Educational Merits of out of School Learning for Teenagers With Learning Difficulties

This project was aimed to give grant support to improve the quality and quantity of extracurricular activities available for children and teenagers outside school hours and during school holidays and was soon followed with other voluntary initiatives (Andrews, 2001, p.15-16).Out of school education programs have several social, emotional and academic benefits for teenagers with learning difficulties as they provide young people with the individualized attention they might lack during the school day (Afterschool Alliance, 2001, p.1). Creative activities and participation in sports clubs enable students with learning difficulties to increase their self-esteem, improve academic performance and adopt more positive attitudes about school. It also enables young people to interact with other teens who do not have disabilities. Furthermore, there are transition programs aimed to teach teenagers with learning difficulties basic life skills and prepare them for independent living (Ofsted, 2009, pp.12-13). Finally, young people with learning difficulties can gain work experience in various employment programs.In the UK, fifteen percent of young people eligible from 15 to 18 years old are reported to have special needs (Perren and Middleton, 2005, p. 64). The majority of them (71 percent) have learning difficulties in such areas as reading, writing, spelling or mathematics, 21 percent have sight, speech, or hearing disabilities, and 16 percent have emotional or behavioral problems. While nearly 79 percent of the group has only one type of these problems, there are also teenagers who suffer from two or more disabilities. The majority of young people with learning difficulties come from low-income backgrounds.According to the report published by the National Transition Support Team (2009, pp.2-3), due to such factors as exposure to poverty andsocial exclusion teenagers with learning difficulties are particularly vulnerable to develop mental health issues and secondary health problems.