Many children of normal or superior intelligence do not perform well in school. Do some of these symptoms seem to apply to your child?
• Difficulty in learning to read or spell
• Reverses letters, syllables and words
• Cannot understand written or spoken words
• Struggles with math calculations and/or concepts
• Gets upset over changes in established routine
• Easily distracted - short attention span
• Lacks continuity of effort and perseverance
• Often hyperactive and restless - easily confused and impulsive
• Avoids homework or gets very frustrated working on homework
• Becomes stubborn, uncooperative, overly apprehensive and illogical
• Feels sad, anxious, and/or irritable, particularly on school days
At times, these conditions have been described by various professionals as learning disabilities, perceptupal handicaps, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, developmental aphasia, etc. Yet these children have great potential for success when given appropriate and timely help. Innovative educational methods based on theories of child development, can help them achieve potential within a regular or special education classroom. Children who struggle in school may develop anxiety and/or depression because school is a primary activity in their lives and they are unable to meet the expectations of parents, teachers, or themselves. Some of them may benefit from medication, some from nutritional and diet control, all need academic support, emotional support and cooperation between parents and professionals.
Learning difficulties often stem from difficulties with perception. Perception is the process of understanding experience then comprehending and organizing the information given by the senses. Without consistent perception it is difficult to separate ideas, words or sounds; to discriminate between the important and irrelevant; to coordinate and use information effectively.
To illustrate, the individual may be experiencing one or more of the following difficulties:
Visual: Has considerable difficulty remembering what words look like even after much exposure to them; or he may transpose words (“was” for “saw”); or he may have trouble focusing on a word.
Auditory: May confuse similar words, such as “lecture” for “electric” or will transpose sounds or syllables, such as “plasket” for “plastic”, “aminal” for “animal.” Also, background noises disorganize his learning ability.
Thinking: Ideas are often out of order, characterized by poor sequencing. He/She has trouble following directions and following through until tasks are complete.
Language: Usage of words may be confused or poorly organized. Self expression may be difficult with a tendency to use only basic vocabulary.
Movement: May be awkward in coordinating his arms and legs, may be a slow writer or may have illegible hand writing. Often he/she has poor integration of vision and movement, and very often cannot determine the consequences of a particular movement.
It must be emphasized that these examples constitute only a few of the problems experienced by these children and adults.
Identification of the learning disabled child is difficult because the symptoms and deficits can be exhibited occasionally (but not continually) by all children.Therefore, having a complete evaluation is important to assess and diagnose cognitive, perceptual and academic strengths and weaknesses. Participating in a program designed to address their specific needs can improve their skills and the quality of their lives. Today the future is bright for students with learning difficulties. They can lead normal and productive lives. Many can go to college and become respected leaders of their community....
If . . . their problem is correctly diagnosed.
If . . . they are provided with specialized attention.
If . . . they are treated with compassion and understanding.
If . . . instead of pity - they are given the tools to help themselves.
People in the Mahoning Valley are fortunate because there is a non-profit, tax deductible, centrally located learning center available and ready to help with these learning difficulties. ACLD Learning Center is equipped to evaluate learning problems and offer effective solutions. This program specializes in tutoring individuals ages 41/2 through adulthood who are having the following problems:
• Reading, Math and/or Written Expression skills below age/grade level expectations
• Learning Disabilities
• Attention Problems that Affect Learning
• Mild Early Sensory & Language Delays
• Perceptual Motor Difficulties
The most effective approach to strengthening learning skills is through individualized tutoring, often in conjunction with perceptual motor training.
To individually prescribe academic remediation for reading, writing and arithmetical skills and to individually prescribe auditory, visual and motor activities to strengthen underlying difficulties.
Professional recommendations for remediation will be implemented by trained professionals in each of these fields.
This complete evaluation, offered at ACLD Learning Center, is optional and not always necessary before enrolling in the tutoring program. The pscho-educational evaluation involves two to three hours of assessment time. Approximately two weeks later there will be a parent conference with a written report and specific recommendations. Our diagnostician will then talk to school personnel if requested by the parent/guardian.
The pscho-eduacational evaluation explores:
• Organizational skills
• Academic skills
• Reading Accuracy
• Phonetic Ability
• Auditory Discrimination
• Auditory Memory
• Visual Memory
• Perceptual Motor Efficiency
Individual Tutoring and Programs
Diagnostic screening instruments are always given at the onset of tutoring to measure the student's skills and design a program that meets his/her needs.
Those enrolled usually attend a 60 minute session. The frequency of the sessions may range from 1 to 3 times per week, depending on the prescribed needs. Most children benefit most from attending two sessions each week.
Diagnostic Tests: The ACLD Learning Center uses diagnostic tests to determine your child’s approximate level of academic functioning. These tests are designed to identify strengths and weaknesses. This allows us to set goals for your child and meet his or her individual needs.
Developmental Program: The ACLD offers a developmental program that includes training in Visual Perception, Auditory Perception, and Perceptual Motor Skills. This program is designed to help build your child’s underlying learning skills, as well as, remediate specific kinds of developmental problems.
Visual Perception: This program helps students handle the way visual information is perceived, interpreted, and stored in the learning process. It involves skills such as: visual discrimination, visual memory, visual closure and position in space.
Auditory Perception: This program helps students handle the way auditory information is perceived, interpreted and stored in the learning process. It involves skills such as: auditory discrimination, auditory memory, and auditory closure (sound blending).
Perceptual Motor Skills: This program incorporates movement activities designed to strengthen the student’s balance, eye hand coordination, body awareness, position in space, integration of movement and sensory skills. It also targets organizational, fine motor, and memory skills.
Reading Skills: Reading recognition involves being able to sight read or decode words. Reading comprehension involves understanding what is read.
When evaluating reading, scores can be classified as these three levels: independent, instructional, and frustration reading levels:
Independent – 94% accuracy and above
Instructional – 93%-84% accuracy
Frustration – below 83% accuracy
Math Skills: Students are evaluated in the areas of understanding concepts, computation, and applied skills in problem solving. The concepts include: numeration, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis.
Written Expression: Students work to develop written communication skills, focusing on the writing process (steps in writing), applications (types of writing), and convention (grammar, spelling, punctuation). We start with writing good sentences and build to various types of essays, including comparison/contrast, descriptive, persuasive, and correspondence. Students also learn to answer two and four point response questions that are commonly found on the OAA and OGT.
Grade Equivalency: These scores are used as approximate grade levels to give us a starting point for your child and also allows us to demonstrate progress and growth. Scores on diagnostic tests may vary.
Goals: We use the State Standards to select appropriate goals for each child. Some of the goals may not reflect the grade level your child is in because we may need to back up and develop lower level skills and knowledge.
Assessment of Goals: After students practice and master new skills and knowledge, they will receive and informal assessment. The results will be reported in the monthly progress reports.
Parent Conferences: The ACLD Learning Center will schedule parent conferences near the end of the school year and again at the end of summer tutoring. You will have the opportunity to meet with your child’s tutors to discuss his or her progress.
ACLD Learning Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Sessions for children take place during after school hours. For a tour of the learning center or for more information, call (330) 746-0604.
ACLD Learning Center offers a complete, on-going, comprehensive tutoring program throughout the school year as well as during the summer months. Students who struggle with learning often experience a deterioration of skills without support over the summer.
Summer tutoring on an hourly basis is available Monday through Thursday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm. This is the same tutoring program offered after school throughout the school year.