Parenting a Child With a Learning Disability
Facts and tips for coping with a learning problem
Posted Sep 23, 2015
According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America, 2.4 million students are diagnosed with a learning disability and about 41 percent receive special education services. There is a range of different learning disabilities including: dyscalculia (difficulties understanding numbers and math facts), dysgraphia (difficulties with writing), dyslexia (difficulties related to reading and language processing), and auditory processing disorder (difficulties processing other’s speech).
How are learning disabilities identified?
To be diagnosed with a learning disorder, information is typically gathered from many sources including the child’s school and parent. Additionally, a professional such as a school psychologist has to complete an assessment with the child to evaluate the child’s functioning and skills.
Common symptoms of learning disorders may include (LDA, 2015):
- difficulty following directions or learning routines
- a dread of going to school
- trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds
- problems doing homework
- taking a long time to learn new skills
- trouble learning numbers, the alphabet, days of the week, colors and shapes
- difficulty keeping up with papers or assignments
- difficulty learning basic math concepts
- difficulty learning prefixes, suffixes, root words and other spelling strategies.
Coping with a learning disability
Although there is no cure for a learning disability, individuals can benefit from early intervention. According to KidsHealth.org, people with learning disabilities adapt to their learning differences and find strategies that help them accomplish their goals and dreams. Below are some suggestions for coping with a learning disability.
- Some students who have been diagnosed with a learning disability work with a special teacher or tutor for a few hours a week to learn certain study skills, note-taking strategies, or organizational techniques that can help them compensate for their learning disability.
- Your school might have a special classroom with a teacher who is trained to help students overcome learning problems.
- Some schools develop what is called an Individualized Education Program (or IEP), which helps define a person's learning strengths and weaknesses and makes a plan for the learning activities that will help the student do his or her best in school.
- A student's IEP might include sessions with a tutor or time in a specialized classroom for a certain subject, or the use of special equipment to help with learning, such as books on tape or laptop computers for students who have dyslexia.
- Medication is often prescribed to help students with ADHD. Several medicines on the market today can help improve a student's attention span and ability to focus and help control impulses and other hyperactive behavior.
About the Author
Erlanger Turner, Ph.D. — often referred to by his clients as Dr. Earl — is a Clinical Psychologist in Houston, Texas. He is also an Assistant Professor of Psychology and teaches courses on clinical psychology and multicultural issues. Dr. Turner specializes in child and adolescent disorders, parenting, and psychological assessment. His research interests focus on psychotherapy use, mental health equity, and access to behavioral health services for youth. He has published articles in scholarly journals and in national media sources such as New York Times, and Washington’s Top News.
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