Characteristics of Effective Instruction

Every child with a learning disorder is unique. Consequently, instruction and intervention provided to children with LDs and other disabilities should be carefully tailored to individual needs and abilities. Instruction should be tied to clear, developmentally-appropriate goals, and it should be systematic, incremental, and frequently assessed for efficacy. While no two individualized programs of education will be the same, there are some features that are common to high-quality instruction:

  • It is tied to clearly articulated objectives.
  • It is highly structured and systematic.
  • It is direct and explicit.
  • Abstract concepts are presented after concrete and representational examples are mastered.
  • Instruction is broken into small steps, and directions and prompts are provided frequently.
  • Instruction is multi-sensory and includes various ways to acquire and demonstrate knowledge.
  • Learning is frequently assessed, and plateaus or regressions in achievement are quickly addressed.
  • There are frequent informal checks of understanding.
  • Formative feedback is offered often.
  • There frequent opportunities for guided and independent practice.
  • Problem solving strategies and appropriate approaches to work are modeled by the instructor. 

For more information about LD, please visit our LD FAQs page.

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How to Advocate for Your Child

  • Learn about your child's disorder and be prepared to explain it to teachers and others who play a role in your child's education.
  • Remember that you are the expert on your own child. If something doesn't seem right, say so in a calm and reasonable, yet insistent manner.
  • Clarify your goals for your child and propose solutions to your child's difficulties.
  • Carefully listen to and consider the proposals and advice of educational professionals.
  • Try to keep the focus on specific strategies and desired outcomes, while avoiding generalizations.
  • Be a vocal supporter of your child. Children with disabilities often suffer from poor self esteem and, to borrow from Charles Blow, the "soft bigotry of low expectations." Know that with the right supports and scaffolds, your child can achieve great things -- and say so often.
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Dyslexia Resources

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Other Resources