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A Framework for Supporting Students With Learning Disabilities in Spanish Courses: Connecting Learning Characteristics and Instructional Methods
Students with learning disabilities are characterized by highly individualized dysfunction of the central nervous system. Current research has suggested that the learning difficulties experienced may be attributable to processing difficulties in working memory, attention, information retrieval, and phonological processing. In educational environments, students with learning disabilities often struggle to meet the demands of the general curriculum and require support or intervention to reveal their potential. Because the demands of learning an unfamiliar language can expose weaknesses and heighten anxiety, individuals with learning disabilities have often avoided or been discouraged from foreign language study. However, research conducted on the use of multi-sensory approaches has indicated that such instruction can help students with learning disabilities to succeed in learning Spanish. A discussion of the relationship between neurological research and multi-sensory teaching provides implications for persons with learning disabilities experiencing meaningful inclusion in Spanish courses. Application of research and associated theory to practice is expressed in the form of examples of general accommodations, existing resources, and learning strategies which provide a framework for students with LD to have positive experiences in Spanish.
Multi-Sensory, Foreign Language Instruction, Learning Disabilities, Working Memory, Spanish Vocabulary.
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