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Expert Q&A

One of my middle school students has severe learning disabilities and cannot write sentences independently. How can I help her?

I have a 6th grade student that is functioning on a pre-primer level. She recognizes letters but does not know all letter sounds. She can copy sentences and paragraphs from the board; but when asked to write, she has no word formation.

She uses “chunks” of letters and often puts spaces to create “words” and uses punctuation. Yesterday, she wrote: “deu dreus als kit petip fim dea yan et jit on a u ej and seu tok a uejes sosi of lr ret and seu yor hr sos: snd seu uod hafr kefmbakand sue” in response to the question: “What happened to Dorothy’s house when the cyclone hit?”

I am trying to help her; but when we have success, she seems to forget everything just minutes later. I have never seen this before, and I am wondering how I can get help for this child. Thank you for caring.

This student needs a full psycho-educational evaluation to clarify why she is having these problems. If you teach in a public school, suggest that the girl’s parents request from the principal that a comprehensive evaluation be done. If you teach in a private school, advise the parents that they can request such studies from the principal of the public school she would have gone to. I am going to guess that studies have been done but that you have not been provided with the information known about her. If true, ask to review her records.

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