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Make no mistake – students with learning disabilities may be smarter, a lot smarter, than their peers. Does Einstein ring a bell? This theoretical physicist and arguably the smartest man who ever lived was dyslexic. So were Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci before him.
However, what cannot be denied about students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties is that they employ a different method to learn. They usually take longer to digest material, complete homework and understand instructions. And they may not socialize as well as their peers. This is why schools arrange after school activities to help them.
Let’s take a look at the following 10 after school activities for students with learning difficulties.
Dancing Classes – Physical and mental fitness is as important to students with learning difficulties as it is for their peers. According to guidelines chalked out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, children 6 and over need at least one hour of daily physical exercise. Physical exertion could range from moderate to vigorous. Joining a dance class can fulfill the daily physical requirements.
Depending upon what the school is offering, students may have a choice in joining a dance class of their liking. This may range from popular contemporary dance to Latin American dance. Winston Preparatory School (www.winstonprep.edu) arranges dance classes to help students express themselves in a caring environment. Many other fun activities in this school are the part of their after school program for students.
Video Games – Kids love to play video games. Joining a video game club is a great way to meet new people, make friends and apply analytical and motor skills. Students are encouraged to discuss pros and cons of video games, predict the future of the gaming industry and even hold tournaments. Social and emotional effects of learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, can be emotionally draining, therefore participating in such activities can boost their morale.
Games such as Chicktionary, Boggle Bash, Anagram Scramble, Words with Friends, Hanging with Friends and Draw Something are specifically designed for students with learning difficulties. They are available for free.
Soccer – Since students with learning difficulties lack in social skills, playing soccer is a great way to meet new people. Good communication is absolutely necessary to be a good team player – it helps in building comradery. Building a rapport is essential to good social communication.
Gardening – Gardening is one of the better ways to learn Botany first hand. What makes this an exceptional activity is the fact that it is not time bound. Students learn about plants and vegetables in their own time and do not get overwhelmed with deadlines. Students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties can easily become frustrated when they see their peers grasp concepts way before they do. For them to achieve emotional equilibrium, gardening can help. It soothes their nerves and gives them a much needed break from the language based environment.
Community Work – What better way to work on your communication and social skills than volunteering at a local old people’s home. Some schools arrange these visits for their students where they play board games and cards with senior residents. This not only instills civic sense in students but also gives them the fulfillment of being responsible citizens.
In addition to playing games, students may also paint for their elderly audience and read out their hosts’ favorite books.
Movie Club – Did you know the director of Jaws and Indiana Jones Steven Spielberg is dyslexic? The multi award winning director was unlike his peers; he daydreamed his way through school. Students who believe they have a streak for story telling should join the movie club at school.
Yoga – Students with learning difficulties have a hard time focusing, therefore it is advisable that they do yoga after school. Yoga helps with focus, mental strength and flexibility. Furthermore, yoga helps the mind and body relax. By participating in a yoga class, students can learn various traditional yoga techniques and poses.
Fishing – Students with learning difficulties find the four walls of a classroom physically and mentally constraining and even suffocating. This is one of the reasons why they find it hard to focus while in school. Outdoor activities such as fishing are a great way for them to relax and unwind. In addition to learning fishing techniques, students will learn about the different species of fish and the laws regulating fishing.
Chess – Joining the school’s chess club can help students relax and apply their analytical skills. Chess can particularly help improve memory and math skills. It can also help children overcome their social shyness and take active part in discussions about plays and their favorite chess players.
Study Hall – A learning difficulty, be it dyslexia, dyscalculia and non-verbal learning disability, largely affects a student’s ability to learn. One of the hardest tasks for students with learning difficulties is to finish home work within a given time. Recognizing this, many schools hold after school classes to help such students finish their home work. A quiet and productive environment is fostered for the students to help them achieve their best. These classes may be supervised, to help students understand and finish assignments.
If you are a parent or a teacher to a child with learning difficulties, you will find the above mentioned activities useful. Most learning difficulties are for life and therefore require constant support from teachers, parents and schools.
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