Learning Disabilities: Supporting an inclusive classroom for student well-being, resiliency, mental health.

In today’s world, it is more important than ever to support students with learning disabilities early, in order to support their well-being, resilience, and mental health. According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s “Right to Read” Inquiry Report, students with learning disabilities are more likely to experience negative outcomes, such as lower academic achievement, increased risk of dropping out of school, and higher rates of mental health issues.

The Right to Read Report report highlights the importance of early identification and intervention for students with learning disabilities. By identifying and supporting students with learning disabilities early, we can provide them with the appropriate accommodations and resources they need to succeed in school. This can include things like specialized instruction, visual aids, and assistive technology.

Reading disabilities, such as dyslexia, can have significant and lifelong consequences on the well-being, resilience, and mental health of students. According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s “Right to Read” Inquiry Report, students with reading disabilities are more likely to experience negative outcomes, such as lower academic achievement, increased risk of dropping out of school, and higher rates of mental health issues.

The negative effects of struggling to learn to read can begin at a young age. Many students with dyslexia may feel like they have failed in school as early as age seven. When a student is not a proficient reader by the end of Grade 1, it predicts longer-term outcomes such as ongoing reading failure throughout schooling, dropping out of school, and developing psychiatric problems.

The difficulties that develop from having an unsupported reading disability are often interrelated, mutually reinforcing, and cumulative. For example, when a student loses confidence in their learning abilities, it affects their academic performance and self-esteem. Their impaired academic performance reinforces their poor academic confidence and low self-esteem, and contributes to social, mental health, and behavioral difficulties. The adverse effects can continue over the person’s lifetime, leading to increased risk of underemployment or unemployment, relying on social assistance, poverty, homelessness, criminalization, and even suicide.

It is essential that schools identify and appropriately respond to early reading difficulties to prevent these negative outcomes. Teaching students to read is the single most important task assigned to elementary schools, as it enables children to read to learn throughout their lifetime. Students who struggle to gain word reading accuracy and fluency fall further behind their peers in their ability to access all aspects of the curriculum in all subject areas.

It is important to mention that early identification and support for students with learning disabilities is not only beneficial for their academic success but also for their emotional and social well-being. These students may face challenges with self-esteem, self-regulation, and social interactions. By providing them with the appropriate resources and accommodations, we can help them to develop resiliency skills and improve their mental health.

The website “Right to Read Inquiry Report” by the Ontario Human Rights Commission provides several curriculum and instructional strategies that can support the well-being and resiliency of students with learning disabilities. Some of these strategies include:

  1. Differentiated instruction: This approach involves adapting instruction to meet the diverse needs of students with learning disabilities. This can be done by providing students with different materials, teaching strategies, and assessments that are tailored to their individual needs.
  2. Evidence-based instruction: This approach involves using research-based instructional strategies that have been proven to be effective in teaching students with learning disabilities. This can include strategies such as explicit instruction, graphic organizers, and scaffolding.
  3. Multi-sensory instruction: This approach involves using multiple senses to teach students with learning disabilities. This can be done by using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic methods to teach information.
  4. Collaborative learning: This approach involves working in small groups to encourage students with learning disabilities to share their knowledge, skills, and strategies.
  5. Self-regulated learning: This approach involves teaching students with learning disabilities how to monitor, evaluate and regulate their own learning, to set goals and strategies to achieve them, and to use self-reflection to evaluate their progress.
  6. Positive reinforcement: This approach involves providing students with rewards for positive behavior and academic achievements. This can help to increase their motivation and engagement in learning.
  7. Universal design for learning: This approach involves designing curriculum, instruction and assessment methods that are accessible to all students, including those with learning disabilities.
  8. Positive attitude: This approach involves fostering a positive attitude towards learning by providing a safe and supportive environment for students with learning disabilities.

Overall, these strategies can help to support the well-being and resiliency of students with learning disabilities by providing them with the tools and strategies they need to succeed in the classroom.

Further, the blog post “Boosting Resilience Through Creativity” by Edutopia discusses the idea that incorporating creative activities into a student’s learning routine can help to increase their resilience. For students with reading disabilities, incorporating creative activities can help to build their confidence and self-esteem, which can in turn lead to an increase in resilience.

One way to do this is to use creative writing as a tool to help students with reading disabilities express themselves and practice their reading skills. Encouraging students to write their own stories or poems can help them to develop their imagination, creativity and vocabulary. Additionally, allowing them to illustrate their writing can also help them to develop their fine motor skills and visual-spatial abilities.

Another way to increase resiliency through creativity is to use drama and role-playing to help students with reading disabilities to practice social skills, self-expression and problem-solving. This can be done by having students act out scenarios that they might encounter in real life and then discussing how they might handle them.

Finally, incorporating art and music into the curriculum can also help students with reading disabilities to develop their creativity and self-expression. This can be done by having students create art projects that reflect their emotions and thoughts, or by allowing them to compose their own music.

Overall, incorporating creative activities into the learning routine of students with learning disabilities can help to increase their resilience by building their confidence and self-esteem, as well as developing their imagination, creativity and problem-solving skills.

It is crucial that we take these recommendations seriously and take action to support students with learning disabilities early. By doing so, we can help ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in school, and to lead happy and fulfilling lives.

It is important to mention that early identification and support for students with learning disabilities is not only beneficial for their academic success but also for their emotional and social well-being. These students may face challenges with self-esteem, self-regulation, and social interactions. By providing them with the appropriate resources and accommodations, we can help them to develop resiliency skills and improve their mental health.

References

OHRC Right to Read Report

Boosting Reslience Through Creativity

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