There are a vast number of programs, products and resources available for both teachers and parents to select from for intervention purposes. Some of the more popular approaches and products have been reviewed by university-based research teams* to determine their value for individuals with learning difficulties and disabilities.
Their findings and recommendations are summarised in the following table.
The decision to recommend or not recommend particular programs has been based on the current evidence available linking particular programs and instructional approaches to improved results in specific academic areas. Research strongly suggests that interventions for learning disorders should target the component skills of reading, spelling, mathematics and writing – not other areas of functioning. They should also be cost effective. It is possible that some of the findings may change as additional research is completed and published.
The idea that individuals have unique learning styles has been a popular theory for many decades. However, there is little evidence to indicate that individuals have an innate preference for receiving new information via a particular sense (e.g., visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic). Another instructional approach that has maintained popularity is that of “multi-sensory” learning. Whilst providing information to children in various formats is likely to be beneficial, “multi-sensory” teaching approaches are not well validated in current research.
The first two sections of the table relate to Direct Instruction programs and Structured Synthetic Phonics programs. There are a great many programs and resources that can be viewed as falling under these two headings and only a small number of examples have been included in the table.
indicates that currently there is not sufficient evidence in relation to improved academic outcomes to recommend this program or approach)
*Dawson, G., & D’Souza, S. Behavioural Interventions to Remediate Learning Disorders: A technical report (2015), Centre for Brain Research and School of Psychology, The University of Auckland / Macquarie University Special Education Centre briefings – located at http://figshare.com/articles/MUSEC_Briefings_Archive/5096455
Bowen, C., & Snow, P. Making sense of interventions for children with developmental disorders: A guide for parents and professionals (2017)
Neilson R., & Howell, S. A critique of the L3 early years literacy program (2015). LDA Bulletin, 47(2), 8-12