Teaching and Tutoring Students with Learning Disabilities

Contributed by:
Jonathan James
Each student with disabilities is unique; therefore, it is important to continue learning about the processing deficits and how they affect learning in specific disciplines. As a result, an instructor or tutor can take the suggested strategies and adapt them to meet an individual’s special learning challenges.
1. Math Success Proven Strategies: Applying
Study Skills, Growth Mind Set,
Accommodations and Course Substitutions
PTI - Part II and III –
Accommodations & Course
6-14-18 & 6- 15-18
Dr. Paul Nolting, Learning
[email protected]
Copy right 2017
Academic Success Press, Inc.
2. Agenda
Current Status of Math and Disabilities
Definitions of LD, ADHD, PTSD, TBI and MTBI
Stages of Memory Effect on Different Disabilities -
Processing Information
Processing Deficits and Their Effects on Math
Learning Process
Teaching/Tutoring Concerns – Best Practice
Educational Accommodations Examples and Apps
Testing Accommodations - Examples
3. Agenda
DDS Questions on Course Success Strategies
Course Substitutions – States and Courses
Course Substitution Process
Individual College Math Success Plan- Example
Individual Student Cases for Accommodations
and Course Substitution
Group Work – Case Studies for Individual
College Math Success Plan and
Recommendation for Course Substitution
Developing an ODS Math Plan for Success
4. Students with Disabilities
5. Math Learning Disabilities Characteristics
• Difficulty remembering the multiplication tables or facts
• Reversal of numbers or letters such as 45 and 54 or 123 to 321
or 231and b for d and + for x
• Miss coping problems from the board, online texts or homework
• Homework problems look like “chicken scratch”
• Difficultly recalling sequence of problem steps/operations
• Difficulty recalling math concepts
• Difficulty or inability to understand abstract concepts
• Demonstrates knowledge in classroom but not on tests
• Not completing the test - what is done is mostly correct
• Poor math study skills and organization
• May not pass Elementary/Intermediate but high course
6. Math ADHD Characteristics
• Difficulty concentrating in the classroom
• Easily distracted in class leading to missed problem steps and
• Problems with short-term memory-Need steps repeated
• Difficultly connecting problems steps to understand concept or
rule – Problems with working memory
• Being impulsive in class and not completing homework
• Difficulty taking notes and concentrating on lecture
• Poor time management and organizations
• Procrastination
• Crams for tests
• Easily distracted and looses concentration during tests
• Problems with executive function – make poor decisions
7. PTSD Definition
Acute Stress Disorder – Short Circuitry of Brain
Within 30 days of traumatic event or exposure to trauma
or abuse.
Symptoms must be present for longer than a month;
those with symptoms in the first month after a traumatic
event may meet criteria for Acute Stress Disorder.
Apart from symptoms specified in the diagnostic
criteria, PTSD patients often have important associated
symptoms such as shame, guilt and isolation.
. But if you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
the symptoms don’t decrease. You don’t feel a little
better each day. In fact, you may start to feel worse.
8. PTSD Characteristics
• Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind
you of the trauma
• Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
• Loss of interest in activities and life in general
• Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
• Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life
span, get married, have a difficulty falling or staying asleep)
• Irritability or outbursts of anger
• Difficulty concentrating
• Hyper vigilance (on constant “red alert”)
• Feeling jumpy and easily startled
• Sit in back corner of room – Away from windows
9. Math and PTSD Characteristics
• Avoiding driving to college-to much danger
• Avoiding going to class–to many people in class/college
• Sitting in the back corner of room
• Loss of interest in studying
• Leaving the classroom
• Difficulty concentrating to follow steps of problem
• Hyper vigilance (on constant “red alert”) – distracted by other in
and out side the classroom
• Not wanting to see instructor- office to small and no escape rout
• Not want to go to lab – to many people and noise
• Has difficulty working in groups
• Has anxiety and concentration problems during tests
10. TBI and MTBI
Violent hit to the head or head movement
May or may not lose consciousness
Movement of brain back and forth in skull
Symptoms can be mild, moderate, severe
Several MTBI is as bad as a TBI
Can change biochemistry
May or may not improve over time
Silent disability and growing
Problems with concentration and abstract reasoning
May used to know math concept but forgot
See Stages of Memory for math affects
11. Stages of Memory
Hand out
• Sensory input is when an
individual physically takes in the
information. TBI, PTSD
• Sensory register is when the
mind neurologically accepts the
information. TBI, PTSD Forgetting =
• Short-term Memory is when Information not input or
the brain receives information registered.
and stores it for a brief time. TBI,
12. Stages of Memory
Working Memory is like RAM in a
computer that can send or recall
information and is part of executive
function. TBI, PTSD, LD?
Long-term memory is a storehouse
of material that is retained for long
periods of time. LD?
