Diagnosing Learning Disabilities:
Increasing Student Motivation Within Special Education
In today’s educational system, it’s utterly important and critical for educators to identify learning disabilities early on when a child starts attending a public-school or other educational institutions or facilities. Educators and other professionals should be trained to identify students struggling cognitively in different subject content areas, example reading, comprehension and writing. Educators should not overlook students they may have one or more learning disabilities, because it could jeopardize a student’s chance of succeeding both academically and socially. Once, a child is properly diagnosed with a learning disability it’s just as important to increase motivation as a method to improve academic progress within special educational programming. Diagnosing learning disabilities and increasing motivation in exceptional students will be studied, examined, implemented and discussed in the following summary fully defined.
Keywords: diagnosing disabilities, response to intervention, learning deficits, methods of intervention, increasing motivation
Diagnosing Learning Disabilities:
And Increasing Student Motivation with Exceptionalities
In today’s public-school system and other educational institutions or facilities it’s imperative for educator’s and other professionals not overlook students that struggle academically, but referring students for a full evaluation to target one or more learning deficits, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention hyper deficit disorder (AHDD), emotional and behavioral disorder(s) , and other delay developmental disability disorders according to Pasta at al., (2013). But, not only targeting learning disabilities that’s important in supporting a student’s educational goals, but also using motivation as a method to improve student’s abilities, including cognitively, socially, and academically within the learning environment (p. 125).
Diagnosing learning disabilities early on will not only targets specific deficits, but increases motivation that can improve student’s ability to meet his/her anticipated academic and social goals outlined in an individualized education plan (IEP) or 504 Plan according to Bassette & Tauber-Doughty (2016). Therefore, it’s critical a student is properly assessed, tested, and referred for services, including placement for special education programming that would support a students academic and social goals (p. 18).
How could motivational tools and methods be successfully applied in students placed in special education programming that would increase academic and social success based on past and recent research? How could cognitive motivation theories contribute and support exceptional students within special education? These questions will be studied, analyzed, implemented, and discussed in the following summary of this paper on learning disabilities and increasing motivation in students with exceptionalities in the following summary fully addressed and defined (McLeod, 2017).
Properly Identifying and Diagnosing LDs
First foremost, it’s the sole and legal responsibility of educators, medical, mental health providers, and other professionals not overlook or over diagnose children with delay developmental disorders, but targeting specific learning deficits. Research has shown 1 and 16 public school students have individualized education plans (IEP) and 1 in 50 have 504 Plans for learning disabilities, including students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), emotional and behavior disorder(s), physical and mental impairments according to Gillespie & Graham (2014). But, there are cases of children that are overlooked or inappropriately tested for specific learning disabilities, example Jane Doe is struggling with reading, but the teacher fails to refer her for a full evaluation for assessment and testing purposes that would target specific areas for learning deficit(s).
Studies have shown students placed in special education services that were identified with a specific learning disability (SLD) that changed from 43% in the fall of 2008 to 39% in the fall of 2015, a 9.3% decrease. But, however there were other mental and health impairments that increased from 11% t0 15% during the same period. Data shown there was an increase of learning disabilities diagnosed, but there were other specific learning disabilities that were overlooked, ignored, or missed (p. 264).
Furthermore, the importance of identifying struggling students is formally having he/she assessed, tested, and referred for educational support services that would intervene, treat, and improve overall learning effectiveness, strengthened weak areas of subject content, help he/she reach their full potential in these areas, cognitively, academically, behaviorally, emotionally, and socially (p. 258).
Attention Issues, Go Unnoticed
Do learning disabilities go unnoticed, overlooked or plan ignored? Can teachers and other educational professionals simply make a mistake just overlooking students that are struggling with subject content areas in reading, comprehension, writing and math, but it has happened according to Hauerwas, Brown & Scott (2013). Indeed, teachers and other professionals have failed to inappropriately diagnose and test students with one or more known learning delay developmental disability disorder(s), including autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention hyper deficit disorder (AHDD), Asperger’s syndrome, trauma brain disorders, mental retardation, physical and mental impairments, emotional and behavior disorder(s), other disabilities (p. 106).
In today’s educational system, it’s utterly important that teachers and other professionals are highly trained and educated in identifying students that are struggling academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally, because without properly identifying cognitive deficits it will decrease a student’s chance of he/she from meeting their goals academically and socially (p.124). It’s important for those educational professionals to use, implement, and use response to intervention (RTI) for students with one or more detectable learning disorder(s), emotional and behavior deficits that could jeopardize any chance of academic and social success, but meeting their anticipated educational goals within the learning environment in the scope and field of special education (p. 132).
