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Speech Disorders

There following are few classroom tips that can be used to better understand children with speech disorder:

1. If you concerned about a child, arrange for screening with a speech/language pathologist.

2. Try talking at a slower rate, especially to the child with dysfluent speech.

3. Give the child with dysfluent speech plenty of time to complete a message. Do not finish words or sentences for the child, and do not ask him or her to stop and start over when stuttering occurs.

4. If a child is engaging in voice-damagaging screaming during play, encourage him or her to make sounds with the lips or tongue rather than the voice.

5. Encourage the child with dysfluent speech and the child engaging in vocal abuse to use an "easy voice," one that is softer and slower.

6. If you having difficulty understanding a chil, ask to be told in another way, to be shown o picture, or to be shown an object that will help you understand. Try to teach the child not to "give up" when having difficulty.

7. Give all children with speech difficulty ample opportunities to interact with children whose speech clearer and more developed.

8. Give the child opportunities to successfully communicate by talking when there is high probability of success (e.g., answering specific questions, verbalizing a choice from a known selection, naming a friend while pointing at him or her).

Language impairment

It is important that a teacher work with child at their level of understanding to ensure success and avoid behavioral problems. The most effective teacher will be one who is aware of the particular skills of the child who is language impaired and will provide support in the form of gestures, manual signs, pictures, and demonstration to help the child understand and communicate. Instructions will need to be given at different levels for different children in the classroom.


Hyperactivity/Attention Deficit Disorder

Hyperactive children need a more consistent environment than do other children in order to learn rules and self-control. It is especially important for adults to be highly specific about the behaviors that are acceptable and unacceptable and to concentrate on “catching the child being good” so that desirable behaviors can be rewarded through praise, privileges, or awarding stickers. It is also critical to recognize the limits of the child's ability to sit still so that the demands of the classroom are modified to maximize success. For example, there is no reason that every child should have to be seated with both feet on the floor for art or other activities. Some children will accomplish the task with much less disruption if allowed to stand, walk, or wiggle. The rule should be to avoid disrupting the children's activities rather than to meet an adult's idea of attentive behavior.


Intellectual Disability (MR/DD)

The following are helpful classroom tips to use when teaching children with Intellectual Disability :

  1. Use simple, clear verbal instructions. Sometimes it helps to use gestures as well
  2. Break tasks down into parts that can be easily accomplished. If necessary, physically guide the child through the task, and then gradually withdraw your help.
  3. Pay special attention to building self-esteem by praising desirable behavior and calling attention to attractive traits. If the child with Intellectual Disability is in a group with children of normal intelligence, take care that the child is included in all group activities. Often, assigning a buddy will help.



Children with the more severe forms of autism may need to be in self-contained classes, perhaps integrated for parts of the day with none handicapped peers. However, there are children with autism who can be mainstreamed effectively. The teacher will need to identify reinforces (crackers, raisins, other edibles; time with a particular toy) to supplement praise, and the other usual social reinforcement used to maintain learning and good behavior in a preschool classroom. It is also important to maintain a regular schedule, making the environment as predictable as possible for the child. When changes are necessary, the teacher should be prepared for the child to become upset, but also to try to prepare, the teacher should be prepared for the child. When changes are necessary, the teacher should be predictable as possible for the child to become upset, but also to try to prepare him or her for the change. Communication may be enhanced by the use of gestures and standard “signs” used for deaf communication.