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Learning Disabilities: Theories, Diagnosis, and Teaching Strategies by Janet Lerner Chapter 8: Young Children with Learning Disabilities The Importance of the Early Years • The early years of a child’s life are critical for establishing a lifelong foundation for learning • Children do not begin to learn when they enter formal schooling • During the pre-school years, children develop at a rapid pace and need continuous and intense learning from the moment of birth • By the time they reach school, they should have mastered many types of learning • If they are not engaged in learning during the pre-school years, intellectual abilities will not grow optimally Benefits of Early Intervention • Helps children with disabilities • Gains in cognitive, physical, language, and social skills • Benefits families • Helps families manage the child • Reduces stress • Benefits society • Reduces need for institutional placement • Reduces need for special education • Saves money Percentage of Young Children Receiving Services • Impossible to know • Currently 4.6% of all how many 3 - 5 year preschool children in olds receiving special the US receive special education services education services have learning through the school, of disabilities these – 21% are 3 years old – 34% are 4 years old – 55% are 5 years old Precursors of Learning Disabilities in Young Children • Communication and oral language skills • Phonological awareness • Rapid naming skills • Knowledge of the alphabet • Visual-motor integration • Fine- and gross- motor skills • Attentional problems • Social skills Motor Development and Learning • Parents of children with learning disabilities often report that their • However, many child was slow in children with learning acquiring motor skills, disabilities exhibit no such as using eating problems, actually utensils, putting on excelling in motor clothes, buttoning a coat, skills catching a ball or riding a bicyle IDEA - 1997 • Recognized the need for physical education for exceptional children • IEP can specify • adapted physical education • occupational therapy • physical therapy The Value of Motor Skills and Physical Fitness • From Plato to Piaget, • Early childhood educators and educators view motor philosophers believe skill growth as a that there is a close cornerstone in the relationship between study of child motor development development and learning • Motor skill development is an important part of preschool curricula Concepts About Motor Learning • Human learning begins with motor learning • There is a natural sequence of developmental motor stages • Many areas of academic and cognitive performance are based on successful motor experiences Gross & Fine Motor Development • Gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the trunk, neck, arms, and legs – Development includes postural control, walking, running, catching, and jumping • Fine motor skills involve the small muscles of the hands and fingers as well as dexterity with the tongue and speech muscles – Development includes picking up small objects, cutting with scissors, grasping and using pencils and crayons, using a fork or spoon, manipulating small toys, stringing beads, buttoning, rolling and pounding, etc. Perceptual-Motor Theory • Newell Kephart thought that children who have normal perceptual-motor development establish a solid and reliable concept of the world, a stable perceptual-motor world, by the time they encounter academic tasks at age six. • Conversely, some children with learning disabilities have atypical motor development. They must, at age 6 and beyond, contend with a perceptual-motor world that is still unstable and unreliable. This creates problems with symbols, space, and time as well as organization both physically and cognitively. Sensory-Integration Theory • Comes from the field of Occupational Systems involved in Therapy sensory integration • A theory of the – tactile system relationship between – vestibular system neurological process – proprioceptive and motor behavior system Tests of Motor Development • Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency • Peabody Developmental Motor Scales • Purdue Perceptual-Motor Survey • Southern California Test Battery for Assessment of Dysfunction • Test of Gross Motor Development Perceptual Processing • Perception - the • Gestalt psychology - early process of recognizing 1900s in Europe and interpreting (primarily Germany) sensory information. – people have an innate – Ex.: a square is inclination to organize perceived as a whole information from the figure, not 4 separate environment and make lines sense of the world by bringing structure to what they perceive Perception is a learned skill Perceptual Modality Concept • Based on the premise • Three alternative that children (as well methods are available as adults) learn in for teaching: different styles – strengthening the – Auditory deficit learning mode – Visual – teaching through the – Tactile preferred method – Kinesthetic – combination of both methods Overloading of Perceptual Systems • A few children • Teachers should be experience information careful about using overload as one input multisensory methods system interferes with with these children, another instead finding a • Symptoms: simpler format to – confusion, poor recall, introduce