My research topic is on students with disabilities. I am interested in this topic because I have had a few fellow classmates who had learning disabilities and I have always wondered what went on in their minds as the teacher was sharing information. This relates to Temple Grandin’s chapter From the Margins to the Mainstream because just like the book, my research question is searching for reasons why students with disabilities act differently, how do their brains function differently, and what solutions create a better environment to help them succeed. My research question was: what deficits do students with disabilities face in class and their subjects that make their learning methods different than most students, and how do they overcome it? Through research, my answer was that students with learning disabilities may have areas in the brain that may seem atypical compared to the average brain, and they would need different methods for learning than other students do, but the environment they’re in doesn’t make it any easier for them to learn with their deficits. Although, it doesn’t mean that their deficient in acquiring knowledge. It just means they face more challenges to succeed in things like remembering something, or speaking. This can be resolved through creating an environment where their deficits hardly ever show up, meaning the environment they are in hardly involves using their atypical area of the brain.
Students with learning disabilities have both mental and physical deficits that can hold them back from understanding what is taught in the classroom. According to a research by Allegheny College, some students with learning disabilities might have spatial perception problems, that causes them to confuse the distance of objects in a certain area. For example it might make something seem 100 feet away when it’s only 30 feet away (Allegheny College). Spatial perception issues affect students because if they’re in a classroom, and they are trying to focus on what is written on the board, it might seem too far for them to acknowledge what is taught. Or it might be distracting to focus on the teacher, when they notice that things they might see, turns out to be closer to them when they feel it in front of them. Spatial perception is important for a student to see what information is provided. Another issue students might face is called poor gross motor coordination. Allegheny College also found out that, “Poor gross-motor (large-muscle) coordination can result in clumsiness-knocking over things, bumping into people (Allegheny College)” This physical deficit will not only hold back the student from either writing properly or focusing while dealing with their body’s dysfunction. The student will also be self-conscious of his body, therefore, they won’t be able to focus. One more fact Allegheny College has come across is that, “Some LD students have difficulty retrieving information stored in the brain. They typically have more problems with short-term memory than long-term memory (Allegheny College)” The mental deficit students with LD face affect their ability to process information. If they have trouble remembering lessons, they might not be able to remember important pieces of information needed in tests and exams. Overall, the issues students with disabilities face cause them to delay or disorganized the function of learning on their grade levels.
In addition, students with disabilities also are troubled by their environment because it can be unsupportive to their brain’s deficits. An example of this idea comes from ReadingRockets.Org and it states, “Classrooms are crowded environments, arranged to maximize general, not close, observation of students. Being a member of a crowd is hazardous to Keesha’s ( a student with disabilities) learning; she fades into the woodwork. (Allegheny College)” Classrooms like the one Keesha works in can hold her back from completing her work. The issue with crowded classrooms is that the teacher can’t focus specifically on one student’s needs, instead, the teacher focuses on the most common, or reasonable issue. This holds students like Keesha back because they do not get personal assistance with their work, because their needs will most likely differ from other students’ needs. The Global Partnership for Education stated an idea of how the classroom environment might seem unsupportive to students with disabilities. They said, “Among marginalized groups, children with disabilities remain the most excluded, discriminated not only because of their disability but also because of lack of understanding and knowledge about its causes, implications and stigma. (GPE)” These students might feel like they don’t belong, because their minds are not like other students’ minds. They might have negative emotions because of the verbal abuse other students might say to them, and it can lower their self-esteem and reason to maintain a normal education. The Global Partnership for Education also researches the amount of children with disabilities who don’t go to school. Through research, they have found out that across the world, 90% of children with disabilities that come from a family or environment that has low-income, do not go to school (GPE). The fact that most of students with disabilities that live in poor environments don’t go to school, is a huge deal. They will miss out on the chance of getting an education, and hopefully getting a their dream job and acquiring an education. Without going to school, those students’ disabilities will become an even bigger factor as they get older. To sum it up, the environments that students with learning disabilities work in, nay not meet up with their needs, and it won’t provide clarification for them to understand what is taught in classrooms.
However, there are ways to for students with disabilities to be successful. A method I have researched is creating an environment where students’ disabilities can find motivation and support to become successful. An example of this is given by Marshall Raskind of the GreatSchools Staff. He tells us that it’s important for students with disabilities to practice self-awareness, which can be finding your deficits and learning to work around them, or find a subject that doesn’t involve using the skill you may have trouble with (Raskind). This idea is important to students with disabilities because it’s telling them to try to excel in a subject that they know they can succeed in, instead of trying to pass a subject where they know that they won’t be able to understand. Another method is given to us by the Reading Rockets Organization. There method was to make sure the teacher discusses and works intensively with a student with disabilities on subjects taught in the previous years that they still might have trouble with (Garnett). This method is important because if the student understands the information provided in the previous years, the work their grade level is responsible for completing may seem easier, and they will have more motivation in completing it. One last example talks about the importance of student with disabilities to socialize with others. He says that being anti-social can lead to negative results in the classroom, as the students may be nervous and shy to ask for help (Raskind). This idea can be vital in a student with disabilities road to a good education, because if they are able to make friends and cooperate with students in their class, they won’t be afraid to ask for help and get caught up with the work. What the evidence provided tells us, is that students who may have learning disabilities should practice skills such as self-awareness or relationship building, so they can have an environment where they can be productive.
In conclusion, students with disabilities can face physical and mental challenges that could hold them back from acquiring the knowledge the teacher provides for them. They might have trouble with either socializing with other students, or processing what it taught. This can be resolved from creating an environment where the student’s deficits hardly ever appear. My research has showed me that some challenges students my face may be mental, such as sequencing difficulties or perceptive issues, and they can be physical, such as poor-grass motor development. My research allowed me to understand how people who were born with deficits can succeed in subjects I wish to succeed in. I believe that I have a head start in life, and they face more obstacles than I do. One question I have after researching my topic is: How are students with disabilities treated or even discriminated by their teachers, classmates, or their school systems.
Garnett Kate. What are Classrooms like for Students with Disabilities? Reading Rockets. 2017. http://www.readingrockets.org/article/what-are-classrooms-students-learning-disabilities. Accessed. 2 March 2017.
Students with learning disabilities or ADHD. Allegheny College. 2017 http://sites.allegheny.edu/disabilityservices/student-with-learning-disabilities-or-adhd/. Accessed 2 March 2017.
Raskind Marshall. How do kids with disabilities become successful? GreatSchools Staff. 14 March 2016, http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/kids-with-ld-become-successful/?scrlybrkr. Accessed 6 March 2017.
Children with Disabilities. Global Partner for Education. 2017. http://www.globalpartnership.org/focus-areas/children-with-disabilities Accessed 6 March 2017