Lauren Sabo is a multi-intensive special education teacher at Manual High School in Denver, Colorado, who has been using Learning Ally for over three years to accommodate her students. The term “multi-intensive” is used to describe students who struggle with very significant difficulties.
“We use Learning Ally for students who have a specific learning disability in reading, which could be dyslexia, and also students with cognitive delays or low reading skills,” explains Lauren. “We have a group of students who need additional tools to help them in the classroom, so this is a really great program for us.”
Lauren works with the other educators to choose books that are needed for each student and appreciates the simplicity it gives other teachers in the school as well. Working together, the teachers ensure students have audiobooks on their virtual Learning Ally bookshelf. “My experience is that it has been a successful tool for the teachers, because of the ease of usage,” says Lauren. “It’s a great help in the classroom – we put the program on the students’ computers and they are able to use it in conjunction with the textbooks and listen at the same time.
“Students like it better than other tools, because they can speed up or slow down the books and they really enjoy the features Learning Ally has as opposed to a normal audiobook. Without Learning Ally, students might fall through the cracks. It would be much more of a struggle for the students and the teachers – I would have to slow down the class and find other ways to engage students.”
Lauren described one student in the multi-intensive category who was identified as having SLIC (Significant Limited Intellectual Capacity). She was in general education or mainstream classes and struggled to understand the material and keep up with the class. “The reading was pretty daunting, so we put Learning Ally on her computer and saw a huge turn-around for her, especially in her confidence level. She started raising her hand and participating by answering questions in class because she was able to keep up with the reading.
“It was truly the weight that tipped the scale for her to be successful in school! It is a big deal for me, as a special education teacher, to see someone with this kind of disability have that much success in the general education classroom.”