Furthermore, teacher and other educational professionals should use response to intervention (RTI) which will address existing learning disabilities and prevent other issues of learning deficits, example preventing students from absorbing, learning, and remembering new subject content, such as learning the parts of speech (capitalizing the beginning of a sentence, proper sentence structure, and using proper punctuation at the end of a sentence). It’s important not to let issues of learning disabilities go unnoticed, undetected, ignored, or overlooked because it could jeopardize a student’s chance of being successful both academically and socially, onto adulthood according to Bulgren, Graner, & Deshler, (2013).
Theories Associated with this Study
Theories used in this study contributed to past and recent research studies on appropriately diagnosing learning disabilities and increasing motivation for students with learning deficits including the following delay developmental disability disorders, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention hyper deficit disorder (ADHD), Asperger’s syndrome, brain traumatic disorder(s), mental and physical impairments, emotional and behavioral disorders, and other disabilities not mentioned (Bulgren, Graner & Deshler, 2013).
Learning theories have played an important and critical role in special education, but offering a strong role in a student’s educational goals that has improved his/her quality of education (p. 19). Theories should be employed in teaching practices for students with exceptionalities to improve learning effectiveness, academic growth and progress within the learning environment (p. 22).Theoretical issues have been debated to whether or not teaching theories are effective enough in a certain area of education, but it’s important to apply recent research practices in special education, including cognitive motivation theory, operant conditioning theory, and intrinsic motivation theory which will be further explained, implemented, applied and summarized in the following fully addressed and defined.
Cognitive Motivation Theory Association
Cognitive motivation theories can certainly support students diagnosed with one or more learning disabilities that can help meet and achieve their anticipated educational goals, such as an individualized education plan (IEP) or 504 Plan according to Heal & Hanley (2007). Research has shown classroom applications of cognitive theories of motivation can improve students with learning disabilities attitude towards a subject matter, example reading, writing, and math, willingness to participate in individual and group projects or activities and completing an individual assignment or task (p. 256).
Cognitive motivation theories, itself can be implemented into a students daily learning environment that can help them participate in individual and group assignments, completing a task, and working towards bettering themselves academically and socially according to Heal & Hanley (2007). Because applying cognitive motivation theories have been proven to strengthen student’s self-determination, eagerness to learn, and willingness to go beyond their expectations, without being asked. Motivation can be applied, used, and implemented in a student’s educational goals with or without learning disabilities. But, when motivation is intertwined and integrated in students with exceptionalities it can certainly be used to strengthen a student’s interest and attention (p. 258).
Furthermore, cognitive theories can be successful implemented, used, and integrated into a student’s individualized education plan (IEP) or 504 Plan. How can cognitive motivation theories be used to improve a student’s quality of education? Motivation increases a student’s likelihood of meeting his/her anticipated goals, both academically and socially. (p. 260). Without motivation there would be an increase in behavior, emotional, and academic problems among young adolescence, especially students with learning disabilities (p. 261).
Operant Conditioning Theory Association
Behavioral professionals and psychologists agree that motivation is vital, critical, important, and essential for learning effectiveness. Does motivation improve behavioral and emotional disorders, and cognitive learning deficits? Example of behavioral theory applied in students with delay developmental disability disorders, Gus is an 8-year old placed in a self-contained classroom in special education, he responds to earning a reward at the end of a school-day, so motivation is applied to help Gus stay on track and successfully completing a classroom assignment or task, fully participating in group and individual activities. Schunk (2016) heavily emphasis the importance of implementation of behavioral modification on operant conditioning that can be used to strengthening a behavior by providing a reward or praise for completing a task or assignment that has shown to decrease negative and unwanted behavior(s).
Furthermore, by integrating behavioral theories, specifically on operant conditioning that can help students meet their anticipated educational goals, but improving the onset of behavioral and emotional problems, unwanted and acceptable behaviors, and improve a student’s learning effectiveness, and strengthen his/her areas of weaknesses (Schunk, 2016). Operant conditioning can be effective in students, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Asperger’s disorders, severe emotional and behavior disorders, mental and physical impairments, and other known delay developmental disability disorders (p. 382). It’s utterly important for teachers and other educational professionals, including other important members of a student individualized education plan (IEP) or 504 Plan to apply and integrate behavioral theories to improve a student’s quality of education, both academically and socially, but going beyond their goals within the educational system (p. 348). It’s important for teachers and other educational team members to use motivation as a method for students with learning disabilities (p. 354).
