THE ROLE OF THE LEARNING CONSULTANT
The Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant is an educational diagnostician, instructional programmer and Child Study Team member. He or she uses his or her understanding of classroom functioning, effective teaching and adaptive instruction to help students maximize their learning potential and provide practical assistance to their teachers.
The Learning Consultant makes an assessment of and analyzes a child’s learning characteristics and contributes to the determination of how a child is functioning in relation to his own strengths and weaknesses and to the demands placed upon him or her by school curriculum and expectations. The learning consultant must determine:
* Are there sensory or processing deficits that would interfere with learning?
* What is the child’s characteristic level of thinking? Concrete? Abstract?
* Are there gaps in specific skills areas that would impede academic progress?
* What level of achievement has the child attained?
* How does the child learn best?
* How is the child affected by the various demands of the curriculum?
The Learning Consultant accomplishes this by analyzing and synthesizing information gathered through teacher consultation, clinical observation, review of significant data from school records and educational testing.
PROGRAM PLANNING/IEP DEVELOPMENT
The Learning Consultant, as a member of the Child Study Team, is also responsible for helping to make decisions about eligibility, placement and programming and to develop the concrete educational plans that result from the assessment. For a newly classified student, the Learning Consultant:
* Sets up appropriate instructional sequences consistent with the core curriculum standards (develops goals and objectives/benchmarks)
* Makes suggestions regarding instructional methods and materials
* Recommends classroom accommodations and modifications
The Learning Consultant not only consults with school staff regarding students who are eligible, but provides information to staff that will lead to improved learning experiences for all children. The Learning Consultant serves as a member of the Intervention and Referral Services Committee, providing suggestions that may help to alleviate whatever problems are interfering with a child’s educational success. He or she also plans and provides staff development activities that will increase the skill levels of the educators providing direct services to students.
The Learning Consultant also serves as case manager for some of the students determined eligible for special education and related services.