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Learning Disabilities In my teaching career I have worked with a variety of students with a multitude of Learning Disabilities.

From students with Dyslexia to Dysgraphia, slow processing speed to weak working memory, often students would have similar learning characteristics but a unique way in which they confront the challenges of a classroom. For example, many of the students with a learning disability struggle with organization, have difficulty bring appropriate materials to class, initiating tasks individually and are challenged to hand in assignments on time. On the other hand, while some shut down when presented with a task that overwhelms them, others spend countless hours in extra help because they knew they learn better oneon-one. The main concerns that I have with teaching students with learning disabilities are the dependence on external tutors and pacing lessons so all students are engaged. While the students I teach are very supported by a number of outside services, unfortunately, many rely heavily on their tutors to be there to do their homework with them. They lacked confidence to do things on their own, leave work until they last minute to meet with their tutors and as a result get further behind. A second concern I have when teaching students with learning disabilities is that it can be challenging to negotiate the pace of learning in a classroom with students with learning disabilities, average intelligence and giftedness. I find that teaching can be a delicate balancing act of trying to keep all learning types engaged while ensure that all students are meeting with success. In working with students with learning disabilities I have found that the safer they feel in a classroom and the more they understand their learning strengths and areas of need the better they are at advocating for themselves and meeting the expectations of a classroom. I do multiple activities throughout the year that have students reflect on their strengths, interests and needs which helps to give me an idea as to how best to support their learning. In order to assist students to gain confidence in their skills and help them initiate work in class I find that breaking tasks into smaller parts with specific timelines (often negotiable based on the student) helps to keep students organized and feel that their work load is more manageable. Frequent check-ins during individual and small group work also help students who might be struggling to initiate a task. Writing a schedule and homework on the board and giving students time at the end of class to record homework in their agenda (or take a picture with their cell phone) has also helped with organization. Our school also has an online learning commons where I post my lesson plan for the day including all, notes, handouts and presentations and a list of materials that need to be brought to class. When possible I post one week in advance so students have an idea of what to expect, can print note outlines off ahead of time, read ahead or find out what they missed if they are not in class. In the future I would like to employ more strategies such as tiered assessments as discussed by Hutchinson (2014, p.75,76) where teachers design a range of distinct

assignments ranging from simple to complex that focus on key learning outcomes to help differentiate assignments for all students. I would also like to teach students a system and strategies for seeking assistance and moving on if help is not immediately available such as Assistance Cards or Study Buddies as discussed by Reid, (1999, p. 18) in which students have cards that say please help me and please keep working. Students can flip the please help me card over if they need assistance, while the teacher may flip the please keep working card over if they are occupied with another students, acknowledging the student needs help but cueing them to move on to the next task. In the study buddy technique students are paired with a peer who can provide assistance. References Hutchinson, N. (2014). Inclusion of Exceptional Learners in Canadian Schools: A practical handbook for teachers. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Pearson . Reid, R. (1999). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Effective methods for the classroom. Focus on Exceptional Children, 32(4), 1-20.