Do you agree when they say ” Parents are the best teachers of their kids?” I do! Our kids learn almost everything from us the first time around. But of course, we cannot underestimate the help that teachers do in regular school and in the Special Education setting. It is really vital that even if our kids are already in school, we parents need to follow up with them when they get home. Thus, we need to understand that help for children with learning disabilities and supporting them will really make our kids achieve more.
Collaboration with their teachers play a very important role on how our kids sharpen their minds.
You may ask yourself, ” How will I know if my child has learning disability? He looks normal to me.”
Read on to know how.
What are the signs of learning disability?
At a certain point in a child’s life with learning disability, his parents or the teachers notice something is not right. It is very important that these kids need to be assessed as soon as possible so you can seek for help right away for your children.
By doing so, your child can be helped the soonest so he can overcome or improve his disability and reach his fullest potential.
Signs of learning disability are usually subtle and hard to recognize. These are mostly seen when the child starts school or as they reach school age.
Let us first define what learning disability is. In Wikipedia, it is described as a classification that includes several areas of functioning in which somebody has a difficulty learning in the usual manner.
These kids have difficulty doing specific types of skills or completing tasks if left to figure things out by themselves or with typical conventional ways of teaching them.
Thus, they have struggles to learn how to read, write, do math, solve problems, recall and organize information by themselves or if taught just like other kids of their age.
If properly assessed and classified accordingly from mild to severe, specific interventions can be planned for these special children by their teachers and psychologists, of course with the support of their parents.
What causes a learning disability?
You may ask, ” How did this happen? Why is my child struggling? I have been trying my best to teach him at home everyday, but still he seems not learning.”
This is really important. It’s not your fault. Please keep this in mind.
Learning disability is a neurological disorder, which means that in these children, it results from a difference on how their brains are “wired.”
They usually don’t have physical deformities and they maybe as smart or could be smarter than kids their age, but just present with difficulties in learning specific areas of acquiring knowledge.
Children with learning disabilities can be famous and successful!
My dear parents, don’t lose hope.
Do you know that some accomplished people had some forms of learning disability but still, they thrived?
Albert Einstein for example, learned how to read when he was already nine.
When kids have learning disability, they cannot be cured or fixed. It is a a life-long struggle for them. But not a hindrance to succeed.
Examples are Walt Disney, General George Patton, and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, who had difficulty reading all their lives.
Other famous people like Alexander Graham Bell and Winston Churchill, as well, had some forms of learning disability, but still they were able to rise above their condition.
Goldie Hawn, the famous actress, had dyslexia and some reading comprehension problems, but with the support of her parents and teachers, she was able to overcome these obstacles and become successful in the movie industry.
Be very supportive of your child with learning disability. Cooperate with the teachers and other caregivers and for sure, your child can dance in the rain just like their peers, or can even become more successful than them.
Some important facts to consider
- Learning disabilities usually run in families.
- The most common forms are difficulties with reading and language skills, of which 80% of these kids have some forms of reading problems.
- Children with learning disabilities usually look normal with no physical deformities, thus, they should not be confused with children who have autism, intellectual disability, deafness, blindness, and behavioral disorders.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders might also be present in these kids but they are two separate entities.
Parents need to understand that their kids with learning disability have specific strengths and weaknesses that they need to recognize so special interventions can be planned and put into place.
But first things first.
You as parents must recognize that your special child needs care, support and encouragement.
Don’t look at his disability but focus on giving him unconditional love and remember there is always help out there.
You need to cooperate with teachers and the school system for your kids to be helped.
Here are some helpful tips on how you can help your child with learning disability.
Observe him at home and share information with his teacher. Also, ask his teacher how he learns best at school, so you can apply some specific methods at home for follow up.
Partner with your child’s teacher to help your child.
- Look at areas where your child excels or is good at and encourage him to give more attention on that.
- Focus on his strengths, not on his weaknesses. Even if he has struggles with reading, but he is good in music, let him join the school band or let him join singing competitions.
- Be there for these activities and let him know that you appreciate his efforts.
- Recognize how your special child learns well. Is he a visual learner? An auditory learner , or a kinesthetic learner?
- Assist your child at home with schoolwork by supporting his style, so it will not be much of a struggle for him.
- For visual learners, let him read more books, look at diagrams, use the computer, flashcards and other visual aids. Let him take detailed notes in class and offer him to read them again and again.
- For auditory learners, read out notes loud and let him memorize stuff by speaking them. Let him record lectures so he can listen to them later. Encourage him to join study groups where they can discuss their lessons.
- For kinesthetic learners, let him study with music in the background. Get him hands on and let him do experiments; also, let him join field trips. Encourage role playing and model-building. You can also let him join study groups with small frequent breaks.
Let us meet two kids with learning disabilities
Ally is 11 years old with mild learning disability in written expression. She can cope with the activities in the general education classroom setting; her cognition, reading and comprehension are all good. Her struggles though, are putting her ideas into writing. Ms Rica, her Special Education teacher, attended to her for 30 minutes twice a week and provided her with different repetitive activities and the use of manipulative materials to help her improve.
Rowan on the other hand, is 12 years old and with moderate to severe learning disability. He attended Kindergarten for 2 years. He has short retention skills, poor cognition and comprehension, and also struggles with his speech. Areas that he finds difficulty in learning are reading, writing and math. Ms Rica attended to his needs half an hour daily for the 3 subjects.
Both started school at 5 years old, where the pre-school teachers noted developmental delay. At 6 years old, they had assessments with the Developmental Pediatrician and were diagnosed with learning disability.
Ally and Rowan finished grade 2 at 9 and 10, respectively, and moved to grade 3 the next school year. Both of them are good in drawing though and both are visual learners.
With early intervention in school, their teachers and their parents hopefully will see them able to cope with their disabilities and become the best version of themselves someday.
Be optimistic that your child can rise above the challenges
Having a child with learning disability maybe a bit of a challenge for our dear parents but with the help of our Special Education teachers, your kids will, in no time learn the ropes of keeping up with learning the basics and can live productively and independently.
There is definitely help for children with learning disabilities.
Remember, your child has strengths that they can focus on more, while taking the time to hurdle their specific learning disability and with your support as loving parents and the guidance of their teachers, they will be fine and for sure, will eventually be able to see light at the end of the tunnel.
Originally published: July 2, 2018 Updated: May 27, 2020
Does your child have a learning disability? As a parent, do you collaborate with his Special Education teacher? How do you help him at home?
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