Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

Falling Behind With a Learning Disability???

Does your chid have uneven skills – performing well in some areas, struggling in others? Success in one area shows he has the intelligence and maturity to read, but he might have a learning disability that prevents him from recognizing word sounds and linking them to letters.

Can she decode grade level texts as well as simple, coherent sentences? In the primary grades a child should be reading on her own, as well as writing about what she has read, using accurate spelling. If her progress in acquiring these basic skills is slow, she lacks strategies for reading new words, or she stumbles when confronted with multi-syllable words, you need to find out if this is because of a learning disability.

Does he mispronounce long, unfamiliar words? His speech should be fluent. A child who hesitates often peppering his speech with “ums” and pauses or struggles to retrieve words or respond when asked a question, is sending important clues about a possible learning disability.

Does he rely heavily on memorization instead of learning new skills? By third grade, your child should be able to summarize the meaning of a new paragraph she just read, as well as predict what will happen next in the story.

Is her handwriting messy, even though she can type rapidly on a keyboard? Mishappen, wobbling handwriting can be a sign that your child is not hearing the sounds of a word correctly, and therefore unanable to write them down.

Does he avoid reading for pleasure? and when he does, does he find it exhausting and laborious? This, also, could be a sign of a learning disability.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?

First, schedule a conference with your child’s teacher, the school support staff, and your pediatrician to get their perspectives on whether your child indeed has a learning disability together, you can decide if your child should be formally evaluated  for a learning disabilty or if other steps can be taken first – perhaps moving him to a smaller class, switching teaching/learning styles, or scheduling one-on-one tutoring or some time in a resource room.

Don’t Be Shy About Asking Questions Is your child’s progress in the normal range? Why is he having all this trouble? Should you contact a specialist (neurologist, a speech and language expert) ? Trust your gut! If you’re not getting the answers you need, find someone who can give them to you.

Meanwhile, at home:

Help Your Child Flourish: She needs to know that you love her, no matter what, so put her weaknesses into perspective for her. Teach to her strengths. Empathize with her frustration (remind her of some of your own school difficulties), and reassure her that you’re confident she will learn how to deal with it all.

Focus on What He Does Well: Does he love to paint or play baseball? Make sure he has many opportunities to pursue and succeed in those activities. Let him hear you tell grandma how well he played in his last game. Prominently display his trophies, ribbons, and or awards and good reports.

Start a Folder of letters, emails, and any material related to your child’s education. Include school reports as well as medical exams and reports.

Collect Samples Of Your Child’s School Work that illustrate his strengths as well as his weaknesses.

Keep a Diary of your observations about your child’s difficulties in and out of a school.

Help Her Set Up a Work Area at home as well as the materials she needs to study and complete homework assignments.

Show Him How To Organize His Backpack and how to use a homework plan book for assignments

Co-ordinate With Teachers so you can practice at home the skills she learns at school.

Above all be patient and persevere in all your good intentions. That’s the real secret to success!

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