Helping Children With Learning Disabilities
Peter has difficulty reading. Every time he knows that he will be asked to read aloud in class, he develops a stomachache.
Despite her teacher’s urgings, Martha has problems writing legibly. It takes her hours to complete her homework.
Andrew reads the same school assignments repeatedly. Still, he forgets the material and struggles with his grades.
peter, Martha, and Andrew suffer from learning disabilities, the most common of which involve reading disabilities. Dyslexics, for example, often confuse letters that have a similar appearance. Other learning disabilities are dysgraphia (a disorder that affects handwriting) and dyscalculia (difficulty with math skills). Yet, most of those with learning disabilities have average or above-average intelligence.
Symptoms of Learning Disabilities
- Trouble rhyming words
- Habitual mispronunciation
- Delayed language skills
- Difficulty in learning letters and numbers
- Confusion involving words that sound alike
- Inability to sound out letters in simple words
- Difficulty following instructions
NOTE: Learning disabilities are often accompanied by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and an inability to concentrate
Helping Children With Learning Disabilities, How?
What can you do if your child seems to have a learning disability? First, have his hearing and vision tested to rule out those causes. Then obtain a medical evaluation. If your child is learning-disabled, he will need your emotional support.
Remember, a learning disability is not related to a child’s intelligence.
Take advantage of any special program your child’s school might have, such as tutoring. Enlist his teacher’s cooperation. Perhaps your child could be allowed to sit at the front of the classroom and have more time to complete his assignments. His teacher could give him both written and oral instructions and let him take exams orally.
As learning-disabled children are often forgetful and disorganized, a second set of textbooks could be provided for use at home. A computer with a spell-checker could be made available for use in class or for homework.
Have short daily reading sessions. It is best for a dyslexic child to read aloud so that you, the parent, have an opportunity to offer feedback and correction. First read aloud yourself, having your child follow along. Next, read the same text aloud together. Then have your child read it by himself. Have him use a ruler under each line as he reads, and a highlighter on difficult words. This exercise may take only 15 minutes a day.
Math skills can be taught in practical ways, such as when measuring quantities in recipes, using a ruler in carpentry, or going shopping. Graph paper and diagrams may be of help in doing math problems. For handwriting difficulties, try wide-ruled paper and thick pencils. Magnetic letters arranged on a metallic surface may help your child to spell.
There are also useful strategies for dealing with ADHD. Before speaking to a child with an attention disorder, make eye contact. Provide a quiet area for homework, and allow your child to take frequent breaks. Channel his hyperactivity by assigning chores that involve being active, such as walking the dog.
Success Is Possible
Build on your child’s strengths, encouraging any ability or talent that he may have. Praise and reward any accomplishment, however small. Break projects down into smaller, more manageable tasks so that he can experience the pride of succeeding. Use pictures or diagrams of the steps he must take in order to complete a project.
Mastering basic reading, writing, and math skills is important for a youth. Be assured that given the proper motivation and assistance, your child can learn—he may just do it differently from others and take a little longer. Helping Children With Learning Disabilities Can Be Very Possible.
You can comment below if you appreciate this article.