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Suggested Strategies to Address Learning Weaknesses of Students with Spina Bifida, Comprehension -- SHNIC Educators Information

Students with spina bifida may have a hard time understanding things, even if they seem to understand. Many students have good verbal skills and speak well, but have difficulty explaining what they say or answering questions. They talk about irrelevant things, seem disorganized and often change the subject in the middle of what they are saying. If these comprehension difficulties persist beyond the age of 10, it can be very difficult to make them better. The following strategies may be helpful.

  • Use visuals (i.e., maps, models, demonstrations) to help the student get a "picture" in his mind of what is happening in a story or what is being said.
  • Give simple verbal explanations.
  • Have the student verbally paraphrase material just read or discussed to assess comprehension.
  • Ask questions throughout a reading assignment to assess comprehension.
  • Highlight important points while reading.
  • Pre-recorded reading material to be used simultaneously while the student is reading.
  • Act out the story or have the student role play a certain character.
  • Read the comprehension questions at the end of the story before beginning to read.
  • Work with the student on identifying the "main idea" of a reading selection, story or conversation.

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