Education of children with specific learning difficulties
Ogonda, Grace Osodo.
MetadataShow full item record
One category of learners that perplexes educationists and the parents alike, and one whose needs the education system in Kenya still does not address adequately is specific learning difficulties also known as learning disabilities. This is a condition in which one portrays a discrepancy between ability/potential and the actual performance in some specific areas of learning, in particular, the language skills and/ or mathematics. That is, the person affected may be of average or above average ability and in the absence of other disabilities, s/he experiences significant difficulties in acquiring and using skills in specific areas such as: basic reading, writing/spelling, spoken language, listening comprehension, mathematics calculation or reasoning. Because of the discrepancy, such learners are often misunderstood and labelled as lazy, stupid or slow learners by those who do not understand them and when not accorded adequate support, they may drop out of the education system or continue to struggle on their own leading to wastage of potential. However, with support, persons with specific learning difficulties usually maximize their potentials and make significant contributions to humankind. It is believed that people like Albert Einstein – the Mathematics genius, Wilson Woodrow – once a president of the US and Rockefeller among others had different presentation of this condition but learnt to compensate for its effects and overcame the challenges associated with it (Gearheart, 1995; Wong, 1995; Lerner, 1985). In Kenya, learners with specific learning difficulties are still not adequately supported by the education system. Though a few teachers have been provided with skills to support such learners in inclusive settings, the society including most teachers is not sensitized or aware of the fact that a bright learner can fail to learn to read, hence need specialized techniques to enable them compensate for their learning deficits. The need is still great. The Module is written for teachers in inclusive settings and begins by demystifying the condition by discussing what it is and what it is not, its possible causes and preventive measures, characteristics and classification since the group comprises a heterogeneous group of learners. The focus of the module however, is to provide teachers with relevant skills to identify learners with specific learning difficulties using informal assessment tools and to carry out instructional planning. Once the teachers know how to identify the learning needs, they instructed on how to conduct remedial instruction to address the individual needs of such learners within the inclusive or general classroom or resource rooms as well as how to keep progress reports.
- Faculty of Arts