A Puzzling Paradox

Topics: Education, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Educational psychology Pages: 7 (1471 words) Published: May 20, 2015

The Puzzling Paradox Benchmark Assignment
Grand Canyon University- SPE 359
Abby Suggs
April 26, 2015

This writer was given an assignment of researching three questions related to learning disability. The three questions are: 1. what is a learning disability? 2. How do individuals with learning disabilities process information? and 3. What challenges are related to how these individuals process information? This writer has learned a lot about learning disability and special education all throughout this course, during this research, and during observation time in the classroom. Special education, a program developed in order to provide a free, appropriate education to all students, even those with special needs, was developed because of the passage of laws such as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA, Public Law 94–142), later known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and has evolved over the years based on updates in the law (Polloway, 2013). This essay details some of the things that this writer has learned.

Multiple and various disorders affect the learning of academic skills even in individuals with normal intelligence and maturity and similar opportunities to other individuals; definition, diagnosis, and treatment of learning disabilities is and always has been controversial (Bell, 2014). Controversy about the definition of learning disabilities between educators and those in the medical field arises mainly because of the many different characteristics that people with learning disabilities demonstrate. The medical field sees learning disabilities as disease with neurological dysfunctions and the education field focuses more on the academic problems of learning disabilities. Definitions developed by the United States Office of Education in 1977, the Board of the Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities in 1985, and the National Joint Committee for Learning Disabilities in 1981, share some commonality. (Bell, 2014). Poor academic functioning or academic deficits is one thing that is common to the definitions of learning disability most commonly accepted and this difficulty in academic functioning may occur in one or more subjects involving component skills such as comprehension, word knowledge, or applying arithmetic reasoning (Bell, 2014). Academic deficits also may involve basic skills such as listening, speaking, and thinking. Numerous teaching methods and strategies have been developed and practiced although none have been proven to be better than another but some strategies work better for some students and some problems than others. Some of these teaching strategies include perceptual training, multisensory teaching, modality matching, and direct instruction. Some professionals believe that problems with academic skills come from lack of perceptual skill so they use techniques to improve perceptual skills before trying to teach the academic skills (Bell, 2014). Teaching students by presenting information through several senses using tactile, auditory, visual, and kinesthetic exercises is the multisensory teaching technique. Teaching students using modality matching involves first determining what learning style best matches the student such as visual or auditory processing the teaching then focuses on that process. The teaching method called direct instruction, based on psychology principles, involves specific goal and teaching the specific skills while giving as many opportunities for the student to perform the skill as possible until it is mastered.

In describing students with exceptionalities a list of physical and psychological characteristics, demonstrated by this group of students, was given back in the 60’s which included 99 different characteristics of students with “minimal brain dysfunction” (Heward, 2010). Lists like this can be a problem because they may cause one to assume or look for...
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