Classroom Strategies for Dealing with Learning Problems
Your child spends most of the school day in a classroom. In elementary school, this is usually one room with one teacher. What can be done with the classroom environment to help a child with learning disabilities? As a parent, there isn't much you can do about curriculum, materials and teaching style. But you can affect the teacher's attitude and the organization of the classroom. The following table presents positive suggestions that may be offered.
Classroom Ideas that May Help
|Hyperactivity||Place child in front of class near the teacher, away from windows and surrounded by calm children. Stimuli reduced areas may be created, for instance a reading corner with a carpeted and relaxed feel. Children with fine motor difficulty should be given the opportunity to participate in alternative activities like role play, math manipulatives and room chores.|
|Impulsivity||A behavior control plan with rewards and penalties should be posted in plain sight on a bulletin board. Impulsive children may be placed near the bulletin board as a constant reminder and incentive. All children should receive some level of positive feedback when they make an effort to behave.|
|Routine boredom may be overcome by mixing small group, whole class and learning center work. Presentations may be enlivened with emotion, color and objects that may be passed around. Unwanted noise may be masked by employing background music or a white noise source like a fan. To soften the constant scrape of chairs, tennis balls may be cross slit and pushed onto all chair legs.|
|All students need help with organization, but this is especially true of those with a learning disability. Students may be provided with color coded folders, pencil boxes and help organizing personal notebooks. It is important that homework assignments be made clear to students and verified by concerned parents.|
You start by meeting with the teacher and establishing a good relationship. For best results, you should appear as a concerned parent, willing to help the teacher and make school life better for all concerned. To begin, you can ask how your child is doing in class. Then bring up your child's specific problems like hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, distraction and disorganization. Find out what strategies the teacher employs to overcome these problems. If the teacher has good ideas, great. If not, the table above lists some ideas that might be worth discussing. Helping make your child more successful is in everyone's best interest. Successful children make a teacher's job more rewarding and make a classroom happier overall.
Homework assignments are an extension of the classroom. It is important that similar steps be taken to control the home environment. Your child should have a comfortable, quiet place to do homework. And you must make sure the assignments are understood and the work completed. If you help, make sure you model your thought processes so the path to a solution is as clear as the answer. Of course, rewards can be a big incentive and positive feedback is very important. If at all possible, avoid harsh criticism and help your children to feel they do good work and make you very proud.