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A model for summer programs for children with learning disabilities Dumaresq, Mary Marilyn

Abstract

The large number of learning disabled children and dearth of appropriate professional resources in most communities have resulted in attempts, by concerned individuals and organizations, to develop community-centred summer programs for these children. This study presents a model for summer programs for learning disabled children that is based on the results of a pilot project designed for such a population. The pilot project provided a two month program for 120 children between the ages of 5 and 11 years. Each child was assigned to one of six groups designed to develop basic skills in the areas of audition, vision, language, attention, gross motor coordination or fine motor coordination. Group assignment was determined by the nature of each child's major disability. The project was designed and supervised by a professional consultant and two graduate students in the field of learning disabilities. Fifteen teenagers were trained to work directly with the children. The model is designed to accommodate 120 learning disabled children between the ages of 5 years 0 months and 8 years 6 months. One aim of the model summer program is to develop deficit basic skills by providing the children with success oriented, sequentially ordered experiences in all areas of sports, gymnastics, music, drama, and arts and crafts. A second aim is to include the children's parents as participant program observers in order to increase their understanding of learning disabilities and to acquaint them with methods of assisting their children at home. This suggested program makes use of the same type of personnel as did the pilot project. The model is designed to meet community-felt needs using the resources available in reality.

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