Exploring the nature of support received by a learner with a specific learning disorder in a township mainstream school

Abstract

M.Ed.Abstract: Leaners with Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) present a challenge in township mainstream schools as they require additional support to cope with the curriculum. The specific additional support required is often unavailable in a township school. This study explored the nature of support provided for Themba, a 12 year old SeTswana speaking boy who was diagnosed with SLD in a mainstream township school. The study was conducted in a township school with limited resources, in Krugersdorp, Gauteng West. In this qualitative descriptive case study data was collected from semi-structured interviews with the learner, parent and educator. More information was collected from the educational psychologist report, referral forms, learner‟s school report, optometrist report and researcher‟s observation journal. Content analysis was used to analyse the data which developed into conceptual themes as described by the participants. From the themes that emerged it was evident that the learner required support in all systems in his environment. His poor family background and parents‟ lack of knowledge about learning difficulties delayed the early identification of his learning disorder. So, there is a demand for parental training and teaching about learning disorders. The deficiency in educator awareness also had an impact on delayed early identification. Therefore educators have to be equipped with skills and ability to identify learning difficulties within the first two year of schooling. So, the learner in this study needed a school environment that would accommodate his learning disorder by adapting the curriculum, through strategies like individual sessions, extra time and well - structured group work. The teacher also needed support from the school management and district office. In addition to the support provided in the class, this study also found that more support was required from the family, community and extra teacher support staff. This implies that a learner with SLD requires the interaction of different systems for him to be receiving adequate support..

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