The unlike is joined toghether and from difference result in the most beautiful harmonyHeraclitus
What are Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)?
The expression “Specific Learning Disabilities” (SLD) refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders of neurobiological origin characterized by significant and persistent difficulties in the acquisition and use of the instrumental skills of reading, writing, and calculation. These disorders are called dyslexia (reading disorder), dysgraphia and dysorthographia (writing disorder), and dyscalculia (arithmetic skill disorder).
Let's analyze them more in detail.
Dyslexia concerns the ability to decode a written text in terms of speed and accuracy. Concretely, having dyslexia means having difficulty in automating the reading process, presenting slowness in information processing, and problems of accuracy (incorrect reading).
Dysgraphia is a graphomotor writing disorder. It concerns a deficit in the ability of writing. One of the signs of dysgraphia is the poor legibility of handwriting.
On the other hand, dysorthographia is a writing disorder of a linguistic nature. One of its signs is spelling errors, and it refers to the impairment of spelling skills compared to what is expected for age, attended class and education received.
Lastly, dyscalculia is a deficit that can affect both the numerical cognition system (understanding and production of numbers) and the executive and calculation procedures.
A diagnosis of SLD can be made starting from the second year of primary school in the presence of normal intellectual functioning and the absence of a specific sensory deficit.
Who is an SLD Tutor and what do they do?
An SLD Tutor is a person with specific skills and knowledge in the field of learning disabilities who aims to offer children specialized post-school support. The main tasks of the SLD Tutor are:
- Facilitating and guiding the learning process;
- Promoting autonomy;
- Mediating the relationships between school and family
The SLD Tutor
- Supports the student by helping them to manage time and study material, and by accompanying them in the discovery of their own resources;
- Strengthens the student's self-esteem and sense of self-efficacy;
- Activates compensation strategies;
- Guides the student towards study autonomy;
- Assists the family in dealing with the school, providing them with advice and sometimes involving them in the afternoon school support of their child;
- Dialogues with other professionals and teachers in drafting the Personalized Didactic Plan (PDP), proposing changes and additions where necessary.
Cases of emergency
In recent years, the figure of the specialized tutor has been able to respond effectively to the different needs of students with SLD, demonstrating its validity not only for purely scholastic aspects but also from an emotional and relational point of view. In fact, the tutor offers a new model of relationship and emotional behavior aimed at establishing a relationship of trust and alliance in which to share not only difficult and discouraging moments, but also beautiful and highly satisfying ones.
A professional who wants to work with SLD students requires theoretical-practical training and specific skills, allowing them to work also on the student's metacognitive strategies. Having full knowledge of the mechanisms of SLD is the basis for implementing a structured and effective intervention. However, to be a good tutor, having adequate academic preparation is not enough: in fact, it is equally important to have a series of personal qualities such as empathy, curiosity, and listening skills.
The tutoring intervention is not a simple after-school activity. Its goal is not to finish homework but to develop a study method, meeting after meeting, that leads the student towards increasing autonomy. Two types of intervention can be distinguished: individual tutoring intervention and intervention in small groups of 2/3 students with similar characteristics.
Whatever the type of intervention, for qualified support for SLD, we recommend at least two meetings a week of one hour and a half each.