the retrogression, refusal of information the task, poor attention, temper tantrums, or even seizures Auditory Perception • Auditory perception - interpreting what is heard • Phonological awareness • Auditory discrimination • Auditory memory • Auditory sequencing • Auditory blending Visual Perception • Visual perception - interpreting what is seen • Visual discrimination • Figure-ground perception • Visual closure • Spatial relations • Object-letter-recognition • Reversals • Whole-part perception The central problem of learning- disabled people: • “Their Gestalt is off.” • They don’t see or hear or feel part-whole relationships. • Difficulty in perceiving figure-ground relationships • These are not problems of acuity. They are problems of perception. The Gestalt Laws • Law of Closure • Law of Proximity • Law of similarity • Law of continuity • We will attempt to illustrate each of these. Gestalt Law of Closure • We are so accustomed to seeing closure that we sometimes close things that aren’t. • From “continui” to “continuing” is good closure • From “0” to “8” isn’t Do you see a couple or a skull? The law of proximity is Used often by band directors, for example x xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x x xx x x x x x x x x x xx x x x xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x What is this? (Having 48 bandsmen helps.) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x x x x x x Being the band director in Trinity, Texas, helps to solve this! Is the left center circle bigger? No, they're both the same size Gestalt Law of Similarity Which word doesn’t fit in this family? • Brain • Drain • Feign • Strain • Why not? Law of Similarity--2 • Although these 4 represent the same 3.5 quantity, why don’t 3 2.5 East • 4 + 4 + 4 +4 2 West • appear to be the same 1.5 North 1 as 0.5 South • 4x4 0 1st 3rd • ? Qtr Qtr Gestalt Law of continuity Once something is introduced as a series, the mind tends to perpetuate the series. 2, 4, 6, 8, ___ What number should go in the blank? Law of Continuity • Camouflage works for the military because human perception tends to continue visual lines that actually are broken and might represent troops, tanks, trucks, aircraft, or ships. Can you find the dog? Law of Similarity--2 • Although these 4 represent the same 3.5 quantity, why don’t 3 2.5 East • 4 + 4 + 4 +4 2 West • appear to be the same 1.5 North 1 as 0.5 South • 4x4 0 1st 3rd • ? Qtr Qtr Gestalt Law of continuity Once something is introduced as a series, the mind tends to perpetuate the series. 2, 4, 6, 8, ___ What number should go in the blank? Law of Continuity • Camouflage works for the military because human perception tends to continue visual lines that actually are broken and might represent troops, tanks, trucks, aircraft, or ships. Can you find the dog? It's a spiral, right? No, these are a bunch of independent circles Do you see an old man's face or two lovers kissing? For the LD student, his Gestalt works overtime, depicting designs that are finished when they really aren’t, or words that started one way but really didn’t finish the way he guessed, or numbers that are turned over, such as sixes for nines. Visual Processing Examples of Visual Perception Tasks Tactile and Kinesthetic Perceptions • Tactile Perception is • Kinesthetic Perception obtained by use of is obtained by use of touch, the ability to body movement and recognize an object by muscle feeling. touching it. The term Haptic is sometimes used to refer to both systems The Law and Young Children with Disabilities • IDEA 1997covers: – preschoolers (ages 3 - 5) – infants & toddlers (birth - 2) Preschool Children: Ages 3 - 5 • Preschoolers may have developmental delays in one or more of these areas: – physical development – cognitive development – communication development – social or emotional development – adaptive development Infants and Toddlers: Birth - 2 • The policies for infants and toddlers with disabilities are contained in Part C of IDEA-1997. • The interagency teams must use an individualized family service plan (IFSP) Legislation for Young Children with Disabilities Preschoolers Infants/Toddlers Age 3–5 Birth – 2 Eligibility Category of Developmental delay disability or developmental delay Plan IEP or IFSP IFSP Law Part B Part C Lead agency State Education Appointed by Agency Governor Transition To general or special To preschool program program Orientation Developmental Family, parent/infant learning of child interaction Children at Risk • These are children who are not presently eligible under the law for services but are seen to be at-risk for developmental delays if services are not provided • Though states are not required by law to serve these children, increasingly states are choosing to help by providing early intervention consisting of home visits, parent training and group meetings, attendance at child development center, pediatric surveillance, and community referral services. Why Intervene? • Environment affects the • Brain development prior number of brain cells, the to age 1 is rapid and connections among them, extensive. and the way the • The influence of early connections are wired. development on brain We now know that brain development is long development is extremely lasting. vulnerable to • Early stress has a environmental influences. negative impact on brain function. Categories of Risk 1. Established risk - children 3. Environmental risk - with an established children who are medical diagnosis of biologically sound but developmental delay whose early life 2. Biological risk - children experiences have been so who have a diagnosed limiting that they will physical or mental probably experience condition that has a high delayed development probability of resulting in (parental substance abuse, a developmental delay inadequate prenatal care, (very low birth weight) neglect, physical abuse) Stages of the Assessment Process 1. Child-Find: Locate children. Increase public awareness 2. Screening: Identify children who need further study. 