Inclusive Learning and Teaching for Specific Learning Disabilities

Specific Learning Disability (SLD) is a permanent disorder caused by neurological impairments that interfere with acquiring, integrating and demonstrating verbal and non-verbal abilities. As a result, students with SLD are poor communicators and have difficulties interacting with others.

For a child to be diagnosed with SLD, the child has to function two grades below his/her age-appropriate grade in reading, writing, arithmetic, or mixed abilities. The child may also exhibit psychological signs due to the disability such as quitting, avoiding, clowning, controlling and denying all.

Priya is a typical example of a student with SLD. She had difficulty understanding the order, sounds, and recognition of letters and hence affected her learning. And because of her learning difficulty, she felt very frustrated at school. 

In order to help students with SLD such as Priya, inclusive teaching techniques can be used. Inclusive teaching can start with the school and teachers providing a warm educational climate to mitigate her frustration at learning. This can be achieved by:

  • Providing a friendly, rewarding and supportive atmosphere
  • Supporting active learning with the cooperation
  • Forbidding physical punishment and violence
  • Valuing the development of creative activities
  • Enhancing family-school partnership
  • Promoting equal opportunities and participation for all children

Another inclusive teaching technique is to avoid the use of the term 'learning disabilities’ as it is misleading. The more politically-correct term is ‘learning differences’. It offers a more accurate snapshot that captures the essence of learning disabilities seen in SLD students compared to other students without learning disabilities. 

Lastly, inclusive teaching places a lot of emphasis on respecting the privacy and confidentiality of all students and be sensitive about not embarrassing or humiliating them if they have learning differences. ALWAYS BELIEVE IN THE STUDENTS – do not give up.

Contributed by:

Dr. Sritama Mitra Ghosh

Dr Sritama is a School Psychologist and Certified Psychiatric Counsellor, she is currently serving as Assistant Psychology Teacher at the H.M. Education Centre, Hooghly (C.B.S.E.). She has worked as a guest lecturer in Bijoy Krishna Girls’ College in the Psychology department. She has over fifteen years of experience as a teacher and seven years of experience as a counsellor.


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