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Pupils with specific learning difficulties and comorbid forms of difficulties in England

Tina Kolar (2017) Pupils with specific learning difficulties and comorbid forms of difficulties in England. MSc thesis.

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    Abstract

    Students with specific learning difficulties (SLD) have trouble with certain basic skills needed for school (reading, writing, arithmetic) that also affect many other areas of their general functionality. Among students with SLD, 2 – 4 % have pronounced SLD. Learning problems are usually accompanied by various forms of specific deficits, as well as disorders in neural development and other mental disorders. Research has shown that when SLD is in conjunction with other disorders, it is connected to lower cognitive functioning, lesser response to various forms of help, and education is often unsuccessful. This group of students also has more social, emotional and behavioral difficulties. Students with pronounced SLD in connection with other disorders need more specific help and support, as well as more of it, owing to their distinctive and varying educational needs. In the UK, these students can go to special schools for individuals with SLD, where the teaching process happens in classrooms with fewer students and more available help. The theoretical section of our research presents the English three-stage model of recognizing and intervention with students with pronounced SLD in conjunction with other disorders. We highlight the characteristics of students with pronounced SLD in conjunction with other disorders, and present the newest findings of international studies. We also present certain methods and strategies of special pedagogy, as well as environmental adaptations suitable for students with pronounced SLD along with another disorder. The main goal of our research was to determine the needs and characteristics of students with pronounced SLD in conjunction with other disorders, and what kinds of help, methods and adaptations of learning environment they received during their regular education. Our research also focused on the example of good practice of teaching these students at the Red Rose School in the UK for students with SLD, and finding out what kinds of help, methods, strategies and adaptations are offered at this school. Our sample includes four students with pronounced SLD and accompanying disorders, who go to this special school for students with SLD. We gained our information by analysing secondary documents, through active observation and attendance, and by conducting partially structured interviews with the two principals of the school. The results of our research showed complex and varying deficiencies in students with pronounced SLD in conjunction with other disorders. The deficiencies represent a combination of various psychological, cognitive and metacognitive processes that are characteristic of an individual disorder. The diversity and distinctiveness of these deficiencies affect these students' functioning in the area of education, as well as their difficulties in adapting to everyday school circumstances. Students with pronounced SLD in conjunction with other disorders proved to have difficulty in the area of psychosocial adaptation, as well as showing secondary disorders in social, emotional and behavioral areas. Owing to their distinctive special needs, these students were aided through the three-stage model of recognizing and intervention with students with learning difficulties while in regular primary school education. The help and support in regular school mostly stemmed from general strategies and approaches for intervention with students with SLD and did not include the development of the students' strengths and help with their hidden deficiencies. Because of their complex special needs, these students need more intensive forms of help, support and specialized assistance, which we found to be offered at special schools for students with SLD. Our results showed that special schools offer these students more intensive approaches and forms of help that stem from the students' deficits, while also taking their strengths into account. The teachers integrate intensive instruction on the development of school skills and various strategies of compensation. Special schools offer learning environments adapted to SLD students, the professional knowledge and methods of the teachers, and the positive inclination and understanding of special needs, which all contribute to the creation of a safe environment, where these students can experience success and develop strategies for dealing with their shortcomings. The results of this Master's thesis could be a valid resource in Slovenia for finding a more effective model of intervention for students with pronounced special needs, such as SLD with accompanying disorders, and they present an effective model of teaching students at special schools for students with SLD. Based on our results, we conclude that it is important to raise teachers' awareness of SLD and the possibility of it being connected with other disorders, and the complexity of these students' deficits. In Slovenia we need to focus more on recognizing and intervention for students with pronounced SLD in connection with other disorders, and on finding effective forms of help and support.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: Inclusion, students with specific learning difficulties, comorbid disorders, special schools for pupils with specific learning difficulties
    Number of Pages: 133
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Marija KavklerMentor
    izr. prof. dr. Janez VogrincComentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=11621705)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 4537
    Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2017 10:28
    Last Modified: 11 Jul 2017 10:28
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/4537

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