Policy makers have been called on to acquaint themselves with issues affecting individuals with learning disabilities. This call was made by Mrs Florence Akua Mensah, Special Educator and Reading Interventionist of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW).
Mrs Akua Mensah, who is also a Senior Lecturer at UEW, said this during a presentation on the topic ‘Dealing with Children with Learning Disabilities”, at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana Legon.
The event was part of a series organized by Radian Family Gate Keeper, a non-governmental organization for proprietors, teachers, parents and other stakeholders.
She said individuals with learning disabilities contribute in positive and meaningful ways towards the socio-economic development of the country and understanding the nature and needs of individuals with learning disabilities will help in the implementation of Inclusive Education in the country.
Mrs Mensah urged policy makers to expand the preserves education, support and fund professional development in the use of evidence-based practices; knowledge and skills for educators, support implementation of research-based practice, which include the universal screening of skills needed for academic success: teaching that employs curricula, methods, and procedures.
She said learning disabilities are presumed to be disorders of the central nervous system and a variety of factors may contribute to their occurrence including childbirth problems, hereditary, incidents after birth and external factors.
Mrs Mensah said types of learning disabilities include visual-motor, language, memory, perceptual problems, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.
A person with dyslexia can have problems in any of the tasks involved in reading, it is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, poor spelling and decoding abilities; Dysgraphia is a specific learning disability that affects written expression and children with Dyscalculia may have difficulty understanding number-related concepts, or using symbols or functions needed for success in mathematics.
She said, Dyspraxia is a developmental disorder of the brain in childhood causing difficulty in activities requiring coordination and movement.
Mrs Mensah said it is acceptable that “an environment that is universally designed for learning includes everyone; prepares them to be inclusive, think inclusively and shows the children that everyone is different, each with varying strengths, and has needs.
It is vital to adopt policies that promote persons with learning disabilities success in school, work places and in the communities at large, she said.
The participants were taken through Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) a condition that makes is hard for kids to recognize subtle differences between sounds in words which affects their ability to process what other people are saying; Visual Processing Disorder (VPD) a disorder which refers to a hindered ability to make sense of information taken in through the eyes, assessment and identification of children with learning disabilities, managing children with learning disabilities.