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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?
                       Congratulations!




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