Misunderstood Minds

For my Ed. Psych class we are learning about students with exceptionalities. Our prof gave us this link for some simulation activities on for students who have challenges with attention, reading, writing, and math. I found this site very eye opening as I went through the activities as it put me in the shoes of a person with this type of challenge. My experience was only 10 minutes long and it was extremely frustrating and exhausting to get through. I encourage you to visit this site and let me know how you felt as we tried some of the activities.

I choose to do the activities under the reading category because during my internship I had a student who was in the process of being diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder. She had a huge challenge with reading, so I thought these activities would give me a better insight in to what she was feeling. While I was doing these activities I became extremely frustrated. I will share my feelings on each activity below.

Decoding Activity
This activity was extremely time consuming, frustrating, and exhausting. I could read a few words, but most of the time I had to stop, look at the key provided, look back at the text, sound it out, look back at the key, etc. I found this extremely exhausting and I could not imagine facing this every day as the student in my internship class did. Furthermore, this exercise disguised only eight of the forty-four known phonemes in the English language.

“A child with an auditory processing disorder may have difficulty understanding speech or directions (especially in environments in which there is excessive activity and/or noise), decoding letters, sound blending or spelling, or may seem to “mishear” and substitute similar-sounding words” (Smith et al, pg. 233, Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Settings).

I was extremely frustrated and eventually gave up on the activity after 10 minutes of trying to get through the short passage and could not imagine being faced with this challenge every day. Some of the things we did to help our student with this challenge was using technology such as earobics and the WYNN program to supplement your literacy program. These students need programs in place to help with their decoding, comprehension, and phonemic awareness skills. If a FM system is available this would also help.

It is also important to keep directions and rules short and to the point. It is mentally exhausting for students with decoding difficulties and students with APD to make it through the day because all of their energy is put into figuring out what is being said and what to do. Another adaptation you could make is not assigning homework as they are exhausted from the school day.

Memory Activity
The basis of this activity was reading the passage and retaining the information read for a quiz at the end. This activity was very overwhelming! As I was reading the text began disappearing. I am a slow reader and with the text disappearing as I read it was hard for me to keep up. By the end of the reading I was unable to remember anything I read and even the topic. This is something I have struggled with in my own personal life. I find that I need to read things over and over again in order to retain the information in the text. This was extremely frustrating growing up as I was never given any strategies to help me succeed with my reading. This totally turned me off of reading and I never took up reading as a hobby and considered myself as a person who “hated” reading.

As I went through my high school and university ‘career’ I was able to find strategies that helped me as a reader. I used things such as graphic organizers, jot notes, etc to help me retain what I was reading. As a teacher I hope I can teach my students these strategies at a young age so they can develop a “love of reading.”

Reading Video
I can totally relate with the student in this video in remembering what is read. As I said above, I can read things 3 times through and still not comprehend what I read. It is so important to teach our students strategies to help them comprehend what they are reading.

Some things we can do to help struggling readers is make reading authentic, tap into their cultural funds of knowledge, provide daily opportunities for reading, read aloud every day, and play games.

The website has a lot of activities to help with reading. If you haven’t already visited it, I would recommend it to you. Especially those of you in ERDG 425!