Intrinsic Motivation Theory Association
What is intrinsic motivation theory? How can intrinsic motivation theory improve students with exceptionalities quality of education? We know that motivation is an inherited trait and learned behavior, such as “monkey see, monkey do.” But, its one of three temperaments (activity, adaptability, emotionally). But, those students that have learning disabilities need other means of motivation, such as positive influences, encouragement, and positive reinforcement that could improve behaviors, deter or decrease emotional outburst, unexpected tantrums, giving up, failing to complete a task due to self-esteem and discouragement according to Wilson & David (1994).
Intrinsic motivation influences students with learning disabilities to choose and complete a task or assignment, choose a favorite character or subject for completing writing assignment, choosing a book on a favorite character or subject or pastime that can increase willingness to learn new subject content, self-determination, and eagerness to participate in existing and new activities outside their comfort zone (p. 148).
Furthermore, intrinsic motivation can strengthen a student’s ability to focus in on a task, actively seeking out and participating in other activities within their learning environment (p. 152). It’s just as important that teachers and other educational professionals employ intrinsic motivation into a student’s quality of education, but supporting he/she academically, socially, cognitively, behaviorally, and emotionally (p. 153). Motivation should be a part of a student’s educational plan that should be incorporated a student’s daily routine within the learning environment, especially for students with emotional and behavioral disorders, including other delay developmental disability disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Intrinsic motivation is a critical, but important part of students with learning disabilities within the scope and field of special education (P. 156).
The most important foundational principles on this study on properly diagnosing learning disabilities and increasing motivation in students with learning disabilities is heavily summarizing on the cause and effect of teachers and other educational professionals failing to overlook, ignore and not paying attention to students struggling in one or more subjects in a core curriculum of a school-based system according to Scott, Hauerwas, & Brown (2014).
A public-school system or other educational facilities or institutions should have principles, guidelines, and standards for teachers and other educational professionals, including adequate training, education, knowledge of federal education and disability laws, yearly conferences and in school mandatory training, additional education classes, specifically in the area of special education, and weekly collaboration with the school-district, the principal, and teachers, and other educational professionals which could strengthen a school-based system (p. 173).
Furthermore, the school-based system (teachers, para professionals, and other educational staff members) could incorporate and implement foundational principles of providing students with disabilities a quality and fair education, but not failing to implement learning theories into special education (p. 178). Why is learning theories important foundation for teaching and learning effectiveness within special education? Because specific learning theories can decrease behavior and emotional problems, improve students’ abilities, including academically, cognitively, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally within the scope and field of special education (p. 183).
Important Key Terms
The key terms used in this paper contribute to research on appropriately diagnosing learning disabilities and increasing motivation as an effective method for improving students with learning, cognitive and behavioral disorder (Schunk, 2016). Key terms used in this study, include diagnosing disabilities, response to intervention (RTI, Model), learning deficits, methods of intervention, and increasing motivation within special education will be examined, explained, summarized and applied in the following fully defined.
What is a disability? A disability can be classified as individuals bound to a wheelchair, walker or bed bound, but a disability goes beyond what a person might think what is really means. First foremost, disabilities have to be properly diagnosed in terms of its classification, mentally, physically, behaviorally, emotionally, and cognitively (Atcherson et al., 2013). A disability is a restriction that keeps a human being from doing, acting, performing or completing a physical or mental task (p. 49). Diagnosing disabilities early on can prevent an onset of behavior and emotional deficits, but only if they are properly diagnosed with appropriate testing diagnostics by a professional (medical care provider, psychologist, psychiatrist, or educational professional, etc.).
Response to Intervention
What is response to intervention, the RTI? Teachers and other educational professionals should collect data, create teacher-made test and assessments, use ABCs, such as recording information, the antecedent, behavior and consequence, and use response to intervention (RTI) that should be implemented in a student’s individualized education plan. Response to intervention (RTI) could help students with learning and attention issues in a core curriculum of a school-based system (Gillespie & Graham, 2014).
Furthermore, response to intervention (RTI) is a mutli-tier approach to identifying learning disabilities in students, including diagnose of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention hyper deficit disorder (AHDD), brain traumatic injury (TBI), mental and physical impairments, emotional and behavior disorders, and cognitive learning deficits, and other delay developmental disability disorders. Response to intervention (RTI) can be used to improve students with exceptionalities quality of education, both academically and socially within generalized and special education (p. 463).
