Participate in early screening - Early identification of a potential learning disability is vital to a child’s long-term outlook. In order to begin to implement supportive measures early on, schools should begin screening for disabilities during early childhood and every time a new student enters their school. This way, students will begin to receive help before they miss out on important concepts such as reading.
2. Individualize education plans - When a student is diagnosed with a learning disability, it is important for an individual education plan to be developed that will identify the areas in which a student struggles so that the proper supports can be put in place to encourage their success.
3. Increase accessibility - A student should be able to move freely within a school to the best of their abilities. Therefore, wheelchair access, hand rails and other types of accessibility devices should be installed anywhere that a student may need to go in a building. For a student with a learning disability, this can also mean including access to a variety of study materials that are in a format that they can understand.
4. Educate teachers and staff - Because disabilities cover a broad range of different conditions, it is common for teachers and staff to lack experience with specific disabilities. However, when they are educated about how to help a student with disabilities in their school, teachers and other staff members are more likely to feel capable of helping a student to succeed.
5. Utilize technological resources - Advancements in technology have made it easier than ever before to support a student with disabilities in the classroom. For example, voice-to-text devices can enable a student who has difficult writing to be able to enter information into the computer. Additionally, videos, audio and other forms of media can enable teachers to present new information in a variety of ways.
6. Flexible scheduling - Students with disabilities often need extra time to get to class and complete classroom assignments. A student who has a learning disability that pertains to comprehension may need extra time when they are taking a test. Additionally, a student who has an attention disorder may need more frequent breaks from their work. When a flexible schedule is in place in the classroom, then frustration and stress will be relieved.
7. Offer parental resources - Supportive parents are very influential in a student’s academic life. When a student with learning disabilities comes home with homework, it often falls on the parent to find a way to help their child learn the material. For this reason, it is important to ensure that families have access to resources in order to provide them with emotional support, train them on how to help their child and to provide more information about their child’s disabilities.
8. Support through college - Often, a student with learning disabilities will discover that their support network dissolves upon graduation. However, the transfer to university can be very challenging for a student with learning disabilities. Because the ultimate goal for many students is to continue their education in college, more support needs to be given in order to help a student with a learning disability to develop independent study skills to help them through higher education.
Helping students with a learning disability to succeed in school requires a well-rounded approach that includes a supportive network of people that is made up of educators, school administrators, therapists and parents. When each of these people makes it their goal to implement positive supports in their classrooms, schools and homes, then students with a learning disability will develop the skills that they need to overcome their challenges and experience academic success.