Are Schools Prepared to Help Struggling Students? See 8 useful Apps for Android and iOS
Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Hi everyone, let me tell you a story, I was enrolled in a school at the age of five in my small town, the memory of my first day is still fresh in my mind, and I also remember the exact moment I learned to read the vowels, the importance of the cardinal points, to identify the shapes and colors; Definitively each of these achievements was a magic moment in that stage of my life. Learning with my back against the wall of my classroom, and a window overlooking the garden and a small playground, it was so exciting waiting for our playtime to enjoy outdoors.
However, there were some tense moments as well, I remember when my teacher said to one of my classmates that he was "slow learner" and besides that, she said that he was not trying hard enough; as a result, he cried in front of everyone, andunfortunately it happened more than once 😕 sad story, I know. Of course, I have to say that it occurred decades ago (literally last century) and I am sure that it is something that wouldn't be tolerated in school environment nowadays (hopefully). Sometimes I catch myself thinking of that situation; what happened to that boy? Or has he been able to cope with that trauma?
We're halfway through 2019, and I think that for some people, learning curve or learning disabilities are still delicate or controversial topics. It means that discussing about it is necessary to not only find solutions to problems but to further our cultural intellect as a whole society. According to the World Report on Disability approximately one billion people in the world are living with a disability, with at least 1 in 10 being children and 80% living in developing countries. Thus, it represents a large number in nurseries and schools around the world, but how can educators differentiate them from children with a specific and particular learning curve?
Why do some children’s learning and attention issues remain undetected or unsupported in school?
Ronald Dell Davis, a specialist in cognitive development and author of The Gift of Learning, states that teachers and educators must be prepared to identify certain issues. Also, there are children with low motivation for school activities and children with real learning difficulties. This is a serious and challenging problem, so educators should be well aware of ways to deal with it. But first let's see what we understand by learning disability. Davis explains that the difficulty of learning is a disorder that is intertwined with certain deficits that affect the pedagogical capacity of the child.
In general, students identified with learning disabilities are quite similar to others, but merely show, through small gestures and behaviors, a slightly higher than an average learning curve. This does not nullify their strengths at all, but these students may face challenges such as: difficulty maintaining attention in the face of distractions, difficulty with tasks involving abstract reasoning, low motivation for academic tasks, low motor capacity, low social skills, short memory, difficulty following instructions, inability to discriminate letters, numbers or sounds, low reading and or writing ability, coordination problems, difficulties with sequencing, disorganization and other sensory difficulties, among others.
The British Dyslexia Association is an organisation that aims to promote the early identification of specific learning difficulties (SpLD) and support in schools to ensure opportunity to learn for dyslexic learners. This organisation points out that 10% of the population are dyslexic, and 4% severely so. Dyslexia is identified as a disability as defined in the 2010 Equality Act.
Many dyslexic people across the UK, whether adults or children, are unable to fulfill their potential, as a large percentage of the population still do not understand what dyslexia is, the difficulties the condition presents and do not know how best to support them. Dyslexia is not an obvious difficulty; it is hidden. As a result, dyslexic people have to overcome numerous barriers to make a full contribution to society. In this context, Christine Clark (Commonwealth Learning Centre) points out that there is an incredible list of dyslexics who have impacted our world, such as Einstein, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Da Vinci, Spielberg and George Washington, among others.
The American Psychiatric Association, in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, emphasizes that learning is something individual, so all teachers and educators need to understand that no child will be equal to another. On the contrary, each individual develops a specific rhythm for learning. The aforementioned specialist Ronald Dell Davis points out that, unfortunately, within this context, there are several situations in which teachers restrict themselves to teaching only those most endowed of knowledge, and as a consequence, they neglect to teach those who present some learning difficulties, or have below-expected performance.
If parents or child-carers notice any particular characteristics in a child as mentioned in the previous paragraphs, there is no reason to panic; Davis explains that the evaluation of dyslexia always indicates that it is essential for a specific follow-up in one or more professional areas: speech therapy, psycho-pedagogy, psychology, etc., and this must be done according to the type and level of dyslexia found. Therefore, parents and schools must ensure open channels of communication with the professionals involved, in order to exchange experiences and information regarding the most appropriate teaching method for a child.
8 Best Apps For Dyslexia for Android and iOS Smartphones
Fortunately, children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities can use technology to overcome their difficulties and improve learning, especially in reading and writing. Nowadays, there are a great number of apps and items of software that can be used regularly to facilitate and promote the learning of new knowledge and to help children to absorb and memorize the information acquired in classes. You can find some of these applications at the British Dyslexia Association. I also found the 8 Best Apps on the Techwiser webpage (click here), and you can find several options for the Windows and Mac operating systems and for Android or iOS mobile devices.
1. Teen & Adult Phonics Library - Download Teen & Adult Phonics Library: iOS
3. ClaroSpeak Plus - The app is free to use but additional voices and accents can be downloaded for $9.99. Download ClaroSpeak Plus: iOS
4. Google Play Books - Download Google Play Books: Android
7. Phonics Genius - Download Phonics Genius: iOS
8. OCR Instantly Pro - OCR Instantly Pro: Android
However, it is important to emphasize that, before you search for technology to help your child with learning difficulties, it is essential to have an actual evaluation from a professional. I have inserted useful links at the end of this article, so please do not assume any learning disability without a proper investigation.
I hope you found this post useful and informative. For parents, it is essential to recognize the issues of technology and to seek ways to calm their racing minds. It’s important to remember how enjoyable and beneficial patience can be because the best things in life are more than a click away. Follow us on Facebook or on Twitter
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How VR Can Help Dyslexic Students - https://blog.dyslexia.com/help-dyslexic-students/