Sunday, 23 March 2014

Does My Pupil Have Learning Difficulties?


and how do you approach the subject?

I've taught a good few people during my time giving driving lessons in Nottingham. They've all had their individual strengths and weaknesses as you would expect. it's no problem for an experienced driving instructor to see what these are and adapt their teaching to suit the needs of the pupil.
   A small number of my pupils have had actual learning difficulties of one sort or another. Hardly any of these pupils had informed me of their condition before starting lessons. I had a pupil once who nearly hit every parked car we drove passed. Upon observing him I noticed he had a glass eye nobody had thought to tell me about. When this was identified it was easy to adapt the teaching and work with the pupil to find a way forward.
   One pupil seemed to interrupt me every time I spoke. He tried to finish my sentences for me and sometimes just not listen at all. This would seem at first to be a question of bad attitude. I later found out through a friend of his parents that he had autistic spectrum. Why wasn't I informed at first? I don't know. Like many instructors I have signed a code of conduct which ensures that all information remains confidential between instructor and client. Perhaps if the public knew this they would be happy to supply information more readily.
  I now have a pupil who is very difficult to teach. He will repeat the same simple mistake over and over again even during full talk through. He will make snap decisions that make no sense and put us both in danger. Changing lanes with absolutely no warning at all and no directions from me. At times his behaviour is bordering on childlike. I am convinced that he has some sort of learning difficulty.
   But how do I bring up the subject? If I ask outright it is bound to cause offence if I am wrong. If I am right he may feel threatened and leave. Past pupils who displayed the same behaviours with repeated mistakes turned out to have some form of dyslexia. Once I knew I could work with them and we both felt more comfortable. They took more lessons than most people but they passed their tests and became competent drivers. It's a difficult situation with my new pupil. Reckon we'll just carry on and see what develops.

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