For students with learning disabilities, extra support and remediation targeting their specific areas of need are often required to ensure they have the best chance of developing appropriate skills. This may occur through in-school support or in the form of individual tutoring by a specialised teacher or a trained parent outside of school time or through in-school support. There are many intervention programs available for teachers and tutors to use, some of which are produced commercially and others that are freely available on the internet. It is important to note that the cost of the program does not necessarily determine the effectiveness. The following criteria are associated with programs most likely to achieve successful outcomes.
Further explanation and examples of structured synthetic phonics programs can be found in Appendix 3.
Beware of snake oil salesmen and spin doctors
Unfortunately, there are many individuals and organisations that make misleading statements regarding the nature of learning disabilities and/or appropriate interventions to remediate these disabilities. It is important to be wary of claims that a learning disability can be remediated following a brief, 10-week treatment, or that reading-based learning disabilities are a visual problem. With appropriate intervention, most individuals with learning disabilities will make gains in their academic skills. However, this will almost always require a considerable period of intensive remediation targeting their particular area/s of weakness.