Learning can be a challenge for any student, but it can be especially difficult for a student with a disability. The disabilities can cover a broad range: physical, cognitive, intellectual, invisible and undiagnosed disabilities. They can also be mental and/or sensory perception disabilities. Whatever they encompass, the issues these children face in the classroom can be much greater because of the unaccommodating, inaccessible, rigid framework that many schools and classes frame their education around.
A lot does exist to help students with disabilities. But we should have a solid understanding of what their issues actually are in order to find or create the best solutions.
Issues that students with disabilities face include (but are not limited to):
- Insufficient Funding. Most schools don’t have enough funds to provide disabled students with appropriate accommodations. This means the accommodations are truly what are going to help accommodate them. The schools will meet the legal accommodations, whatever is absolutely necessary or what is demanded of them. The issues of schools not having enough money is common for all students, simply worse for those with disabilities.
- Inaccessible Conditions. As many schools don’t have enough money and were built prior to legal requirement for access, this issue causes another difficulty for disabled students. Schools cannot provide students with accessible conditions to move and study in ways that are right for them. Ramps or elevators may be lacking, doors may be too heavy to open, inaccessible bathrooms or transportation. They may not have standing desks, flashing light signals (- instead of bells), captioned equipment.
- Lack of Individualization. Another typical problem is an inadequate curriculum. Most schools create curriculums for typically-developing students. They exclude the needs and of disabled students. By law students with disabilities have access to Individual Education Plans and also to 504’s, but many parents are not aware of these, nor school educations eager to teach parents about them.
- Troubled Communication with Peers. Unfortunately, mainstream culture, discrimination and stereotypes have the potential to create huge barriers between those with physical and/or mental disabilities and typically developing students.
- Lack of Specialists. Finally, many educational institutions don’t have specialists who can work with disabled children. Some administrations of schools and colleges don’t train their teachers and professors to interact well with any students, let alone students with disabilities. Education becomes almost ineffective and the curriculum is useless.
Typical Learning Disabilities
Learning disabilities are actually more common than not, so it’s useful to understand more about types of learning disabilities. They may be physical, psychological, hereditary, acquired. Let’s briefly mention them:
- Dyslexia. Very common. Students read text and comprehend the information in a unique way. Some cannot recognize letters or mix them up. Some don’t know how to break down words into separate parts of the speech in a single sentence. Oftentimes, they cannot distinguish words that sound or are written similarly.
- ADHD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is another typical disability, one which over 6.4 million children have. Children with ADHD may have problems with concentration and so, easily distracted. They may also hyper-focus.
- Dyscalculia. Math skills-related. People with dyscalculia may not recognize the numbers and may not have many methods to solve their tasks. They also face problems in managing time, measuring, and/or estimating.
- Dysgraphia. The writing version of dyscalcula, people with dysgraphia may experience difficulty writing.
- Processing Differences. Due to processing differences, students find it hard to make sense of sensory data. Students may not distinguish data or may not remember what facts are important within the mainstream educational contexts.
- Physical Disabilities. We should also mention physical disabilities, which radically affect a student’s learning experience, especially in an inaccessible setting.
Students with disabilities definitely face a host of issues in school, all directly related to access and appropriate accommodation.