Abstract Reasoning uses recalled
concepts to make new meaning and Forgetting =
understanding without using
language. TBI, LD? Information not
Memory Output is recall learned
facts and/or concepts. TBI, PTSD,
13. Cognitive Processing Skills Affecting
Academic Learning
Auditory Processing
Processing Speed
Visual-Spatial Thinking Skills
Short-term Memory
Long – Term Retrieval
Working Memory
Long – term Memory
Fluid Reasoning
14. Auditory Processing Deficit
Definition: Students with auditory
process problems have difficulty
synthesizing words and understanding
words in noisy classrooms. These
students may misinterpret words
or not “hear” the words. This is not a
hearing problem or short term memory
problem. It is a problem of misinterpretation
of words spoken words.
Primary Affected Areas: Observable Behaviors: students
sensory register, short misunderstanding math vocabulary;
term memory – Not difficulty solving word problems; difficulty
significantly related reading the text and understanding
15. Processing Speed Deficit
Definitions: Students with a visual speed
processing disorder have great difficulty
quickly recognizing numbers and
conceptually similar visual objects. A student
with visual speed processing disorder is able
to visually process but very slowly.
Primary Affected Areas: sensory input
& register; significantly related to math
Common Observable Behaviors: re-reading sentences &
paragraphs; scanty notes or no notes at all; very slow in
completing homework, very slow in doing on line homework, very
slow in completing tests, having difficulty quickly recognizing
variables and math symbols, problems with automaticity
16. Short-term Memory Processing
Definition: Short-term memory disorder is
categorized as auditory memory. It is the
difficulty in keeping information in short term
memory long enough to transfer it into working
or long term memory. Also it is the automaticity
of rearranging numbers in your head.
Primary Affected Areas: Subsequent effects on the long-term
retrieval, working memory, long term memory, and abstract
reasoning. Students who cannot hold information for more than a few
seconds cannot use it to rehearse or recall from working memory.
TBI - Not significantly related
Observable Behaviors: Auditory: forget oral instructions; difficult to
be group learner; ask questions about recent information; can’t hold on
to steps long enough in mind to understand concept; difficulty in
manipulating numbers in you head; difficulty in switching number in an
equation presented verbally; some problems with abstract learning
17. Visual-Spatial Thinking Processing Stages
of Memory Deficit
Definitions: A student with a visual- spatial
processing disorder has great difficulty in
recognizing and synthesizing visual
information. The student also has difficulty
remembering visual information and
remembering it in the correct order.
Primary Affected Areas: sensory input
& register; short term memory - Not
significantly related
Common Observable Behaviors: re-reading sentences &
paragraphs; “chicken scratch” notes or no notes at all; problem
solutions all over the page; numbers miss-aligned; copying
down incorrectly; difficulty reading tutor/instructor handwriting;
facial gestures while looking at something; misreading variables
and numbers such as b for d or 9 as a 6 or + for x
18. Long-Term Retrieval Processing
Definitions: Students with LTR Primary Affected Areas:
disorders have minimal ability Abstract/fluid reasoning, Long-
to input or retrieve information term memory; Memory output;
in active memory in order to
Any learning task that involves
understand concepts. The
LTR process pertains to using several pieces of
speed of putting information information or concepts; tired
into/taking it out of long-term after a short period of studying.
memory and abstract memory. Related to TBI, PTSD - Not
Observable Behavior: Confusion on multiple
step assignments; Brain Traffic Jam; spaced out
look; student understands step by step
problem solving but can not put all the steps
together to solve the next problem.
19. Working Memory Processing Deficit
Definitions: Students with Primary Affected Areas:
working memory disorders Abstract/fluid reasoning, Long-term
have minimal ability to retain a memory; Memory output; Any
large amount of information in learning task that involves using
active memory in order to complex pieces of information or
understand concepts.
Students also have problems concepts; math problems that
manipulating that information require using multiple concepts at
to solve problems. Low RAM the same time to solve;
significantly related to math
Observable Behavior: Confusion on multiple
step assignments; Student may understand
each concept but can not organize the steps
in order to solve the problem. tired and
frustrated after a short period of studying
20. Comprehension-Knowledge (LTM)
Processing Deficit
Definition: Students with long-term
memory problems have minimal ability
to store information for a long period
of time. The length of time for which
students can hold information may
vary. For instance, a student may
learn material during one monthly unit and not remember it
during the next unit. On the other hand it could be that
a student remembers how to work a math problem one
day and then forget how to do it the next day.
