K-12 CAMS

Learning Disabilities

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K-12 CAMS for Students with Learning Disabilities

Individuals with learning disabilities may experience any of the limitations discussed below.  The degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Not all students with a learning disability will need CAMS (compensations accommodations, modifications, strategies) to perform in school and many others may only need a few CAMS. Regardless, each student’s case should be evaluated on an individual basis with an Independent Needs Assessment Protocol done by an Educational Strategist & Consultant or a Special Educational Needs Consultant (SEN).  The following is a sample of possible CAMS for students with learning disabilities.  Other CAMS solutions may exist so check with an Educational Strategist & Consultant or Special Educational Needs Consultant (SEN) for more information.          

 

Consider:

1. What limitations the student with a learning disability is experiencing?

2. How these limitations affect the student and the student's school performance?

3. What specific activities or tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?

4. What CAMS are available to reduce or eliminate these problems?

5. Are all possible resources being used to determine possible CAMS?

6. Has the student with a learning disability been consulted regarding possible CAMS?  Does the student know how s/he learns best?

7. Once CAMS are in place, would it be useful to talk with the student and/or team to evaluate the effectiveness of the CAMS and to determine whether additional or different CAMS are needed?

8. Do parents and school staff need training regarding learning disabilities?

9.  Schedule time to meet with the Educational Strategist & Consultant or Special Educational Needs Consultant (SEN) to determine how to communicate needed CAMS with the school team and how to document.

 

CAMS:

Reading: Students with learning disabilities may have limitations that make it difficult to read text. Because it can be difficult to visually discern letters and numbers, these characters may appear jumbled or reversed. Entire words or strings of letters may be unrecognizable.

Reading from a paper copy:

Convert text to audio

Provide larger print
Double space the text on print material
Use color overlays (Irlen lenses) to help make the text easier to read
Provide materials that are type-written, in a font that is not italicized; if handwritten material must be provided, use print, not cursive
Have someone read the document aloud to the student
Scan the documents into a computer and use Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which will read the information aloud
Use a reading pen, which is a portable device that scans a word and provides auditory feedback

Reading from a computer screen:

Use voice output software, also called screen reading software, which highlights and reads aloud the information from the computer screen
Use form-generating software that computerizes class work, homework, outlines, and other paper activities
Use manual or electric line guide to help individuals "keep their place" on the computer monitor
Alter color scheme on computer screen to suit the student's visual preferences
Adjust the font on computer screen to suit the student's visual preferences

Spelling: Students with learning disabilities might have difficulty spelling, which can manifest itself in letter reversals, letter transposition, omission of letters or words, or illegible handwriting.

Allow use of reference materials such as dictionary or thesaurus
Provide electronic and talking dictionaries
Use word prediction software that displays a list of words that typically follow the word that was entered in a document
Use word completion software that displays sample words after someone starts typing part of a word
Allow peer or staff to proofread written material

Writing: Students with learning disabilities might have difficulty with the cognitive or the physical process of writing.

Cognitive process of writing: Students with learning disabilities might have difficulty organizing a written project, identifying themes or ideas, structuring sentences or paragraphs, or identifying and/or correcting grammar errors.

Use Inspiration software, a computerized graphic organizer
Use Texthelp Read & Write Gold, a software program assisting with spelling, reading, and grammar.
Provide electronic/talking dictionaries and spellcheckers
Create written forms to prompt the student for needed information
Allow the individual to create a verbal response instead of a written response
Permit use of reference books such as a thesaurus or dictionary

Physical process of writing: Students with learning disabilities may have difficulty with the physical

process of writing. It may be difficult to fill in blanks, bubble in dots, line up numbers or words in a column, on a line, or within a margin. Handwriting may be illegible.

Provide writing aids
Use line guides and column guides
Supply bold line paper
Permit type-written response instead of hand-written response
Allow use of personal computers, including Alpha Smart, Palm, tablet PC, and Blackberry
Use Inspiration software, a computerized graphic organizer
Use speech recognition software that recognizes the user's voice and changes it to text on the computer screen

Mathematics: A student with a learning disability could have difficulty recognizing or identifying numbers, remembering sequencing of numbers, understanding the mathematical sign or function (whether symbol or word) or performing mathematical calculations accurately and efficiently.

