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Learning Difficulties

My child needs extra support with learning. How can I help them?

Where possible, online teaching will be suitable for your child’s learning needs and academic ability. Teachers know your child and their learning needs well.

To help your child at home, support them by:

  • reading the question/activity to them and checking their understanding
  • Giving sentence starters in written tasks
  • Explaining new or challenging words
  • Be active -using physical ‘brain-breaks’ helps children to learn
  • ‘Chunking’ learning into smaller ‘bite-sized’ activities; children get distracted when learning for long periods of time.
  • Make learning fun.

Learning Difficulties and Differentiation

There are many websites that offer information about learning difficulties and those that are aimed at parents, explain the different kinds of difficulties and describe the signs to look for.  Just Google “learning difficulties in children” to access world-wide information about learning difficulties and how they impact on your child’s learning. 

You may have noticed that the work provided on the school’s website, for the class that your child is in, is not easily accessible for them.  When they are in school, children access literacy and numeracy learning at a level that they can manage, by accessing small groups across the school every morning.  The first thing that you can do is to look at the resources that have been provided for all the other year groups below the one that your child is in.  They may recognise some familiar learning materials that you can then access.  The one problem that you might find is that whilst the level of the work is appropriate, the content is not.  In other words, the topic or focus of the work may be a little immature for them and then they will not really engage with it very well.  Adapting the learning materials is called differentiation and this is what teachers are doing every day to make sure that your child is actively learning in an accessible and appropriate manner. So here are a few tips to help you to differentiate:

Reading

Read instructions out loud together and check for understanding

– ask your child to tell you in their own words what the instructions are asking them to do

– re-read anything that needs to be reinforced

Read a passage from a book to your child

– ask them to tell you what they can remember

 – write down what they say

 – ask them to read their own simplified account

 Use “high interest, low reading age” books – many companies publish these books, where the content is appropriate for children whose reading age is lower than their actual age - try www.barringtonstoke.co.uk/dyslexic-reluctant-readers  as they offer sample downloads.

Writing

– provide a framework for writing

– discuss what the writing is going to be about and plan out together what your child is going to write

– provide sentence starters

– if all else fails, write down what they say and let them copy it

– gradually build up the independent input; offer alternative ways of recording ideas

– use a tablet or computer

– draw pictures and label or draw cartoon strips

– write key words with missing letters for them to fill in

– record your child saying what they want to write and then share the job of transferring to paper

If your child is reluctant to write because they worry about spelling and grammar, tell them that the first draft is to record what they want to say and you will go through it together to check spellings etc.

– use the words that need correcting as a spelling assignment and revisit later in the week

 - use story boxes

- gather together toys and pictures of interest to your child and make up a story together

– write a short, new chapter each day by taking turns to be the writer (you go first and then you are modelling what your child will do when it is their turn).

Practical Activities

Remember that this may be a unique opportunity for your child to work one to one with an adult. If you are home educating more than one child, give them their own short one to one session each day whilst the others do a quiet activity. The child then has your undivided attention and this means that they can choose the topic and the activity, and the pace of learning will be tailored for them. They can ask questions and even go off topic, without it affecting anyone else. Encourage a commentary from them on what you are doing, even the most simple actions, ask them questions and stop at key points and ask them to predict what might happen next; turn practical activities into learning activities by maximising every opportunity for learning – most things can be described, measured, drawn or written about.

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