October recognizes Learning Disability Month

By Lauren Hathaway

 

The chances of knowing someone with a learning disability is pretty high.

Did you know that 2.3 million students are diagnosed with specific learning disabilities (SLD) and receive services under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act). This represents 35% of all students receiving special education services. (According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America).

Children with learning disabilities begin school excited to learn. If your child is having difficulty in school, he/she may learn differently from other kids. For many kids, these disorders go undetected despite their ongoing struggles with school work and the behavior issues that often accompany these disorders. Parents are often the first to notice that “something doesn’t seem right.” But sometimes knowing what to do and where to find help can be confusing.

A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation. Kids with learning disabilities are just as smart as everyone else. Their brains are simply wired differently affecting how they receive and process information.

Types of Learning Disabilities

  • Dyslexia: Dyslexia is perhaps the best known learning disability. Children with this disorder may have difficulty with spelling, vocabulary, or comprehension. They may be slow readers, struggle learning left from right, or have organizational problems with both written and spoken language.
  • ADHD: ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. A child has difficulty controlling focus, impulse, energy levels, or some mix of the three.
  • Dyscalculia: A child with this condition may have an effect on one’s ability to develop math skills, understand numbers, and learn math-based facts. It can be difficult for individuals with dyscalculia to comprehend math symbols, organize or memorize numbers, tell time, and count.
  • Dysgraphia: Dysgraphia affects a child’s ability to perform handwriting and other fine motor skills. People with dysgraphia might have problems with inconsistent spacing, difficulty composing writing, poor spelling, illegible handwriting, poor spatial planning on paper, and thinking and writing at the same time.
  • Auditory Memory and Processing Disabilities: Kids with this condition may have difficulty recognizing the differences between sounds, understanding the order of sounds, recognizing where sounds have come from, or separating sounds from background noise.
  • Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit: These are disorders that can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing place frequently, struggles with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination. Visual Processing Disorders can cause people to struggle with seeing differences between similar letters, number, objects, colors, shapes and patterns.
  • Nonverbal Learning Disorder: Child has significant difficulty with nonverbal cues, such as coordination and body language.

If you think your child might have a learning disability, don’t despair! There is a lot of information and support available, and there are many steps you can take to ensure that your child gets evaluated appropriately.

What to do if you suspect your child has a Learning Disability?

If you suspect that your child is having trouble learning to read, or trouble with learning in general, there is help available. For parents of school-age children, the first source of help should be the public school serving your area. Contact your child’s school principal, express your concerns, and ask to have your child evaluated. The school system is required by federal and state law to evaluate your child at no cost to you or your family. The results of the evaluation will show whether or not your child has a problem with reading or learning and, if so, the nature of the problem.

Once your child has received a diagnosis, your school psychologist should be able to recommend and help you set up services or accommodations for your kid. Depending on the specific learning disability, your child may qualify for special education services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or accommodations through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Keep in mind, you are your child’s best advocate. So read books and articles on your child’s specific learning disability and learn how you and your school can help. Talk to your kid’s teacher about additional ways the teacher can assist your child. Most teachers are eager to help. Although, depending on the student-teacher ratio and the school’s resources, it’s sometimes challenging for teachers to do as much as they’d like. There are likely other kids in their classroom with special needs as well. If you feel your child isn’t getting the help he or she needs, talk to the school administrator.

 

Bio: Octopus Watch Motion Edition is the first icon-based watch that empowers kids by teaching good habits and the concept of time, while also encouraging them to stay active with its new fitness tracker. For more information, visit https://www.heyjoy.io.

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