"How was your day at school today?"
It's such a simple question with such an expected answer.
"I had so much fun." "We're learning our ABC's!"
But, what if your child doesn't have that response?
What if they express that they're struggling?
Or they shut down completely?
As parents, we want to trust that our teachers and schools are working in the best interest of every child. But, what if your child has a learning disorder?
Studies show that up to 20% of students have some form of learning disorder that requires intervention to be presented in the way they process information.
Yet, traditional education and teaching methods isn't built for these students.
Children with learning disorders require the lessons taught to them in the WAY THEY LEARN.
Does your child have any of these issues:
- difficulty remembering the letters of the alphabet
- difficulty learning letter sounds
- doesn't recognize rhyming patterns
- confuses the days of the week
- cannot associate sounds with their letters
- does not like school
- a family history of dyslexia or learning difficulties
If you suspect that your child may have some sort of learning disorder here's where you need to start?
Here's 5 things you need to do now!
1. Let go of the stigma
Studies show that almost 50% of parents will not follow through with specialized programs for their children, even when diagnosed by a professional. This is due to stigma. The social construct that tells a parent that their child should fit in to the "norm." No one wants their child to be "different." But the reality is that they are different. Their brains see things differently or process information differently or have trouble focusing on the right details. Your child is different... but this isn't a negative. They are special and creative and unique!
Let go of what you want them to be and embrace what they are!
2. Look for clues
As parents, we want to correct behavior. But, with children with learning disorders, you may be trying to correct an issue that is a symptom of a something bigger. These are our clues! So, take notes! Note everything. When are they struggling with their school work? Do they seem to get lost in thought or give up easily? Do they make up words to match pictures rather than read them? When you were speaking to them, did they seem to ignore you? You will need to talk to professionals to help guide your child.
Observe and document! Don't analyze the behavior. You're looking for clues!
3. Build Allies at School
Schedule a meeting with your child's teacher to discuss your concerns. Take notes on what they say. It's important to understand that they are NOT there to diagnose your child. They are there to help support you and your child through this process. They may have observations and some simple suggestions or adjustments they can make to assist your child in the classroom. At the least, you will have started a dialogue with the school which can lead to other services and accommodations.
Involve your child's teacher. They may be able to help.
4. Get Real Answers
While you can get a lot of answers online, you're going to need the help of doctors and specialists to hone in on your child's specific issues. Many learning disorders have co-occurring issues. For example, research shows that up to 40% of children with dyslexia also have ADHD. Your child will need to conduct tests for vision and hearing as well as psycho-educational evaluations to really get to the core of their learning issues.
Involve professionals. They WILL be able to help.
5. Create a Plan
In most cases, if your child has a learning difference, they will need an adjustment to their academic program. You'll need a plan and the best way to build one is what the federal government calls an Individualized Education Plan or IEP. This plan includes a full-analysis of your child and includes accommodations for assisting their needs during school hours. The simplest way to start is to notify your school administration of your concerns and request that they initiate the IEP process. Or, you can retain a special education attorney that will handle the IEP and your child's accommodations.
Request an IEP for your child. It protects them through college.
While it seems daunting, completing the steps now will place you and your child on the right path.
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