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  • Writer's pictureTeach The Need

Tips Tutors can use to recognize learners with learning disabilities.

There are an estimated 622,000 learners with learning disabilities living in Ontario. Learning disabilities can be defined as a group of disorders characterized by significant hardships in the acquisition of knowledge. Individuals with this type of disabilities find it hard to listen, speak, read, write or reason.


There are several learning disabilities learners may have. Some may show signs of two or more of these disabilities. The most common ones are as shown below.

· Autism – This is a serious disability that impairs the ability of anyone to effectively communicate. People with autism exhibit, poor eye contact, compulsive behavior, self-harm, speech delay, persistent repetition of words and a problem in paying the lightest attention.

· ADHD - Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a chronic condition where the learner can completely not pay attention. Other symptoms include low self-esteem, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

· Dyslexia – This disorder influences the learner’s ability to process language, the learner can therefore not read, write or comprehend.

· Dysgraphia – This is where the learner can hardly make words out of his/ her thoughts. Affected individuals have a hard time translating their thoughts in to written work. Grammar, spellings and vocabulary end up being poor.

· Dyscalculia – This learner’s disability in solving mathematical problems.

Other learning disorders include; Auditory processing disorder, Language processing disorder, Nonverbal learning disabilities and visual motor deficit.

Tutors have to realize and appreciate the presence of these type of learners in the community and the classroom. Learners with these disabilities are human beings too and if reached out to, something could be done to assist them. Teach the Need is one such nonprofit making organization based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada providing free tutoring and support to learners with such disorders.

Tutors and parents are the ones charged with the task of identifying learners with learning disorders. Identifying such learners with special needs sets the pace for how they can be attended to and where. Like any other students, learners with learning disorders have a life to live, an education to acquire and they require support, love and care throughout. So how do tutors get to spot learners with disabilities?

This article aims at discussing ways in how these learners can be identified and helped. Most of these tips are basically the symptoms affected students portray.

1. Poor Memory and concentration.

Learners with learning disability show very minimal concentration with very poor memory. Their brain does not serve them to their fullest. Most of them will lose focus in minutes and won’t concentrate on anything for quite long. Tutors will notice that such learners are looking out through the window or the door, biting their finger nails, drawing things, rubbing their legs or hands on the floor, restless movements or even dozing off.

2. Trouble in following directions/instructions.

Following directions and guidelines, even when they are most clear and precise for learners with learning disabilities isn’t a walk in the park. Their work is full of mistakes and if not understood and recognized, anyone could confuse them for tough headed children when it is just a disorder. They hardly get anything right unless led through and accompanied at all times. Tutors for such students must learn ways to guide and direct them.

3. Clumsiness.

Learners with learning disabilities show clumsiness, which is poor coordination in movement or action. Learners with disability are slow with what they do and tutors must keep up to their pace. There is an increased risk of clumsy learners getting involved in very serious accidents or injure themselves. Clumsy learners may be poor in health and very weak. Clumsy learners tend to keep to themselves that is they hardly interact with others, find it difficult to take part in co curriculum activities etc.

4. Problems with reading and writing.

Normally, learners must be able to know how to read and write within the first few years of schooling. When a learner is beyond the age of basic education yet he or she still has problems with reading or writing, then tutors can be able to identify this as learning disorders. Learners with reading disorders can hardly track whatever they are reading; most will keep getting lost within the paragraphs. Other use fingers or sticks to trace their reading. They read while breaking the patterns and in writing can’t construct any meaningful sentences.

5. Mathematics problems.

Although there is a general belief that mathematics is a difficult subject for most learners, to some, problems with mathematics could be as a result of learning disorders. Learners with mathematics disorders can hardly operate the simplest mathematics, even if it involves addition or subtraction. There is no natural fear here that can be blamed for the failure in the subject. Mathematics in the outside world away from the classroom still proves to be difficult to them, for example when send to the shop, they may have problems calculating what change they should receive or how much they should pay for the goods or services received.

There are several many other tips not explained that tutors can base on while singling out learners with this kind of disorders. From trouble telling time, sleeping within learning sessions, failure to play, and failure to finish academic assignments to problems with tackling home chores and personal duties.

Tips to help learners with these disabilities.

It is not the end of the road for learners with these disabilities. Something can be made out of them. They can be helped with their academics to excel. They can be assisted by.

· Use of diagrams, charts and graphics to make learning easier.

· Provide such learners with direct and simplified instructions.

· Tutors must make learning participative.

· Involve regular breaks within sessions.

· Adjust to the learner’s behavior, use their words and pace while tutoring.

· Observe their emotions and talk to them.

· Advise them to reach out for help whenever they need any.


No one should be denied the right to education, whether in Ontario or wherever because of learning disabilities. There is a cliché that states, "Disability is not inability.” Special needs education tutors can help these kinds of learners and help them in to becoming useful members of the community. That is why we stand in solidarity with learners with special needs, especially autism and ADHD victims to support them through free 1 on 1 tutoring. Help us reach out to them and make an impact to the community.

Learners with disabilities are not learners with inability.


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