SUCCESS STRATEGIES FOR STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DIFFERENCES
2020 has been a difficult year for many students, whether they’re distance learning or back at school adjusting to a new set of rules and protocols. For those with learning differences, the classroom already presents its own set of challenges, and virtualized instruction may seem nearly impossible. Now more than ever, meeting those students at their skill level and providing them with individualized education is critical to their success as lifelong learners. As we wrap up National Dyslexia Awareness Month and National ADHD/ADD Awareness Month this October, we’d like to highlight some of the strategies and tactics Hill School implements year-round to advocate for students with learning differences:
• The Challenge: Students with dyslexia not only struggle with reading, writing and spelling, but also with essential language-processing skills that can cause setbacks in other areas of learning, like pronouncing words, following multi-step instructions, telling a story chronologically, or simply taking notes. Left untreated or ignored, dyslexia can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, low self-esteem, and behavioral disorders.
• The Hill School Difference: Hill School offers daily Orton-Gillingham (O-G) instruction for K-6 students, including one-on-one, multi-sensory learning of words and syllables. The O-G approach utilizes a variety of tools and activities, such as sand tray exercises, to help struggling readers focus on the connection between sounds and letters. Our teachers then implement this learning style across all disciplines to offer additional support in other subjects, such as word problems in math or essays in science. As they progress into Middle and Upper School, students are offered two English classes a day to strengthen those essential reading and writing skills.
• The Challenge: Paying attention in the classroom is challenging for many students, but for those with ADHD/ADD, inattentiveness is often combined with hyperactivity and impulsivity, leading to issues with completing assignments, following instruction, and controlling impulses.
• The Hill School Difference: At Hill School, our K-4 students receive two recesses per day in addition to P.E. to allow them to let out some much-needed energy and ultimately focus better in the classroom. Hill School also provides the option of yoga ball seats, pedal-desks, resistance bands, and fidget boxes as an opportunity for restless students to move and exercise while learning, resulting in overall fewer distractions and improved mental performance. Additionally, Middle and Upper School students are allowed to chew gum as a tool to increase alertness and improve concentration.
A “one-size-fits-all” approach is not a viable option for those struggling with learning differences. At Hill School, we make it a priority to meet students where they are, keeping each individual actively engaged in the learning process and supporting them with the specific tools and resources they need to succeed. Providing personalized instruction is key to leading them toward their maximum potential, promoting healthy self-esteem, and empowering them to rediscover the joy of learning again. Throughout October and beyond, Hill School will continue to fulfill our mission by providing proven strategies, while constantly seeking out new tools and techniques, to advocate and improve the learning environment for students with dyslexia, ADHD and more.
Do you have a student struggling with a learning difference and looking to find their place? There is hope and it can start today. Contact Hill School to learn more about our individualized programming.