Teachers take on an important role when it comes to supporting students with learning differences. This student-authored post is part of a series that highlights student perspectives around learning and executive function in the classroom.
Sometimes, a teacher is the first person to recognize that a student may have a learning difference. It was my second-grade music teacher who first suggested that I had dyslexia and should look into getting tested. Most of the other teachers, including the learning specialist, wouldn’t even consider it.
As a teacher, it’s really important that you are educated about learning differences so that you can potentially identify students with learning disabilities. The first thing that most teachers will identify is behavior. Many teachers might misunderstand why students act out. A lot of the time, there could be a different underlying issue like a learning disability.
It’s also important to note that when it comes to identifying certain learning differences, like ADHD, girls often get overlooked. Be aware of this bias.
If you think a student has a learning difference, remember that only an expert can make a diagnosis. You can say something to their parents like, “It could be beneficial to get your child tested.”
If a student gets a diagnosis from an expert, it can be very stressful for the whole family. You can support them by working to help the parents educate themselves and trying new things to accommodate the student. It’s important that you’re very understanding and want to help the student succeed.
As families go through school with a student who has a learning difference, it can feel like an uphill battle. Some students and families will face challenges in accessing the accommodations they need. So no matter what grade a student is in, you can support them by listening to what their needs are and how you can accommodate them.
Join us this November for the 36th Annual Executive Function Conference, which will focus on promoting resilience and equity for ALL students.
- C. Solomon, Student Contributor
SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org
Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org
The Institute for Learning and Development: ildlex.org