Primary Affected Areas: Observable Behaviors: holes in the
working memory, foundation of concepts needed for further
abstract reasoning and learning --- have to relearn information
long term retrieval; but remembers bits and pieces
significantly related to
21. Fluid /Abstract Reasoning Processing
Definition: Abstract reasoning disorders keep students from being
able to form concepts and solve abstract problems that include
novel situations and extrapolating information. It is also the inability
to identify relationships with unfamiliar concepts and making
Primary Affected Areas: Covalence Atomic
working memory, long term Covalent
memory, memory output, all compared
dependent on the level of to ionic
critical thinking required Electron
highly significantly related s
to math- TBI
Observable Behaviors: need for repeated instruction as if information
was never learned; repeated blank looks; ability to mimic processes but
not apply them, not making inferential leaps; can’t generate alternate
problem solving strategies
22. Memory Bypasses/Education Accommodations
Teaching /Handout Tutoring
1. Digital -record sequential steps or
• Vocabulary lists questions that the student and tutor
• Formula sheets/cards have created
• Mental cheat sheets 2. Place same information on note cards
• Three column note taking 3. Put information cues to music or
• Lectures with immediate practice to break rhythmic recitation
up the inputting time with rehearsal time. 4. Mental cheat sheets
• Structured, step by step process for 5. Construct tutoring session to include
reading the textbook constant student verbal and/or visual
• Overhead on during class for individual feedback. Over and over
reference use during lecture (post on
website) 6. Draw pictures for cueing
• Smart pens 7. Review and review
• Apps – Recording and pictures 8. Apps
• Math Study Skills Evaluation, My Math
Success Plan & Math and Disability
Handbook- Deficits
23. Visual Clarity/Accommodations
Mathematics Writing and Reading
1. Graph paper 1. Computer programs with visual
2. Color assignment to different
numerical functions and symbols 2. Color coding parts of sentences,
3. Problem on left side of paper and
extra math calculations on the right 3. Physically cut and paste
with line dividing down the middle 4. Lots of white space
4. Use of capital letters instead of small 5. Typing with large simple font
5. Lots of white space 6. Note cards for organization of
6. Students use whiteboard paper and sentence structures
7. Test format with larger fonts and 7. Tests and readings with larger
more white space fonts and more white space.
8. Pictures/graphs for word problems 8. Pictures for organization of ideas
24. Teaching and Tutoring Concerns
Students will remember
information correctly when How can we help
they go to study on their own them mature into
– Use Apps. independent
learners? Can we?
Students must learn math
study skills.
Students will reduce anxiety.
Students will learn how to
Students will persist We must focus
Educational &Testing as much on how
Accommodations – My to learn the
discipline content
Math Success Plan
as learning the
25. Math Testing Accommodations
• Extended time
• Private quiet test area
• Formula sheet
• Fact sheet
• Key word list
• Lecture notes
• Clarification of test questions
• Manipulatives
• Scribe and white board
• Pictures of problem steps
• One or two problems per page
• Break down test to sections/days with new memory data dump every time
• Math and Disability Handbook- Accommodations – Deficits
26. Alternative Math Course Sequence
• Elementary Algebra Statistics
• Elementary Algebra Liberal Arts Math
• Elementary Algebra Topics in Math
• Elementary Algebra Major Course
27. Significant CHC Factors & Clinical
Clusters for Course Substitution
Working Memory Not Enough RAM
Long-Term Memory Not Enough Facts
Abstract Reasoning Not Enough Logic
TBI, MTBI and PTSD – CHC and Clinical Clusters
Can use research in Math and Disabilities Handbook
(Nolting, 2012) to support accommodations and course
28. Course Substitutions
• Introduction to • Environmental Science
• Business math
• Accounting I • Astronomy
• Oceanography
• Macro-economics • Logic/Critical Thinking
• Philosophy • Physical Science
• Earth and Space • Major Course
29. Student Cases
Individual College Math Success Plan- Example
Individual Student Cases for Accommodations and
Course Substitution – from group and Paul
Group Work – Case Studies for Individual College
Math Success Plan (math study skills,
accommodations) and Recommendation for
Course Substitution
Summary and Resources
30. Developing a Course Accommodation and
Substitution Policy
• What are you now using to process course substitutions?
• What are you now using to process course accommodations?
• Guidelines for developing these policies
How do students find out about making a request?
Who determines student eligibility to make the request?
Who informs the student about documentation for the request?
Who helps the student prepare the request?
Who receives the students request?
Who is on the committee? Faculty, counselor, DRC, chairs, expert?
Who receives the recommendation for approval or non approval?
Who receives the appeal for due process?
How does the institution record the decision?
How is the student notified about the decision?
How can you be consistent in the decisions?
31. Success Strategies
Help Students Improve Their Math Study Skills
Help Students Develop Educational Motivation Skills
Help Students Understanding How Disability May Affect Their
Provide Relevant & Appropriate Training For Tutors
Provide Relevant & Appropriate Training Faculty and
32. Success Strategies
Provide Appropriate Classroom Accommodations
Provide Appropriate Testing Accommodations
Provide Students with Their Success Plan
Provide Alterative Options to Course Substitutions
Understand Appropriate Documentation Needed for Course
Substitutions and Make Your Best Case
Develop a Math Success Committee with Math Department, Math
Lab, Counselors, Social Science and Vet Department
33. Collaboration of Departments and
Centers to Improve Math Success
Office of Students with Disabilities
Math Department
Learning Assistance Center
Counseling/Advisement Center
Veteran Center
Joint Student Workshops with ODS and Veteran Center
Who is on your Math Success Team?
34. Mathematics Learning, Instruction,
Tutoring, Accommodations Concerns
What are your
Developing an
ODS plan – Group
35. Conclusion
Each student with disabilities is unique; therefore, it is important to
continue learning about the processing deficits and how they affect
learning in specific disciplines. As a result, an instructor or tutor
can take the suggested strategies and adapt them to meet an
individual’s special learning challenges.
Let’s continue the conversation. Email us at
[email protected] whenever you have questions or when
you have success stories!