What is learning deficits? Learning disabilities are neurologically-based problems that can effect memory, learning, planning, carrying out a simple task, auditory, behavior, and attention, but limiting math, reading, and writing skills (Atcherson et al., 2013). Learning deficits can weight on a person’s ability to perform academically, socially, and behaviorally due to neurological issues. Learning deficits should not be confused with other delay developmental disability disorders, such as deaf, blind, or physically impaired. Because individuals that are wheelchair bound, blind, or deaf may succeed academically, example teaching, holding a government position or other professional roles (p. 53).
Learning deficits (learning disabilities) is classified as an “umbrella” term describing a number of numerous learning disabilities, such as dysgraphia 1 of 18 categories under federal law (p. 57). Learning disabilities or deficits cannot be cured, fixed, or magically disappear, but with appropriate services, such as intervention and services individuals can improve their quality of life, academically, emotionally, socially, and behaviorally (p. 61).
Methods of Intervention
It’s important for students to receive intervention for learning disabilities in education and home-based system. Teachers and other educational professionals use interventions for learning disabilities to improve a student’s quality of education that can assist and support his/her academically, socially, and behaviorally within a school-based system (Nikolaos, 2015). Methods of interventions is important, but critical for students with delay developmental disability disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and other cognitive learning deficits within the scope and field of education (p. 109).
Methods of interventions in the following, resource room; providing part-time to full-time special education services that ensures students are appropriately receiving academic, behavior, and social support services outlined in his/her individualized education plan (IEP) or 504 Plan (p. P. 111). Inclusion; placing students in part-time or full-time generalized classes, but with support from an paraprofessional, bypass’ interventions; accommodating students that may not know how to write, but given a laptop/PC to use instead which has proven to strengthen a student’s weaknesses, home-based support; receiving support academically, emotionally and behaviorally, such as parents developing homework and studies at home that align with a students individualized education plan (IEP) or 504 Plan, and other interventions that support a students anticipated academic and social goals within special education (p. 117).
It’s important for teaching and educational professionals to apply, integrate and use methods of motivation to increase student productivity, self-esteem, keeping on task, completing individual and group assignments, and learning effectiveness within the learning environment in a classroom setting within special education of a school-based system according to Heal & Hanley (2007).
Definition of motivation a reason for behaving a certain way, working towards a goal or reward, the state of condition of being motivated or having a strong reason to act or accomplish something according to SparkNotes (2005). Motivation can be used to reinforce positive behavior, but also increasing academic progress and success.
Motivation can be used an effective approach to influence learners with learning disabilities in successful completion of a task or an assignment, working towards a specific reward or goal, and meeting their goals, academically and socially within the scope and field of special education (Heal & Hanley, 2007).
Gaps in Research
Research must continue in order to seek out gaps that need to be studied, such as continuing to build other theories based on scientific evidence, studies conducted in a school-based system collecting data and information, interviews, and surveys(Gillespie & Graham, 2014). Theories should be further studied by educators, healthcare professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other professional domains, specifically how they identify key outcomes, and measurable outcomes of motivation theories used to increase educational principles, teaching practices, and standards for special education programming and services provided for students with delay developmental disability disorder within the scope and field of education (p. 462).
In today’s educational system there is a greater need to provide support services for students with disabilities, including individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention hyper deficit disorder (AHDD), Asperger’s syndrome, brain traumatic injuries, mental and physical impairments, emotional and behavior disorders, and other delay developmental disability disorders. God has called his people to help support, teach, instruct and mentor students with encouragement and a strong foundation of motivation in today’s special education system according to Sire (2009). What does the Bible state about this problem? Read and see, Matthew 19:26, “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. It’s important educational professionals that hold a biblical worldview encourage students through motivation that nothing is impossible or unreachable, because of knowing anything is possible through Jesus Christ our Lord and savior (Thorsos, 2011).
It’s the most important part of any school-based system is appropriately diagnosing learning disabilities, but no overlooking or ignoring students that are struggling to survive and float within the educational system, not letting them sink, just to fail. Students cannot afford one’s mistakes of failing to refer he/she for a full-evaluation, assessment, and testing to target specific learning cognitive deficits, because it could negatively jeopardize a student’s chance of meeting their academic goals, both academically and socially. Without a proper diagnosis, the student could develop severe emotional and behavior deficits that could make them sink deeper in academic and social failure, as well as into adulthood. Read, Luke 6:40, “the student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. Teachers and other professionals should never let any child just slip into the cracks of education. Read, this famous quote for teaching, “The job of an educator is to teach students to see vitality in themselves” ― Joseph Campbell
References, Upon Request