Manifestation of learning difficulties is one challenge that schools and people are gradually coming to terms with. This is when a child does not easily grasp an instruction needed for further development – mentally, socially, emotionally and physically. Learning difficulties go beyond academics.
For a childo to achieve all-round development, it is expected that they understand things at their age, act their age and respond to stimuli appropriate for that age.
Many Nigerian parents become paranoid when they have a child with learning difficulties in the same class as a “neurotypical kid”. These parents expect teachers to magically and quickly transform their learning-challenged children into learner’s at par with neurotypical children.. It is very well understandable that a parent should be worried for their children or wards with learning difficulties, but I’d like you to understand the intricate task from the perspective of the class teacher.
- It’s a good thing many schools are allowing their teachers take courses regarding learning difficulties but the courses can only help them to easily identify when a child needs special attention and how to intervene in mild cases. A teacher is not trained to achieve a remarkable result when the case is severe.In my nineteen years’ experience, I have seen mild cases of learning difficulties where teachers took extra time to intervene and the child didn’t improve until that child was brought to me.
- Teachers have limited time to teach a topic; they are expected to ensure their students understand the topic. So they go about in their class demanding every student’s attention. While doing this, questions are asked and students respond. For the sake of one with learning difficulties, the teacher might take extra time to explain but because of limited time the child might not grasp the explanation.
- In severe cases the teacher can get overwhelmed with tantrums and confusion might arise on how to deliver her lessons. In such cases, avoidance can set in and the teacher sometimes unknowingly avoids the child.
- It should be noted that there are other kids in that class that equally need the teacher’s attention. In some cases, because the teacher focuses more on one child, this could results in displeasure from other parents. So in trying to be fair to all, a teacher might not be able to do so much for a child with learning difficulties.
It is a good thing to integrate a child into a “regular school” and it’s much more paramount to get the right facility a child needs to learn when faced with learning difficulties. It is also important to note that the teacher can point out areas of difficulties to the available caregiver, therapist, parent, psychologist, psychiatrist or pediatrician.
One of the ways to tackle learning difficulties is to start on time and start right!