3. Diagnosing: Determining extent of delay. Plan intervention. 4. Evaluating: Measure progress. Plan for transition. Areas of Assessment Physical Development Cognitive Development Social & Emotional Development Communication Development Adaptive Development Problems Related to Early Identification and Assessment 1. Children don’t mature at the same rate, so readiness may be only a matter of timing 2. Teacher’s low expectations can lead to a “self-fulfilling prophecy” 3. The assessment process isn’t perfect - some instruments may not be valid Early Childhood Programs • Early Childhood • Head Start Education Program of – Begun in 1964 under Children with Disabilities President Johnson (EEPCD) – intended to provide – sponsored by the US preschool education for Deptartment of Education environmentally at-risk children, ages 4- 5 – varied curriculum in rural and urban settings – impressive long-term results •Compensatory Early Childhood Programs •designed to compensate for the lack of stimulation and education in the home environment •High/Scope Perry Preschool Program Educational Placements for Young Children with Disabilities Other (Separate School, Resource Residential, Room Home/ 9% Hospital) 8% Regular Class Separate Class 52% 31% Placement Options • Inclusive Environments • Home-Based Services • Center-Based Services • Combination Services Inclusive Environments • Over 50% of preschool children • However, most public with disabilities are schools are not equipped placed in regular to serve 3 and 4 year-olds classrooms • Reverse mainstreaming • these are considered occurs when typical the least restrictive children are placed in environment special education classes Home-Based, Center-Based, and Combination Services • Home-based: parent • Combination: flexible becomes child’s programs that combine primary teacher with services for the child support services within the home and in • Center-based: the a center. The child may parent brings the child visit the center several to a central facility times a week and a where he/she receives professional may then services visit the child in the home every other week Transition to New Placements • Transitions for Preschool children – regular class – transition class – resource room – separate class – residential facility • Transitions for Infants and Toddlers – from personal one-on-one programs to larger groups of children Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) • Curriculum model – activities should be integrated across developmental domains based upon a – children’s interests and progress should be constructivist and identified through teacher observation cognitive philosophy – teachers should prepare the environment approach, to facilitate children’s active exploration emphasizing and interaction – child-initiated – learning activities and materials should be learning concrete, real and relevant – a wide range of interesting activities – exploratory play should be provided – child’s interests – the complexity and challenge of activities should increase as children understand the skills involved Enrichment Curriculum • Based upon the whole child • Both indoor and theory of early childhood outdoor play education. • Classroom typically • Premise: under favorable, contains special activity open circumstances the areas: child’s own inner drive will – a large block area naturally emerge and – dress-up and playhouse develop area – quiet play section • Field trips to broaden – creative arts areas child’s experiences Direct Teaching Curriculum • Straightforward and structured teaching of specific learning skills • Early intervention implies direct teaching • Teacher’s role is to plan and structure learning experiences carefully to lessen developmental delays and secondary learning disabilities Cognitive Emphasis Curriculum • Based on the ideas and theories of cognitive psychology (Jean Piaget). • Curriculum encourages experiences and actions that help build thinking skills Early Intervention Strategies • Gross-Motor Development Activities • Fine Motor Activities • Body Awareness Activities • Auditory Processing Activities • Visual Processing Activities • Tactile and Kinesthetic Processing Activities A Card for Segmenting Speech Sounds Using Computer Technology • Computers can help • With a computer, children young children with learning disabilities develop independence, are able to control their self-help skills, motor environment and make control, visual and decisions. auditory concepts, • Speech synthesizers allow language skills, the computer to “talk” to cognitve skills, and the child other precursor skills • Alternative keyboards are available Key Terms • Adaptive physical education - physical education programs that have been modified to meet the needs of students with disabilities • Auditory blending - the ability to synthesize the phonemes of a word. In auditory blending test, the individual sounds of a word are pronounced with separations between each phoneme sound. The child must combine the individual sounds to say and recognize a word. • Auditory discrimination - the ability to recognize the difference between phoneme sounds; also the ability to identify words that are the same and words that are different when the difference is a single phoneme element (e.g., big-pig). • Child-Find - ways of finding young children with disabilities in the community. • Children at risk - children at risk for poor development and learning failure. Three categories of risk are: established risk, biological risk, and environmental risk. • Developmental delay - a term designating a child’s slowness in a specific aspect of development, such as cognitive, physical communication, social/emotional, or adaptive development. Considered a noncategorical assessment term for identifying a child with disabilities for services. • Developmentally appropriate practie (DAP) - guidelines for a curriculum for young children based on a constructivist philosophy emphasizing child-initiated learning, exploratory play, and the child’s interests. • Direct teaching curriculum - a curriculum based on direct instruction of specific preselected learning and academic skills. • Enrichment curriculum - a preschool curriculum based on a maturational view of child development. The “traditional” program nursery schools assume a natural growth sequence of the young child’s abilities within a nurturing environment. • Home-based program - a system delivering intervention services to very young children in their homes. The parent(s) becomes the child’s primary teacher. A professional child care provider goes to the home, typically one to three times a week, to train the parent(s) to work with the child. • Head Start - a preschool program intended to provide compensatory educational experiences for children from low-income families who might otherwise come to school unprepared and unmotivated to learn. Head Start is sponsored by the Office of Child Development. • Inclusive environment - placing children with disabilities in an inclusive or regular classroom with typical children. • Occupational therapist - a therapist who is trained in brain psychology and function and who prescribes exercises to improve motor and sensory integration. • Part B - the part of IDEA-1997 that refers to regulations for children with disabilities in reference to early childhood education; Part B can provide services for children ages 3 through 9. • Part C - the part of IDEA-1997 that covers infants and toddlers, from birth through 2 years. • Perceptual modality concept - the notion that individuals have preferred channels for learning (auditory, visual, etc.). Information on the child’s perceptual strengths and weaknesses is used in planning instruction. • Perceptual-motor theory - the theory that a stable concept of the world depends on being able to correlate perceptions and motor learning. • Phonological awareness - a child’s recognition of the sounds of language. The child must understand that speech can be segmented into syllables and phonemic units. • Screening - a type of assessment using ways to survey many children quickly to identify those who may need special services. • Transition - the process of going from one type of placement to another. • Sensory integration theory - a theory expounded by occupational therapists emphasizing the relationship between the neurological process and human behavior. The theory highlights three sensory systems: tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive. • Sound counting - activities to help children count the number of sounds in a word. Counters (such as Popsicle sticks or tongue depressors) are often used. • Visual perception - the identification, organization, and interpretation of sensory data received by the individual through the eye. Before you go on…. STOP How about a little review? # 1 Can you... • Describe the reasons for early identification and intervention of young children with learning disabilities? # 2 Can you... • Describe the precursors of learning disabilities in the early childhood years? # 3 Can you... • Explain the basic concepts underlying theories of motor development? # 4 Can you... • Discuss how problems in perceptual processing relate to learning disabilities? # 5 Can you... • Describe the features of IDEA-1997 that support early childhood special education? # 6 Can you... • Describe the phases of the assessment of youn children and the types of assessment measures at each stage? # 7 Can you... • Discuss early intervention strategies for motor development and perceptual processing? # 8 Can you... • Explain phonological awareness and its role in learning to read? # 9 Can you... • Describe the programs and types of placements for providing services to young children and their families? # 10 Can you... • Compare and contrast four early childhood curriculum models? # 11 Can you... • Discuss the use of computer technology with young children with learning disabilities? 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