Tips for Teaching Students with Learning Differences

This reference sheet identifies some of the signs of learning differences and provides strategies you can use to help students reach their full potential.

Micaelia Randolph author image

written by Micaelia Randolph, EdD, MA
Educational Consultant

Neilson Chan author image

reviewed by Neilson Chan, PhD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

As a teacher, you do everything you can to ensure that your students have the best school experience possible. It’s likely that your goal is to make sure every one of your students reaches their full promise and potential.

Tips for Teaching Students with Learning Differences

If you have 25 students in your class/course, you probably have 4 or 5 with learning differences. These could be the kids who “stump” you because even though they’re bright verbal problem solvers—and maybe even class leaders—they may not be able to fully achieve in the classroom. This could be because of a learning difference, diagnosed or not. Depending on their challenges (or probably combination of issues), they may have trouble with things. You can help!

Download Tips for Teaching Students with Learning Differences to use offline.



Reading & Math
  • Trouble with alphabet and matching sign to symbol
  • Trouble with number-based information and learning math facts
  • Difficulty remembering what they read
  • Hard time following multi-step instructions
  • Talk with family and share your observations
  • Suggest possible evaluation to family
  • Explicit instruction
  • Simple directions to ensure child understands
  • Give more time to finish tests
Executive Function
  • Difficulty staying organized
  • Loses homework or assignments
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Simple directions
  • Post a daily schedule
  • Provide predictable routines
  • Use color coding or visual cues
  • Teach note-taking skills
  • Use an organizational tool to keep track of assignments (low tech or high tech)
  • Either hard to stay focused or very very focused on something of interest
  • Wiggly or fidgety
  • Fidget toys
  • Bouncy chairs
  • Frequent activity breaks
  • Time to work on projects of interest
  • Disruptive or good at getting out of things where they’re not successful
  • Tummy aches or headaches
  • Crankiness or outbursts
  • Provide positive comments to reinforce expected behavior
  • Provide ways for students to take a few minutes to take a break
  • Help students identify what triggers them
  • Kids with LD often have anxiety
  • Always trying extra hard
  • Frustration
  • Can have self doubts or feel “dumb”
  • Anxiety worsens as academic expectations  increase
  • Check in privately with student
  • Provide a ‘buddy’ who can help when needed
  • Identify areas of strength and help the student leverage strengths for learning

This resource is part of CHC’s Learning Differences Guide.

Download a PDF of Tips for Teaching Students with Learning Differences.

See CHC’s Learning Differences Guide for more resources on this topic.

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