If your child is struggling in school and nothing seems to be helping then they may have a learning disability. Here are some signs of learning disabilities in children:
o Has difficulty recognizing or connecting letters to sounds.
o Shows significant frustration with schoolwork or homework.
o Demonstrates poor academic performance despite hard work and motivation.
o Shows loss of interest or motivation to do schoolwork.
o Has difficulty learning new games or puzzles.
o Has difficulty paying attention or following directions.
o Has problems completing schoolwork.
o Makes comments about being "dumb".
Here are some common types of learning disabilities:
Dyslexia - A reading disability (the student has trouble reading written words fluently, out loud).
Dysgraphia - A writing disability (the student has difficulty with forming letters and legibility).
Dyscalculia - A math disability (the student struggles with math problems and concepts).
Dyspraxia - A motor coordination disability (also known as Sensory Integration Disorder).
Dysphasia - A language disability (the student has difficulty with reading comprehension).
Aphasia - A language disability (the student has difficulty understanding spoken language).
Central Auditory Processing Disorder - A sensory disability related to processing sounds.
Visual Processing Disorder - A sensory disability related to processing images.
Non-Verbal Learning Disorder - A visual-spatial disability related to body control.
What should you do?
Most children with learning disabilities have average or above average intelligence their brain just simply doesn't process information the same way as other children do. If you suspect your child has a learning disorder then act quickly. The quicker your child receives the help they need, the better they will do in school. Here are some steps to take:
o Gather any academic information about your child you can find such as tests, progress reports, report cards, and notes from teachers and organize it.
o Share your concerns with your child's teacher and ask about her observations of your child's performance, interactions with his peers, etc. Together you may come up with strategies to try in the classroom and at home to support your child's learning and behavioral needs.
o Arrange for testing through your child's school district. A team of educators can translate the test results and create an individualized education program (IEP) for your child. Under the U.S. Department of Education Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), kids with an identified learning disability are entitled to special instruction and accommodations.
If it is determined that your child has a learning disability then arrangements will be made at the school to accommodate them. You can help your child at home by establishing a regular time and a specific place to do homework, and give lots of encouragement. Praise your child for work well done and help him or her practice good school behaviors at home. Be sure and talk with your child about their learning disability. Make sure they understand that this does not mean that they are "dumb" but just that they need to learn things in a different way. Children with learning disabilities often have self-esteem issues. So be patient with your child and praise them often.
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