A list of the main types of developmental delays in children includes cognitive, emotional, motor skills, vision, and speech.  Sensory contributions to learning and sight, touch, taste, smell,...

A list of the main types of developmental delays in children includes cognitive, emotional, motor skills, vision, and speech.  Sensory contributions to learning and sight, touch, taste, smell, acoustics and emotions are important to learning.  A child can experience cognitive, emotional,motor skills, vision, and speech delays in learning.  How does understanding sensory contribution to learning help you develop strategies to teach children with developmental delays?

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kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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As knowledge of the human brain and how different people learn has increased, greater appreciation for the challenges involved in educating children with learning disabilities has similarly increased.  Gains in understanding how children on the autism spectrum, for instance, process information has enabled psychologists and others to develop strategies for facilitating the education of these children.  Whether the individual child suffers from autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, or any other learning disability stemming from a physiological condition, that increased knowledge regarding the functioning of the human brain has made possible the formulation of methodologies that have significantly improved the lives of and enhanced the productivity of individuals with learning disorders.  Through advanced imaging technologies, scientists have been able to monitor the reactions of human brains to various stimuli involving the various senses.  By monitoring the brains of children with learning disabilities, in addition to subjecting children to batteries of tests, they are able to identify the dysfunction and to devise ways to compensate for the disability.  The more psychologists and educators understand regarding the sensory issues of particular students, the greater the likelihood they will be able to direct the appropriate resources towards assisting those students in overcoming, at least partly, the effects of their underlying condition.

The phrase “sensory contributions” is employed precisely because the most basic of sensations are what are involved in learning.  Sight, touch, and hearing, in particular, are directly linked to an individual’s ability to function in the classroom, and in society at large.  How individuals process information is directly related to their ability to learn in the conventional classroom environment.  Because children with sensory problems process information differently than their classmates, they are usually left behind, and are often stigmatized by categorization.  The identification of a sensory problem, then, can facilitate the adoption of corrective measures that will enable the child in question to adapt to his or her condition and better acclimate to his or her environment. 

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