Some children have to deal with learning disabilities or problems learning new information. They might struggle to master skills like throwing and catching a ball. They might get confused trying to communicate by talking to and listening to others. Without being able to learn and retain important information, these children struggle even more as they enter school trying to master reading, writing and other content skills and knowledge.
Scientists aren’t sure what exactly causes learning disabilities. Many suspect that the brains of children with learning disabilities mix up signals and have trouble sending and receiving information. Basically, as University of Nevada-Reno professors Gary Fisher and Rhoda Cummings explain The Survival Guide for Children with LD“Some kids just have trouble learning.”
These kids are not stupid or lazy at all. They “just learn differently” (LD). Gary Fisher and Rhoda Cummings appropriately substitute the term “disability” in their book, which is helpful in dealing with the problem rather than the stigma. Children with LD have normal or even above-average intelligence and may actually excel in other areas. Your brain just captures, processes and stores information differently. Like Stanley S. Lamm, MD, and Martin L. Fisch, Ph.D. use it learning difficulties explained, A child with a learning disability simply has “a condition or set of specific conditions that interfere with the normal process of learning.”
Children who learn differently can come from any ethnic or socioeconomic group. Although only about 5% of children have been officially diagnosed with LD, some doctors and educators believe that as many as 20% of children are impaired in some area in some way in the way they learn. The good news is that with proper diagnosis and targeted intervention, children with LD can significantly improve their ability to learn in a weak area.
It is of paramount importance, especially for parents, to recognize that children with LD learn differently and what tools and resources they should make available to help them learn. Once an LD has been identified, a team of professionals will test the child and use their results to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for him or her. Now the child and their teachers and parents know the area where the child needs extra help and can focus on developing and improving the child’s learning skills there. Special classes and private tuition can help.
Learning toys can be used in a targeted manner to develop specific skills. Children who get bored with boring schoolwork can find new excitement in learning when that learning comes in the form of a toy. Simplifying the learning process and using unconventional methods to make learning fun can inspire children with LDs to reach new levels of achievement.
Gary Fisher and Rhoda Cummings identify seven key areas where children may learn differently: speaking and listening, reading, writing, math, organizational skills, social skills, and motor skills. Here are some suggestions for toys that develop learning skills associated with each of these areas…
Speaking and Listening LD
Children with speech and hearing learning disabilities know what to say; They just have trouble communicating their thoughts. They may also have trouble understanding the meaning of the words others say to them, sometimes confusing one meaning with another. Some good skills that should be encouraged 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 to 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 such games, parents can encourage children to think aloud to guide their reasoning. Parents can also gently ask children questions about what they think will happen next in a situation, acknowledging each answer and using it as a basis for the next question.
Children with reading disabilities can become overwhelmed when faced with too much text at once. They may have trouble reading the alphabet or pronouncing words. They may skip lines while reading because the words appear to be moving on the page.
Educational toys like Melissa and Doug’s Opposite Puzzle Cards or See & Spell puzzle cards break reading down into its essential parts. GeoSpace’s Travel Read Spin and Word Spin Deluxe Family Edition are also great ways to turn spelling and reading skills into a fun experience. Focusing on one word/concept at a time and breaking words into letters keeps kids from getting confused by walls of text. When using such products, encourage children to talk about what they are reading to check understanding.
Children with writing learning disabilities(LD) struggle with many of the same problems as children with speaking and hearing LD. You have great ideas in your head but have trouble expressing yourself in writing with clean handwriting and good grammar and spelling. This is a case where the simplest toy can have the greatest impact. Take some of the pressure off of writing by letting kids spell out their thoughts on a fun chalkboard or dry-erase board. Now kids can keep erasing and/or rewriting their sentences until everything is just right.
Children with Math learning disabilities struggle with the meaning of numbers and numeric symbols. They have trouble memorizing and understanding math facts. At the most basic level, they wrestle with the patterns underlying mathematical concepts. Playing with pattern games, shape puzzles, and blocks can give a child the experience and confidence with patterns needed to succeed in math. For example, a toy like FoxMind Games’ Logix, which I let a child practice with shapes and logic patterns. Again, GeoSpace’s Travel Math Spin is a fun basic operations teaching tool that takes away the sometimes awful feeling a child has of having to learn math on their own. Remember that adult participation in a family environment with educational games is important to the learning process.
Organizational Skills LD
Children with organizational skills LD have difficulty keeping track of their materials and tasks. Even keeping their rooms or desks tidy can be difficult. Puzzles or other toys with pieces that can only go one way can subtly teach such children organizational skills. An organizer like Melissa and Doug’s Magnetic Responsibility Chart can encourage good habits by helping kids keep track of their responsibilities and being rewarded for good habits and behavior.
Social Skills LD
Children with Social Skills LD have difficulty interacting with other people. They misinterpret facial cues and gestures and make facial expressions and gestures that do not express what they are actually feeling. Dramatic role-play can allow children to practice appropriate social behavior in a safe environment that has removed the stress of real-world consequences. Dolls and dollhouses, playsets and figures, and costumes and props can all be vehicles for imaginative play that practice effective social interaction.
Motor skills LD
Children with Motor Skills LD struggle with both gross motor skills, such as balancing, jumping, or even running, and fine motor skills, such as tying string through holes or holding a pencil correctly. Toys like jump ropes, exercise equipment, and the plasma car can develop gross motor skills. Toys like string cards or art sets like the Melissa and Doug stamp set and bead kit can encourage fine motor skills. Some toys, such as building blocks, develop a range of 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 completing worksheets or dry assignments designed to teach contextual knowledge. Children with LD, in particular, may have difficulty just understanding how to fill out a worksheet. Playing with an educational toy, on the other hand, can encourage children to spend longer (and more enjoyable!) time 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 looking to develop his or her child’s skills in any of the above areas could benefit from investing in one of the toys discussed.
Thanks to Laeke Gebre | #Selection #educational #toys #children #learning #disabilities