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Motivation for HS LD

Submitted by an LD OnLine user on

I am a paraprofessional in a small school in North Dakota. I am struggling with motivating a few of my High School students. They never seem to remember assingments, do not want to do anything, just like to stare out into space.

I will be honest, this is my first year as a paraprofessional, so basically everything I am trying it trial and error. I was hoping if I posted on here that someone out there, would have some good concrete ideas for me to try.

Thought about reward charts, I know this is more for elementary age students, but not sure what else to go to!

Please HELP! I really want to get through to these kids to realize that there are resources out there that can help them to succeed!

Thank you!

Submitted by eoffg on Tue, 11/27/2012 - 10:53 AM


Hi Ms Liz,

LD can be looked as a Learning Disability and problem to be fixed?
Or a Learning Difference, where a Disability in one ‘area’, typically results in compensating strengths in another ‘area’?
Where in terms of ‘concrete ideas’, perhaps the ‘concrete’ could be looked at as helping them to understand their own ways of thinking and learning?
So that they understand the foundation that they have, and can then explore their potential?
The turning point with any Learning Disability, is whether by the time a student reaches high school?
Whether they have decided to ‘give up, or to take it on as a challenge?
Where taking on an LD as a personal challenge, brings its own rewards, and builds a strength of character.

Submitted by TomW on Tue, 11/27/2012 - 4:09 PM


You are not alone. The school where I work serves a state correctional system and we seem to have more than our share of students with disabilities, including learning disability. To me motivation is crucial. Without it, everyone’s time is wasted and teachers end up teaching the exact opposite message than what they want. To motivate our students, we had to design a whole different way of education that may not be possible in a traditional school setting, but I can tell what works for us.

1. Close personal trusting relationships between a student and a teacher.

2. Course credit requirements based on completion of specific assignments, i.e. like a college syllabus defines course requirements.

3. Feedback systems in place that report progress as a student moves through a course and through a diploma program.

4. Remove the requirement for seat time and allow students to move more quickly (or slowly) as they become more (or less) motivated.

5. Students form their own educational goals. You can lead a horse to water… A book you might find informative about this is Summerhill School, by A.S. Neill.

In summary, individualized self-paced learning with explicit course requirements and tangible markers for students to see their progress. I would also like to say that when a school can do this, it will discover there is nothing special about special education. It’s all regular education and ALL students get what they need to be successful.

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