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Increased public awareness of learning disabilities has led to an unprecedented number of children being diagnosed early in their lives. However, there are still kids who fall through the cracks in the public school system. If you suspect your child might have a learning disability, even if it’s never been brought up by teachers or your pediatrician, you are probably correct. There are signs that you, the person who spends the most amount of time with your child, might see that others miss. There are Special Education Resources in abundance for children who have not yet been officially diagnosed.
Take some time to learn about learning disabilities. If, after researching, you still strongly suspect that your struggling child has a learning disability, know that you have the right to request the school test your child (at no charge). In the meantime, take a cue from the homeschooling community and work with your child on your own. There is an abundance of Special Education Homeschooling Resources available online. You don’t have to homeschool to benefit from some of the approaches to helping your child learn.
Common Signs Of Learning Disabilities;
If you have a fidgety child or a child that is easily distracted that does not mean your child has a learning disability. Just like with the adults we work with, you have to consider their lives at the moment. If your co-worker is distracted and making lots of mistakes, the first response is not to assume they have a disability. Instead, the first response (with adults) is to find out what else is going on in that person’s life. Often, there is a looming worry or upcoming event that is leading them to do less than stellar work.
In the case of children, look first to life at home, any fears your child might be trying to hide or other issues that are temporarily disrupting their ability to learn? Once you’ve done that and you see that the problem persists, look at this checklist and see what applies to your child.
- Difficulty remembering things
- Struggles to find the right word or to put thoughts into words
- Poor handwriting and/or trouble with writing
- Frustration with reading
- Delayed speech
- Little to no retention in math
- Trouble with rhyming
- Poor coordination
- “Creative” spelling
- Inability to focus on a single task
All of these things occur with all kids. Most six-year-olds have terrible handwriting and often need to be reminded to brush their teeth and get dressed in the morning no matter how often you tell them. However, if your child is showing a distinct pattern of one or more of these issues AND you find that these issues are disrupting their education and/or your home life, testing is warranted. You can have the public school district test your child, opt for private testing or do both to be extra certain of any diagnosis. (If you go the private testing route, get recommendations from parents who have been there done that. Don’t forget to check if your insurance will cover private testing – many insurance plans do.)
If there is a diagnosis of a learning disability your and your child’s teachers will be able to use proven methods to help your child make progress. If you want to help your child catch up with their peers and further build their self-esteem consider using a Special Needs Tutor outside of school hours. A tutor can offer one-on-one, specialized instruction designed especially for your child. If you are interested in helping your child yourself at home try one or more of the following links to get you started.
Special Education Homeschool Resources;
If you are interested in helping your child yourself at home try one or more of the following Special Education Homeschool Resources to get you started. Even if you don’t plan on homeschooling your child full time, these resources can help with homework and other tasks.
- Smart Kids with LD is a nice website with practical advice for working at home with your child, working with the school system and also homeschooling. For kids with learning disabilities, even undiagnosed learning disabilities, finding the right educational mix for your particular child is key.
- If handwriting is an issue – and it is for many, many children – this site offers some great suggestions for working at home with your child.
- Consider homeschooling. While it’s not the solution for every family, it is often a positive path for families with one or more children with learning disabilities. There are a wide range of Homeschool Resources to help you homeschool successfully. As a homeschooling parent you have access to a vast variety of curriculum geared to children with specific and unspecific learning disabilities. You’ll have the time and freedom to figure out what works best for your child. For many, homeschooling no longer means giving up one parent’s income to be home with a child – telecommuting or setting up an online business are attractive options for many families.
Special Education Testing Revealed Nothing, Now What?
There are a couple of reasons that kids with learning disabilities are not diagnosed – even after testing. If you are not satisfied with test results, there is no reason to give up. Parental instincts are generally true. Find a professional to help you get to the root of your child’s struggles.
For some kids, physical and/or emotional challenges mask learning disabilities. If your child is facing multiple challenges, it’s important to find a good team of people with an interest in seeing your child succeed. You might work with school counselors, psychologists and teacher. You might also look to optometrists, audiologists, pediatricians and even social workers. For kids facing multiple challenges you really must muster all your resolve and keep searching until you find what works.
Other children with learning disorders will go to great lengths to hide their struggles. Often, these children are exceptionally bright. They put their intelligence to work in hiding their struggles with things their peers take for granted. If you KNOW your child is brighter than most crayons in the box, do not give up. Offer up examples of influential, successful people who learned to work with or around their learning disabilities as a way to get your child to share his struggles with you. A quick internet search (or library catalog search) on Steven Spielberg, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo DaVinci and George Washington.
If your school remains stubborn in recognizing your child’s difficulties, look into Special Education Tutoring. You can use Skype and your internet connection to find special needs tutoring that perfectly suits your child. You’ll get one-on-one assistance from an expert. With no classroom distractions and a highly personalized program, your child will have a chance to begin to understand their learning disability and how they can learn best.
Trust your parental instincts. If you are active in your child’s education and home life, you know when something is not right. If your local school is not helping in your search for an answer, look into a session or two with a private tutor. Often a new set of eyes/ears/brain is the key to finding the solution to what is holding your child hostage.