Imagine being diagnosed with both ADHD, ADD and a visual learning disability. For ADHD/ADD students with a visual learning disorder, differentiating instruction will require additional study skills and learning techniques to process information.
Study Skills and Techniques
Students with ADHD/ADD deal with behavioral and academic disabilities that can compound their ability to acquire learning through traditional instructional practices. Couple that with a visual learning disability and students can feel like a bicycle missing a front wheel. Having visualization disorders can impact how students see and process information. Students may have difficulty differentiating spatial designs and patterns of information, so mathematical computation and problem solving can pose a real processing nightmare for students having a duality of disabilities.
Ways to Differentiate Instruction
Less is More: For students having difficulty processing visual information, the frustration can produce behavioral responses that may include acting out in class or providing distractions for other students. Having less emphasis on visual learning objectives that may include spatial or numerical charts and graphs that are problematic may provide more learning acquisition for students who need less visual and a more differentiated modality of learning.
Artistic Mediums: Helping students compromised by ADHD/ADD and visual learning disorders present their learning process and outcome in a different medium could help them show strength in other learning skills. Developing study skills by allowing students to use artistic methods (theatrical and dramatizations) to show what they have learned provide a great opportunity to modify and tier the instruction for teachers.
Peer-Pair Sharing/Group Collaboration: Being able to share their learning with peers or in a group collaborative forum provides another medium for students with dual learning disabilities. Students can develop study groups in Peer/Pair Sharing and group collaboration inside and outside of the classroom to process their learning goals.
Knowing the difference between students with visual learning disabilities and students who have strong visual learning styles is crucial in providing differentiated instruction. ADHD/ADD students with visual learning disabilities have difficulty in processing visual learning goals, whereas these same students who have a preferential visual learning style can actively use visualization techniques and skills as a major key to learning.
- Dr. Barbara Lynn Casey