Learning Differences, Distinctions, Disabilities

With support at home, early identification, and data-use to direct instruction kids with learning differences can succeed at learning!

Schools often deliver information and knowledge one way, making it hard on students that learn differently. This is changing with the advent of technology, assessments, flipped classrooms, etc., but not soon enough for most students with distinctions. It is important to look to the findings of neuroscience: each student is a unique and distinct learner. Today's educational system, for the most part, has not properly prepared classroom teacher with professional knowledge, tools, and implementation skill support needed to succeed instructing diverse student learning styles.

The goal of the Coletti/Haan Foundation for Children is to provide the scientific evidence on the importance screening, assessments, and differentiated, tier, evidenced-based instruction in general education classrooms. The goal is to identify children with learning differences and those at-risk for reading failure before they begin the first grade and provide them with support before the system grinds them down, before they lose their self-esteem, and before they lose their desire to learn. The National Center for Learning Disabilities is an excellent source for parents and teachers that you may wish to consult: www.ncld.org

As a parent, teacher or caregiver, you can greatly help your children. Although, all children are different, there are behavior patterns that manifest themselves more predominately in children with learning differences. We have listed some very common behavioral traits that will serve as red flags for parents and teachers. Use the checklist designed for pre-school children, to help identify your child's strengths and weaknesses. If several areas are difficult for your child, we ask you to seek professional assistance.


The goal of the HAAN FOUNDATION FOR CHILDREN is  to identify children with learning differences and those at-risk for reading failure before they begin the first grade; before the system grinds them down; before they lose their self-esteem and desire to learn.

As a parent, teacher or caregiver, you can greatly help accomplish this goal. Although, all children are different, there are behavior patterns that manifest themselves more predominately in children with learning differences. We have listed some very common behavioral traits that will serve as red-flags for parents and teachers.

Use the checklist below, designed for pre-school children, to help indentify your child's strengths and weaknesses. If several areas are difficult for your child, we ask you to seek professional assistance.

Language

1.  Can repeat nursery rhymes Yes   No
2.  Will pick up a book on his or her own during free play Yes   No
3.  Understands questions that are asked Yes   No
4.  Can follow directions in sequence Yes   No
5.  Can hear and repeat the differences in sounds Yes   No
6.  Knows the colors and can identify them quickly Yes   No
7.  Knows letters and can identify them quickly Yes   No
8.  Can sound out simple words Yes   No
9.  Can tell a story or relate an experience Yes   No

Ability to Focus

1.  Can wait for something without frustration Yes   No
2.  Can complete a project and sit still for a story Yes   No
3.  Will carry out request Yes   No
4.  Takes a moment to think about actions Yes   No
5.  Can focus without distractibility to complete a task Yes   No

Ability to Remember Information

1.  Can remember events Yes   No
2.  Can remember people's names and the names of places Yes   No
3.  Can remember numbers and number concepts Yes   No

Social Skills

1.  Can make and keep friends Yes   No
2.  Shows ability to tolerate and accept rules Yes   No
3.  Can accept changes in routine Yes   No
4.  Can work cooperatively in a group Yes   No
5.  Demonstrates good sportsmanship with peers Yes   No
6.  Can control frustration without outbursts Yes   No

Motor Skill Development

1.  Can walk, run and climb without difficulty Yes   No
2.  Can dress themselves Yes   No
3.  Can draw, write letters and cut paper objects Yes   No
4.  Can play age-appropriate games Yes   No

If your child is having difficulty with more than three of these tasks, please discuss the potential of learning differences with the child's pre-school or kindergarten teacher and pediatrician. Don't hesitate to seek assessment if progress is delayed or slow. The more quickly you can identify and provide instruction for a child, the more quickly they will soar to reach their potential!


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Glossary of Learning Disability Terms


A report, commissioned by our partners at the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, speaks directly to the importance of dyslexia and LD students' need to master reading by third grade About 2.4 million children and youth in the United States have been diagnosed with learning disabilities (LD). Unfortunately, many fail repeatedly in school before their needs are diagnosed and addressed.

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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Federal Disability Law

WHAT ARE LEARNING DISABILITIES?_

LDs affect how a person processes information taken in through the senses. LDs specifically refer to a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to obtain, remember, recall, understand, organize or use information that is presented to them.

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This book contains everything necessary for establishing effective IEP meetings. The former President of the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education, Chuck Noe, M.A., acknowledges this and says, "Martin's ideas work…" and he recommends this book to "anyone wanting to strengthen the quality of meetings and outcomes." The book targets the needs of administrators, teachers, resource professionals, and parents. It is a skills-based book that will help these groups to design, review, and modify IEPs for children with special education needs. Author: Nicholas Martin, M.A.


A Special Education: One Family's Journey Through the Maze of Learning Disabilities

The celebrated designer and author, Dana Buchman, knew almost nothing about "learning differences" when her daughter, Charlotte, was diagnosed with disabilities as a toddler. She soon discovered that the hard work and determination that had taken her from the Ivy League to her own fashion label wouldn't be enough to deal with Charlotte's disabilities; she would have to acquire a new skill set - to be able to see Charlotte as a person with unique abilities. A moving mother-daughter story, A Special Education is an inspiring account of one mother's journey to acceptance and understanding, as well as a family's triumph over daunting circumstances.

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English Language learners and Learning Disabilities

Dr. Elsa Cardenas-Hagan a bilingual speech-language pathologists discusses effective assessment and instructions strategies to encourage parents and teachers.

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Response to Intervention: Multitier system supports for student reading interventions in general education.

Watch this compelling video lecture on developmental disabilities, "Response to Intervention and Learning Disabilities" with renown researchers, Doug Fuchs, Ph.D., and Lynn Fuchs, Ph.D., Nicholas Hobbs Chairs in Special Education.

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Resource website links