When you have a learning disability, particularly a language-based disability, reading and interpreting informational text is difficult. It is very important for these kids to read the information many times over. Sometimes reading aloud helps, and having someone read to them is beneficial as well. One of the reasons that reading informational text is so difficult, is because they have no connection to it, and they do not form a picture in their mind of what is being read. Developing that connection and forming a picture is key to fully understanding what is being read.
When preparing for her driving exam, my daughter found it very helpful for me to read the text to her, while rephrasing things as I went along. Creating that “mental picture” is important, so we would set up the kitchen like a road and act it out. Or, we would talk about the lessons while driving around town, so she could make that connection. Then she would re-read the lesson to herself that night and it would really sink in. Within two months, she was ready for the test.
Now taking the test… this is a whole other ballgame. For a child with a learning disability, taking a test is daunting, to say the least, and a multiple-choice test is even more so. These tips helped my daughter:
1.) Read the question and the answers available to you TWICE.
2.) Look for KEY WORDS in the question. Key words are words that will help you to uncover the answer that best fits. Some key words are: should, most, must, can be, one, almost always. Circle any key word(s) you see.
3.) Cross off any answers that do not make sense.
4.) Make sure you read every answer -- do not just pick the first one that comes up that “seems right” (“all of the above” may be the correct choice!).
5.) Make your selection and move on. You have taken your time with your answer, there is no need to second guess yourself and make changes.
6.) If you are stuck on a question, skip it and move on. Complete all of the questions that come to you easily, then go back and complete the rest.
It is very common for children to fail this test on their first attempt, whether they have a learning disability or not! Prepare your child for this possibility, and wish him or her good luck. My daughter failed on her first attempt and she was disappointed. She reviewed the materials for one more week and passed. Seeing her smile from ear to ear for that permit photo was priceless. This process has been a good one, I will definitely use it with my other 3 children.
Now, on to teaching her to drive!