Training teachers to recognize learning disabilities is on the minds of parents and schools across the country. Students with learning disabilities are less likely to form relationships with their peers and more likely to leave school without graduating. Educators working with children as young as preschool can identify the warning signs of dyslexia and other conditions, and pass along the information they find to the parents of those children. While there is some training used in this country, teachers usually do not receive any formal training to recognize learning disabilities.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities created a unique training kit for teachers and parents. Introduced in 1999, these kits went out to schools all across the state of New York. Educators received a videotape that showed them how kids with learning disabilities often act in the classroom and worksheets that they could pass out to their students. The National Center for Learning Disabilities hoped that the kit would increase awareness of those disabilities and make parents and teachers work together. Both educators and parents can still request similar kits from the organization today.
In addition to needing a state issued license, teachers working in schools today must have a degree in education. Many colleges offer a minor or a concentration in working with children with special needs. These classes often help teachers learn what they need to look for in the classroom and how they can help their students. Noticing the growing number of children with learning disabilities, some colleges now require that all education students take at least one class on teaching students with special needs. Even if not required, it is a good idea for all future educators to take at least one class on teaching special needs students.
Though there aren’t any specific programs designed for training teachers to recognize learning disabilities, educators can find information online. According to Abigail Marshall, many teachers turn to the Davis Dyslexia Association International for help. Launched in 1996, this organization offers on the job training and instructional workshops for teachers. Though the organization primarily focuses on dyslexia, it does cover some of the other, more common, types of learning disabilities. Schools can encourage teachers to take advantage of the online resources available through this organization and others. Schools can also arrange for the organization to host workshops on-site.
A Serious Problem
The lack of training given to teachers today is a serious problem. A large number of children suffer from learning disabilities. As a result, these children may pull away from their friends and peers, suffer from emotional problems, experience low self-confidence, and act out in various ways. This can cause classrooms to become unmanageable and can affect all students and teachers. Teachers trained to recognize learning disabilities and manage the learning experience for those students will be more successful in the overall educational experience for all of their students
Training teachers to recognize learning disabilities early on can help prevent problems and keep all kids interested in learning. While there are some programs and classes designed to help teachers, they usually need to find that information online or attend workshops and programs that they pay for themselves.