Determining a child’s readiness for learning has been a most challenging task over the years. What constitutes a child’s readiness for formal learning is a contentious issue-how is readiness defined? How is it measured? Usually, a teacher will gather information from past reports, direct observations of classroom behaviour and a student’s reaction to specific tasks and activities to determine readiness for formal learning.Read More
As directionality plays a central role in early academic learning, this will be the first early learning essential to be investigated.
Directional abilities include the awareness and knowledge of words and concepts and information processing skills including reception, retention, integration and reproduction. Directionality, a key feature of visual information (orientation and sequencing) and an important feature of auditory information (sequencing), plays a central role in learning, particularly early academic learning.Read More
This is the second Section devoted to the abilities and competencies considered essential in the acquisition and development of early learning skills.
It is assumed that language plays a central role in the development of concepts important in learning and hence the development of language abilities will be a key focus in this Section.
This Section will explore the development of language, focusing on aural and oral vocabulary skills. As the focus is on early learning essentials, the period of investigation will commence with the very young, pre-school child and continue through to the early primary school years.Read More
In understanding the acquisition and development of literacy skills, it is important to be aware of the normal development of language and literacy skills. The following developmental hierarchy (Myklebust, 1964) identifies the critical areas of expected oral and written language development-top down.Read More
For many children the path to accurate spelling skills is the heuristic one of exploration and discovery; with experience and maturity, knowledge of spelling is almost “caught”. For others, specific, explicit instruction is necessary to ensure that these skills develop that is, they must be “taught”.Read More
Students with learning difficulties frequently encounter problems with written expression. As written expression is the final stage of literacy skill development, any difficulties experienced during the preceding stages including listening, speaking, reading and spelling can affect the ability to express thoughts in print or writing. The importance of reading can not be overemphasised.Read More
The structure of this section will be based on the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS), The Domain of Mathematics and the The Australian Curriculum (AusVELS) Mathematics Scope and Sequence: Foundation to Level 3. While the emphasis will be placed on the early Stages of Learning, (Laying the Foundation) Years Prep. to 4, some of the information should be relevant at the more advanced levels of mathematics learning.Read More
One of our ultimate aims as educators is to help our students become independent learners with good self-management skills. Students with learning disabilities, however, will require our special understanding and assistance to reach this goal of independence.Read More
When introducing my students to Special Education, I stressed several very important points.
Each category does not represent a homogeneous group of individuals; there is great variability in terms of severity of the condition and pattern of presenting characteristics.
There is no one best method of instruction for a particular category of students.
Each member of a category must be treated individually in terms of their unique educational and instructional needs and the strategies and methods of intervention used.
Irrespective of the student’s category type, the essential task for the teacher is to see the student as a LEARNER and hence focus on such relevant issues as learning readiness, learning abilities, learning essentials, learning style and learning rate.
In every classroom, some students will experience learning problems. The cause(s) of these problems will vary, however; several major categories of students with special needs have been recognised for funding and educational purposes.
The Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) currently identifies the following seven categories of students in its Program for Students with Disabilities (2014)…Read More
Originally, I had not planned to write a specific section on dyslexia, thinking that it was unnecessary given the comprehension coverage of Learning Disability. The generic term Learning Disability encompasses the conditions known originally by their formal medical/scientific names, e.g., dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. In addition, problems with spelling and written expression are also included.
As dyslexia is the most common type of a Learning Disability, the information presented in the Section-Learning Disability, is obviously relevant and should be consulted by interested readers.Read More
This Section explores issues central to the identification and management of developmental and behavioral disorders found in children and adolescents. Some attention is also given to adults suffering with stress, anxiety and depression.Read More
Like other areas of Special Education, terminology and definitions concerning giftedness have changed over time. This reflects advances in education and psychology, a constant changing view of society and a different understanding of children and their needs.
By the beginning of the 1970s, giftedness had changed from a unitary concept based on abstract reasoning and thought to a multifaceted concept which included intelligence, aspects of creative thinking and creative productions and school performance.Read More
Parenting is a very challenging and demanding occupation. It can also be very rewarding, and it can be fun.
All families are unique hence it is wise to understand that widely accepted generalisations (for instance, behavioural characteristics of children depending on their birth-order) might not apply in all cases.
Most parents use common sense approaches, relying on natural inclinations and impulses. Frequently, however, such so called “normal” techniques do not work.Read More
The following selection of checklists and questionnaires has been used in my private practice. They are designed to be completed by parents, teachers, children and/or adolescents.
I have found that they provide invaluable information to supplement the data gained from formal, norm referenced, rating scales and questionnaires. They also engage parents and teachers directly in the assessment process.Read More
Since the launching of my website, I have received many questions, queries and requests from parents, teachers and other professionals. Some of the more common inquiries and my responses are presented below.Read More