduce un-necessary classroom noise as much as possible. This helps the child focus without contending with the extraneous noises which assists understanding and comprehension.
- Be sure to be near the student when giving vocal instructions and ask the student to repeat the instructions and prompt when necessary. Provide verbal clues often.
- Provide a quiet spot for the student to work whenever possible.
- Speak slowly and deliberately.
- Provide visual cues - on the blackboard or chart paper.
- Focus the student frequently and provide step by step directions - repeating when necessary.
- Use gestures that support understanding.
- Avoid correcting speech difficulties - this will lead to a weaker self esteem, it's much more important to model correct speech patterns.
- Touch base with the speech/language pathologist to ensure the correct accommodations are in place.
- The learning environment needs to be positive.
- Capitalize on the student's strengths as much as possible.
- Be patient when the child is speaking, rushing a child with difficulties magnifies the frustration level.