Just because your child has trouble studying for a test doesn't mean he or she has a learning disability. There are as many learning styles as there are individuals.
Some people are just naturally slower readers or learners than others, but they still perform well for their age and abilities. Sometimes, what seems to be a learning disability is simply a delay in development; the person will eventually catch up with — and perhaps even surpass — his or her peers.
But many people with learning disabilities struggle for a long time before someone realizes that there's a reason they're having so much trouble learning.
Once a person's particular problem has been pinpointed, he or she can then follow strategies or take medicines to help cope with the disability.
A child with learning disabilities may need help at home as well as in school. Here are a number of suggestions and considerations for parents.
Learn about LD. The more you know, the more you can help yourself and your child. Take advantage of the excellent resources out there for parents
Praise your child when he or she does well. Children with LD are often very good at a variety of things. Find out what your child really enjoys doing, such as dancing, playing soccer, or working with computers. Give your child plenty of opportunities to pursue his or her strengths and talents.
Find out the ways your child learns best. Does he or she learn by practice, looking, or listening? Help your child learn through his or her areas of strength.
Let your son or daughter help with household chores. These can build self-confidence and concrete skills. Keep instructions simple, break down tasks into smaller steps, and reward your child’s efforts with praise.
Make homework a priority. Read more about how to help your child be a success at homework using resources online.
Pay attention to your child’s mental health (and your own!). Be open to counseling, which can help your child deal with frustration, feel better about himself or herself, and learn more about social skills.
Talk to other parents whose children have LD. Parents can share practical advice and emotional support. You can identify parent groups in your area by visiting many of the organizations listed below.
Meet with school personnel and help develop an IEP to address your child’s needs. Once a child is evaluated and found eligible for special education and related services, school staff and parents must meet and develop what is known as an Individualized Education Program, or IEP.
This document is very important in the educational life of a child with learning disabilities. It describes the child’s needs and the services that the public school system will provide free of charge to address those needs.
Supports or changes in the classroom (called accommodations) help most students with LD. Accessible instructional materials (AIM) are among the most helpful to students whose LD affects their ability to read and process printed language
Plan what accommodations your child needs, and don’t forget to talk about AIM or assistive technology!
Establish a positive working relationship with your child’s teacher. Through regular communication, exchange information about your child’s progress at home and at school.
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