Strategies for Learning and Teaching

  • Overlearning and repetition will be necessary if the student has a poor short-term memory.
  • If the student is a literal thinker, he/she may find tasks involving the use of imagination challenging. Consider incorporating real-life experiences and concrete examples into lessons.
  • Many students with Prader-Willi syndrome tire easily. This needs to be considered throughout the school day and new concepts and materials are best introduced early in the school day.
  • Social skills may need to be explicitly taught.
  • The student with Prader-Willi syndrome may have poor auditory processing skills, which will have an impact when following instructions. Visual cues may need to be considered in this area to assist the student.
  • The student may have difficulties with gross-motor skills, which may necessitate modifications to lessons such as Physical Education. fConcrete objects and experiences should be utilised in the teaching of Mathematics.
  • If the student appears frustrated when completing a task, consider breaking it up into sections for the student to complete.
  • In dealing with inappropriate behaviour, note that many students with Prader-Willi syndrome respond well to a positive-behaviour reward system.
  • Discuss the approach to dietary control to be adopted by the school with the parent/carer. Consult also as to how to best deal with food-taking tendencies in the school situation.
  • Some students find it difficult to work in groups: consider this when adapting the teaching process.
  • Consistency of routine is very important, so if change in a routine is about to occur ensure the student is warned in advance.
  • Within the teaching of Physical Education the student may need extra praise and encouragement to engage in tasks.
  • Be aware that students with Prader-Willi syndrome can have a high pain threshold.
  • Computer work appeals to many students and this should be considered as a means for the student to engage with new material and as an alternative way to demonstrate learning.