Case Study Learning Disability

CaseStudy: Learning Disability

CaseStudy: Learning Disability

Learningdisability refers to different areas of functioning and mentalprocessing in which an individual experiences learning challenges inthe typical manner. The learner may experiences difficulties inacquiring different learning skills, such as reading, listening,speaking, reasoning, or speaking. The present case study will addressdyslexia learning disorder that has affected a 3rdgrade learner named Emily. Dyslexia refers to a learning disorderthat reduces the learners’ ability to read texts fluently andacquire accurate comprehension in spite of their normal intelligence(National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2014).

Strengths,presenting needs, and academic deficit

Emilyis a 3rdgrader who has been referred for a learning disability in learning,dyslexia. Currently, Emily is nine years old and has always attendedthe Preparatory Elementary School without repeating any grade.Teachers and other pupils describe her as likable and a cooperativepupil who does not exhibit any behavioral problem. Her teacher statesthat she started experiencing learning difficulties, while in thesecond grade. Emily experienced difficulty with initial words,learning alphabetical letters, sight rhythm, and vocabulary. She alsofound it difficult to adhere to multiple step instructions andsequence the story elements. She takes longer time to understandpre-reading skills than other students. She is competent inmathematic skills, except wordy and multiple step computation. Emilyhas an impaired phonological processing, which limits her languageacquisition skills. For example, when told to write the wordcrocodile she writes “crokodyle”.

Medicaland home life issues

Emilylives with her grandmother in a depressed housing suburb. Her parents(mother and father) died in a fatal road accident in which she wasinvolved, but survived with serious injuries to her head. Theaccident occurred when she just finished her first grade and beforestarting her second grade. A medical diagnosis indicated that she gotan intracranial injury from the accident. Recently, Emily wasscreened for vision as well as hearing challenges, but was found tohave normal hearing and vision.

Supportservices and relevant test scores

Emilydid not receive any special reading support in her first grade sinceshe did not express any reading ability beyond what would be expectedin all elementary pupils. However, the management of the PreparatorySchool assigned her a Title I reading teacher for the second and thethird graders. She has also participated actively in Reading Recoveryin the two grades. Although she has demonstrated some progress, shedid not fining the course content in the time allocated. This raisesa concern that she might get frustrated and probably give up in caseshe does not make significant progress. Currently, she has onlymastered 4 of the grade 2 benchmarks assessed on the basis of WIModel Academic Standards (initial consonants, alphabetical letters,oral telling, ending consonants, and identifying pictures). Inaddition, Emily has only met 2 out of 10 reading benchmarks assessedon the basis of the 2ndgrade skill checklist. She has also shown limited progress in allother reading benchmarks.

Table1: Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC III VIQ-87)



Basic reading


Mathematics reasoning




Reading comprehension


Numerical operations


Listening comprehension


Oral expression


Written expression


Emilyscored 87 and above in four reading benchmarks only.

Table2: Woodcock Johnson III (WJ III)-A test for cognitive ability

Item Score

General Intellectual Ability


Fluid reasoning


Long-term retrieval


Auditory processing


Processing speed


Short-term memory


Phonemic awareness


Working memory


Table3: Woodcock Johnson III- A test for achievement

Item Score

Oral expression


Listening comprehension


Basic reading skills


Reading comprehension


Written expression


Math calculation


Math reasoning


Emilyexpressed her desire to cooperate during the assessment andfrequently requested that some words be spelt for her. Her scores forreading comprehension were mainly affected by decoding difficulties.

IndividualEducation Plan (IEP) goals

TheIndividual Education Program allows educators to design goals thatthey thing learners with disabilities will be able to accomplish in ayears time (Spicer, 2014). The goals should be set in measurableterms and address specific areas of disability, including academic,functional, and developmental. In the case of Emily, there are twomost significant categories of IEP goals that can help her improvethe reading abilities.


Emilywill produce all speech sounds with a mastery level of 92 %.

Emilywill produce oral reading skills with an accuracy level of 91 %.


Emilywill remember all details (including actions, characters, andsequence) of a narrative she heard or read by marking the correctanswers from a choice of four and with at most one repetition of anygiven question.


Givenan unstructured or a structured classroom set-up, Emily will improvesound discrimination by phonemic awareness by producing rhyming wordsto 96 % over 3 consecutive trials.


Givenshort stories and long paragraphs presented verbally, Emily will beable to identify the core ideas, develop influential reasoning, andidentify supporting details in 8 out of a total of 10 opportunities.


Emily,similar to other students suffering from reading disabilities requireadequate support services that can help her acquire the readingskills faster and reduce the chances of giving up. Institutions oflearning should establish the support worker service group that hasthe capacity to enhance the capacity of students suffering fromdyslexia and other learning disabilities compete equally with otherlearners and participate in comfortably in the student experience(Caerdydd, 2014). Some of the key support services that the school,especially the support worker service group should provide to Emilyinclude extended loan facility at the school library, special test orexam arrangements, guidance and counseling to reduce chances ofgiving up, assist the student with copies of class noted andpresentations, and increased access to learning support equipments,such as the voice recorder.

Curriculumand teaching strategies for student

Curriculumdifferentiation is one of the key strategies that can help studentswith dyslexia acquire the necessary skills at each grade. In the caseof Emily, an effective differentiation of curriculum should includethe modification of the standard curriculum, practices, and structurein order to make it flexible, relevant, and responsive to thespecific needs of Emily. Since Emily cannot do the test at the samepace as the normal students, the adjustment should be extended tocover the assessment strategies. However, Emily’s teachers shouldembrace these differences and proactively plan how to address themodifications through learning and curriculum opportunities. For aninstant, her teachers can use effective teaching strategies, such asencouraging persistence, demonstrating the written passages, andgiving cues to help her operate on the edge of her current level ofcompetence.


Studentswith dyslexia experience difficulties in acquiring the readingskills. This type of learning disorder may be caused by differentfactors, including the brain injury and genetic predisposition. Inthe case of Emily, dyslexia disorder might have been caused by braininjury when she was involved in an accident. It is the role of theschool administration to ensure that Emily gets all the necessarysupport services to help her compete fairly with students in hergrade. Although differentiation of curriculum and the teachingstrategies can enhance Emily’s learning capabilities, guidance andcounseling services are necessary to ensure that she does not give upthe learning process.


Caerdydd,P. (2014). Supportworker service.Cardiff, CF: Cardiff University.

NationalCenter for Learning Disabilities (2014). Whatis dyslexia?New York, NY: NCLD.

Spicer,T. (2014). Individualizededucation program (IEP) goals: The basics.Arizona: Great Schools.