Understanding Learning Differences
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Understanding Learning Differences

Categories Be Inclusive 
grades:  Middle School (6-8) 

Lesson Summary:

From the ADL- Anti Defamation League:

"The purpose of this lesson is to increase understanding about learning differences and empathy for people who have them. Experts estimate that 6 to 10 percent of the school-aged population and nearly 40 percent of the children enrolled in the nation’s special education classes have a learning disability; yet most students don’t understand what learning disabilities are and those who learn differently frequently bear the stigma of being thought of as “slow,” lazy, or “weird.” During this lesson, students explore their own learning styles as the basis for understanding learning differences. Through simple brain research and articles, students learn the facts about learning differences, and through experiential exercises and personal testimony, students develop an appreciation for others with learning disabilities. The lesson concludes with a brief look at prominent historical and contemporary figures with learning differences and multiple intelligence theory in order to encourage an appreciation for brain diversity and emphasize the broad continuum of strengths and talents inherent in human beings."

This resource is not designed for specifically Jewish audiences, so educators should adapt the materials as they deem fit for their community while addressing the Jewish value of Lifnei Aver and explore the importance of inclusiveness.


  • Students will receive information about learning styles and identify their own dominant learning styles. 
  • Students will discover what learning disabilities are, how they are caused, and how they impact individuals. 
  • Students will experience various learning tasks that will increase their understanding of learning disabilities and their empathy for those who have them. 
  • Students will learn about successful people with learning disabilities and understand the idea of multiple intelligence.

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

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Lesson Contributors

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all." ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.