Some children face supportive difficulties or problems with learning new information. They may struggle to master skills like throwing and catching a ball. They may get confused trying to communicate by talking and listening to other people. Without being able to learn and retain key information, these children struggle even more when they enter school and try to master the skills and knowledge of reading, writing and other areas of content.
Scientists aren’t sure exactly what causes the learning disabilities. Many theorize that the brains of children with learning difficulties confuse signals and have difficulty sending and receiving bits of information. Basically, as University of Nevada-Reno professors Gary Fisher and Rhoda Cummings explain The survival guide for children with LD“some kids have a hard time learning”.
These children are by no means stupid or lazy. They simply “learn differently” (LD). Gary Fisher and Rhoda Cummings appropriately replace the term “disability” in their book, which is helpful in addressing the problem and not the stigma. Children with LD have normal or even above average intelligence and may, in fact, excel in other areas. Their brains acquire, process and store information differently. As Stanley S. Lamm, MD, and Martin L. Fisch, Ph.D. put it in Learning disabilities explained, a child with a learning disability simply has “a specific condition or set of conditions that interfere with the normal learning process.”
Children who learn differently can come from any ethnic or socioeconomic group. Although only about 5% of children have been formally diagnosed with LD, some doctors and educators believe that up to 20% of children have some sort of interference with how they learn in some areas. The good news is that with proper diagnosis and targeted intervention, children with LD can greatly improve their ability to learn in a weak area.
Above all, it is vital that parents recognize that children with LD learn differently and the means and resources they should make available to help them learn. Once an LD has been identified, a team of professionals tests the child and uses the results to develop an individualized educational plan (IEP) for him or her. Now the child, his teachers and parents know the area where the child needs further help and can focus on developing and improving the child’s learning skills. Special classes and one-on-one tutoring can help.
So he can use targeted educational toys to develop specific skills. Kids who are getting bored with dry homework may find a renewed excitement in learning when that learning takes the form of a toy. Simplifying the learning process and using unconventional methods to make learning fun can spur children with LD to new levels of success.
Gary Fisher and Rhoda Cummings identify seven key areas where children might learn differently: speaking and listening, reading, writing, math, organizational skills, social skills and motor skills. Here are some tips for toys that develop the learning skills associated with each of these areas …
Speak and listen to LD
Children with LD Speak and Listen know what they mean; they struggle only to communicate their thoughts. They may also have difficulty understanding the meaning of the words others say to them, sometimes mistaking one meaning for another. Some good skills to foster in this area are critical thinking and the ability to make predictions, understand cause and effect, and draw conclusions. These skills can help children organize their thoughts so they can express them more coherently and better understand what others are saying to them.
Strategy and logic games such as FoxMind Games’ Zoologic or Cliko games can encourage the development of such logical thinking skills. While playing these games, parents can encourage children to think aloud to guide their reasoning. Parents can also kindly ask children questions about what they think will happen next in a situation, acknowledging each answer and using it as the basis for the next question.
Children with reading LD can be overwhelmed by being exposed to too much text at a time. They may have difficulty reading the alphabet or spelling words. They can skip lines when reading because the words seem to move on the page.
Educational toys like Melissa and Doug’s Opposites Puzzle Cards or See & Spell break reading down into its essential components. Travel Read Spin and Word Spin Deluxe Family Edition made by GeoSpace are also great ways to turn spelling and reading skills into a fun experience. Focusing on one word / concept at a time and breaking up words into letters prevents children from being confused by walls of text. While using these products, encourage children to talk about what they are reading to check their understanding.
Children with LD of writing struggle with many of the same problems as children with LD of speaking and listening. They have great ideas in their heads, but have a hard time expressing themselves in writing with neat handwriting and good grammar and spelling. This is a case where the simplest of toys can have the greatest effect. Push back the pressure of erasing a bit by asking kids to compose their thoughts on a fun or dry-erase whiteboard. Now kids can erase and / or start their sentences over and over again until everything is exactly right.
Children with LD math struggle with the meaning of numbers and numeric symbols. They have difficulty memorizing and understanding mathematical facts. At the most basic level, they struggle with the patterns that underlie mathematical concepts. Playing with pattern games, shape puzzles and blocks can give a child the experience and confidence with the patterns needed to be successful in math. For example, a toy like FoxMind Games’ Logix I offers a child practice with logical shapes and patterns. Again, GeoSpace’s Travel Math Spin is a fun teaching tool for basic operations, eliminating what is sometimes a terrible feeling for a child to have to learn math on their own. Remember, the participation of adults in a family environment using educational games is important in the learning process.
Organizational skills LD
Children with LD organizational skills have difficulty keeping track of their materials and assignments. Keeping their rooms or desks tidy can also be difficult. Puzzles or other toys with pieces that can only go one way can subtly teach these kids organization habits. An organizer like Melissa and Doug’s Magnetic Responsibility Chart can encourage good habits by helping children keep track of their responsibilities and be rewarded for good habits and behaviors.
Social Skills LD
Children with LD social skills have difficulty interacting with other people. They misinterpret clues and facial gestures and make expressions and gestures that do not convey what they are actually feeling. Dramatic role-playing games can allow children to experience appropriate social behaviors in a safe environment from which the stress of real-life consequences has been removed. Dolls and dollhouses, playsets and figurines, clothes and props can all be vehicles for imaginative play that practices effective social interaction.
Motor skills LD
Children with LD motor skills struggle with both gross motor skills like balancing, jumping or even running and fine motor skills like tying ropes through holes or holding a pencil correctly. Toys like jump ropes, sports equipment, and the plasma car can develop gross motor skills. Toys like laced cards or art sets like Melissa and Doug’s stamp sets and bead set can develop fine motor skills. Some toys, such as bricks, develop a whole range of fine motor skills.
All parents can benefit from investing in educational toys
Educational toys can be a valuable resource for children And without LD. Children can get bored by completing dry worksheets or assignments intended to teach content area knowledge. In particular, children with LD may have difficulty understanding how to complete a worksheet. Playing with an educational toy, on the other hand, can encourage children to spend more time (and more fun!) Practicing and mastering new knowledge and skills. Instead of memorizing dry math information, a child can play with an educational toy and learn firsthand how to use logic and patterns to solve a problem. In fact, any parent wishing to develop their child’s skills in any of the above areas could benefit from investing in any of the toys discussed.
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