The Future is in the Margins: The Role of Technology and Disability in Education Reform by Rose & Meyer (CAST) -
Differentiated use of media for instruction reveals that individuals who are defined as "learning disabled" within print-based learning environments are the not same individuals who are defined as "learning disabled" within video - or audio-based learning environments. Such revelations splinter the old categorical divisions between "disability" and "ability" and create new descriptors that explicitly recognize the interaction between student and environment in the definition of strengths.
Think about your instructional tools - are you offering a variety of methods to engage students, or are you methods causing frustration? Are you offering a variety of methods for students to demonstrate what they know? Encourage your students to demonstrate their strengths and abilities by varying the instructional methods and tools you use in your classroom. And their skills may surprise you!
I will never forget when my son was in 10th grade and I had a conference with his English teacher. I tried to explain his learning style and his challenges with print based materials and paper based assignments. She didn't seem to get it so I offered that he does best with multimedia and alternative methods to demonstrate what he has learned. He preferred projects since they tap into his strengths. Unfortunately, she still didn't get it and suggested, "Maybe we need to move him to a lower level in English." (Who has the disability in this scenario? The one who knows how he learns best or the one who can't see it?)
So, I repeat, too often we define students as learning disabled when, in fact, it is the instructional method that causes the disability.
What are you doing about that?
photo - http://www.psychiatry.emory.edu/PROGRAMS/GADrug/images/frustrated.jpg