Dealing with a child who has Learning Disability is tough and very challenging.
Every day is a new turning point for the teacher, parents and the student.
My experience with children having LDs has brought me into a level where I already found joy in what I do and that already defined me as a teacher.
What is a Learning Disability?
Let us take note that LD is not in any case a kind of illness. It is rather a condition
that could manifest in many ways affecting your child’s cognitive functions, executive functions and academic skills.
When we say cognitive function, it comprises several aspects of cognition such as
thinking and reasoning skills, processing, interpreting, perceiving and understanding information.
While executive functions are comprised with your child’s ability to organize, plan, make decisions, be in control with their emotions and impulsitivity, and reflect on past experience and misktakes.
Moreover, Academic Skills, are skills that your child needs in order to cope in a mainstream classroom environment such, as language, reading, writing, spelling, and math.
Don’t get me wrong, some children may struggle in some areas and usually they overome it in no time and that doesn’t convey a learning disability.
For Children with LD, the signs are always present and the struggle continues on.
Therefore, when your child shows signs of difficulties in several to all areas of learning as stated above, he may have LD and your immediate action is required to address the problems as early as possible. Early intervention is still the best solution to combat LD.
Remember that LD is a lifelong condition, however, given the right individualized education plan, designed by a team of dedicated therapists, teachers, and parents, the impacts of LD will somehow be minimized and hence, help your child ‘improve’ his life skills.
Who are the Professionals to consult?
1. First, talk to your child’s TEACHER in school and gather all informatiom from them. The sad fact is, sometimes classroom teachers are not really well – informed about the manifestations of LD, making them label the child as ‘being lazy’, ‘being slow’, ‘being stubborn’ and so on.
Teachers, if you have a child in your classroom showing significant behaviour issues or any learning difficulty related issues, make an appointment with the School Psychologist RIGHT AWAY.
Do some research and reading about LD.
2. School Psychologist / Child Psychologist.
They are usually the professionals who can give you concrete feedback about your child’s issues. They are equipped with tools to asses and diagnose.
3. Learning Disability Specialist
LD specialist can provide you with a multitude of helpful knowledge and tips on dealing and coping with LD. They can also design the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) with carefully planned learning techniques and modifications to do and implement with your child.
4. Special Education Teachers
They are also professionals who are knowledgeable and trained enough to carry out teaching strategies with your child. A good special education teacher often coordinates and works hand in hand with other professionals mentioned above to help your child. They must be up – to -date with progress reports, to monitor your child’s capacities.
5. Occupational Therapists
Their knowledge and training are usually brain-based. So their therapy techniques are perfectly designed to improve your child’s physical, mental, sensory, psychosocial, and emotional needs.
6. Other Professionals such as Reading Specialist, Speech and Language Therapists, Guidance Counselor etc.
Once your child has already been diagnosed, you may contact any of them in your
community. All of these professionals may work together as a team to help your child develop all the skills he needs to perform at his best in his lifetime regardless of his condition.
Your Role as Parents
Acceptance is the HARDEST thing to do when waking up in the reality of your child’s LD condition. That is understandable. Every parent wants the best for their child. However, denial is the WORST thing that you can do when faced with this truth. You will impede his chances of having a full and normal life.
Remember that, the time to act is now. You love your child and you want him to have a meaningful life ahead. This is your walk with your child. You will only discover that there is a BIG hope and there are beautiful possibilities waiting when you do it together.