Use scratch paper to work out math problems
Permit use of fractional, decimal, statistical, or scientific calculators
Provide talking calculator
Use calculators or adding machines with large display screens
Use a math calculator
Provide talking tape measure or other measurement guides
Post mathematical tables at desk or in work area

Speaking/Communicating: Students with learning disabilities may have difficulty communicating with peers or staff. For students with learning disabilities, poor communication may be the result of underdeveloped social skills, lack of experience/exposure in the school environment, shyness, intimidation, behavior disorders, or low self-esteem.

To help facilitate communication, provide advance notice of topics to be discussed in class
To reduce or eliminate anxiety, provide advance notice of date of activities when student is required to speak
Allow student to provide written response in lieu of verbal response
To reduce or eliminate the feeling of intimidation, allow student to have a friend or classmate speak with him

Organizational Skills: A student with a learning disability may have difficulty getting organized or staying organized.

Help student reduce and learn how to reduce clutter in his/her work area
Utilize a professional organizer to teach the student
Use color-code system to label or identify materials
Use calendars (paper, electronic, or both) to remind of deadlines, activities, projects, and other upcoming tasks
Build organization skills by attending time management workshops, like those offered by Franklin Covey
Build organization skills through online self-education sites
Build non-stressful "catch up" time into school week or school day

Memory: A student with a learning disability could have memory deficits that affect the ability to recall something that is seen or heard. This may result in an inability to recall facts, names, rules, and other pertinent information, even if such information is used regularly.

Provide checklists to help remember tasks and activities
Use flowchart to describe steps to a task (such as responding in class, turning in homework)
Post lists of crucial information such as in poster format around the classroom
Prompt student with verbal, non-verbal, or written cues
Allow student to use voice activated recorder to record verbal instructions
Provide additional instruction time on new information or tasks
Provide refresher instruction as needed

Time Management: A student with a learning disability may have difficulty managing time. This can affect the student’s ability to organize or prioritize tasks, adhere to deadlines, maintain productivity standards, or work efficiently.

Make to-do lists and check items off as they are completed
Use calendars to mark important meetings or deadlines
Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and goals                                          Teach student how to divide large assignments into smaller tasks and goals
Frequently remind student in a variety of ways of important tasks, expectations, or deadlines

Social Skills: Students with learning disabilities may have difficulty exhibiting appropriate social skills in one or more settings. This may be the result of underdeveloped social skills, lack of experience/exposure, shyness, intimidation, behavior disorders, or low self-esteem. This can affect the student's ability to adhere to conduct standards, work effectively with teachers, or interact with peers or family.

Behavior at school:

To reduce incidents of inappropriate behavior, thoroughly review and instruct on school rules with the student                                                                                      Do not penalize during the learning curve
Provide concrete examples to explain inappropriate behavior
Provide concrete examples to explain results of inappropriate behavior
To reinforce appropriate behavior, recognize and reward appropriate behavior, in an appropriate manner

Working effectively with staff:

Provide detailed day-to-day guidance and feedback
Offer positive reinforcement
Provide clear expectations and the results of not meeting expectations
Give assignments verbally, in writing, or both, depending on what would be most beneficial to the student

Establish long term and short term goals for the student
Adjust supervisory method by modifying the manner in which conversations take place, meetings are conducted, or discipline is addressed                                           Provide sensitivity training to promote disability awareness

Interacting with peers:

Provide sensitivity training to promote disability awareness
If feasible, allow student to work at home or in an alternate environment
Help student "learn the ropes" by providing a mentor or coach
Make accommodations for attendance or participation under specific circumstances
Allow student flexibility to transfer to another group or seating area

Situations and Solutions:

A student with a learning disability has difficulty spelling words correctly. The SEN Consultant recommended the teacher provide access to a spelling key so the student can check for accuracy while completing work.

The student has an expressive writing disorder. The student's tasks include gathering information for written reports. To accommodate this student the SEN Consultant suggested use of Inspiration software was provided to help the student organize, prioritize, and then outline the information for reports. The student was also provided a hard copy dictionary and thesaurus.

A student has a learning disability. The student has difficulty remembering task sequences for participating in class. The SEN Consultant worked with the parents to create written/picture instructions, whereby each major task is broken down into smaller, sequential sub-parts. Each subpart was color-coded for easy reference (such as green means start, red means stop).

2006 Claudia Lowe, SENC  ......  adapted from www.jan.wvu.edu