The information provided in modules one and two increased my knowledge and understanding of learning disabilities, difficulties, and differences, which I struggled to differentiate amongst for a long time. Analyzing the knowledge from the three subgroups influenced my thinking by expanding my previous analysis and correcting the assumptions I had gathered over time regarding what each category meant. I learnt about the differences and the similarities among the three categories that confuse most individuals (Myklebust, 1968). One of the ways module one affected my thinking was that it made me understand every group. Additionally, I understood the needs of every category. I learnt that learning disabilities are long-term disorders in a student’s life that primarily do not respond too well to interventions because they permanently shape a student’s life (Myklebust, 968). Otherwise, learning difficulties constituted the aspects influencing the common understanding of things. At the same time, the learning differences form unique ways and rates of learning that make up every student.
In module two, I went through references that described first-hand experiences of people living with a disability. I understood the various characteristics of several learning disabilities. For example, I learnt that dyscalculia is a learning disability where a student has difficulties dealing with any form of math, whether it is calculating the time, the money they have, or generally any numbers (Haberstroh et al., 2019). I also learnt that persons living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or in other words, ADHD, have problems focusing; at the same time, they are mostly distracted by almost everything (As/is, 2015). Listening to the experiences of the people who gave out the difficulties they go through living with disabilities made me understand and want to learn more to become more sensitive to the needs of people living with disabilities around me (Osmosis, 2017).
The first student, whom I shall refer to as Alex, struggles with reading and understanding, although his visual comprehension in areas such as dancing is easy for him. He is a sixteen-year old male who struggled with making friends (Krull et al., 2018) for some time before he found out that dancing worked for him, and he ventured into it. Alex also has problems with mathematics, which is like a whole new language that he does not comprehend (McKenzie, 2017). He has taken up some way of helping himself with jogging his memory through an arrowsmith. It helps him with speech math, which further boosts his confidence. I think Alex’s case of not being able to make friends the first time was not a reflection of his condition but of a stage, he overcame later on.
I will refer to my second student as Mike. He is a student who gets bored quickly, and when he does, he tends to call out people about everything. He speaks out his mind whenever he has the chance to. According to Mike, his concentration span is deficient, and he gets easily distracted by small things such as YouTube videos. His relationships with other people are not affected by his condition (Kaltura).
Additionally, Mike only has trouble understanding a particular language but not all. This is because, according to him, he is mainly bored by things that consume a lot of time, such as him memorizing a language (Australia, 2017). Mike’s only problem is that he is an extrovert who is outgoing, and there is nothing wrong with him.
As I will call him, Ben is a fourteen-year-old male who understands some units in learning but not others. His rate of grasping and comprehending various subjects is different from that of his peers in the classroom. He understands language, for example, slower than his classmates. He needs time to learn at his pace, which has been difficult for him since teachers thought it was his way of learning that was the problem (Kaltura). Nevertheless, Ben’s condition has did not affect his forming friendships or relationships with other people. He further partakes in a learning plan which he has implemented to help him cope. In my opinion, Ben’s self-diagnosis was wrong, and it may have affected him.
After my analysis, I have concluded that the first case of Alex is that of dyscalculia disability. Mathematics is the hardest for him, just as in the example of the lady in the film diagnosed with the same. Mike’s case is a learning difference (Mutlu, 2019). He has a unique way of learning that is different from others. Lastly, Ben has a learning difficulty. One example is when he cannot understand classes, typically like his fellows.
To begin with, as I noted in the case of Ben, his teachers thought there was a problem with his learning, whereas the problem was in their teaching of him. People with a learning difficulty, for instance, undergo the challenge of others thinking they are not good enough to understand something (Gilmore, 2009). Such as, in Ben’s scenario, the teachers thought he could not handle a particular area of study. I believe people such as Ben should be given a chance to speak up to understand. I would also suggest a fair growth environment for all persons whether at work or school.
For people with learning disabilities, just as in my case of Alex, he has struggled with math problems, and that may be something he lives with. It would be essential to show patience and give them time to work out the numbers, however long it may take (Mutlu, 2019). I also admire that Alex is an example to others with a disability like his. He started a plan to try and exercise his memory to try and understand numbers which is a positive reflection in society. People with learning disabilities should be allowed to express themselves, their fears, and their dreams, as well as what they go through every day they live with the disability.
In my analysis of Mike, I noted that he has an outgoing personality which makes him call out people now and then. This may be interpreted by other people the wrong way, just as in Mike’s case, where his teachers thought he was rude every time he spoke. It shows the challenges that a person with a learning difference may have to go through every day. I believe people should not be quick to judge others based on their appearance and behaviour without looking at what could be the cause (Krull et al., 2018). Just because people like Mike cannot concentrate for a long time should not mean we should disregard them. I advocate for people giving those with learning differences a chance to explain what they go through while trying to live everyday life. This could help more people that there are people who exhibit differences in learning from the rest of the population of people.
Therefore, people should be more understanding of the needs of other human beings. People with learning disabilities, differences or difficulties should be encouraged to explain their ordeals so that we may all learn how to appreciate the diversity around us.
Dyslexia – SPELD Foundation Literacy Services. (2014). Understanding learning difficulties: A practical guide. South Perth: Dyslexia – SPELD Foundation Literacy Services
Kaltura. Learning Differences. Student Voice Podcast 1 [Video]. https://www.kaltura.com/index.php/extwidget/preview/partner_id/1282131/uiconf_id/46265942/entry_id/0_55wsskb4/embed/iframe?
Kaltura. Learning Differences. Student Voice Podcast 2 [Video]. https://www.kaltura.com/index.php/extwidget/preview/partner_id/1282131/uiconf_id/46265942/entry_id/0_vq4baxbk/embed/iframe?
Kaltura. Learning Differences. Student Voice Podcast 3 [Video]. https://www.kaltura.com/index.php/extwidget/preview/partner_id/1282131/uiconf_id/46265942/entry_id/0_cyrcx13b/embed/iframe?
Gilmore, L., & Boulton-Lewis, G. (2009). ‘Just try harder and you will shine’: A study of 20 lazy children. Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools, 19(2), 95-103.
Learning Difficulties Australia. (2017). Learning Difficulties, Disabilities, & Dyslexia. LDA – Learning Difficulties Australia. https://www.ldaustralia.org/disabilities-and-dyslexia.html
SPELD Australia. Understanding Learning Difficulties – A guide to Parents. https://uldforparents.com/
Myklebust, H. R. (1968). PROGRESS IN LEARNING DISABILITIES. VOLUME I.
Mutlu, Y. (2019). Math Anxiety in Students with and without Math Learning Difficulties. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 11(5), 471-475.
Krull, J., Wilbert, J., & Hennemann, T. (2018). Does social exclusion by classmates lead to behaviour problems and learning difficulties or vice versa? A cross-lagged panel analysis. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 33(2), 235-253.
Haberstroh, S., & Schulte-Körne, G. (2019). The diagnosis and treatment of dyscalculia. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 116(7), 107.
As/Is. (2015, July, 20). What it feels like to have ADHD [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIcGRffuMLg
Osmosis. (2017, March, 8). Learning disability – definition, diagnosis, treatment, pathology [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKCNqHEzLwQ
McKenzie, K. (2017, April, 7). Lost in numbers/ a dyscalculia documentary [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-OMTViHwV0