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I think my child has a learning disability now what?

child-865116_640Every mom is concerned with the progress of her child through developmental milestones.  We brag on social media, journal in baby books, and capture on video the excitement of first words and first steps.  Our concerns do not change when we send them off to school.  We have all have heard every child progresses at his/her own pace.  Due to changes in school testing and social media, we as moms are more aware of how our child ranks and may fear we are missing something.  Performance being thrust into the spotlight can be daunting for us moms.  How do you know when your child truly needs further evaluation for a learning disability or your child just needs extra support, encouragement, and most importantly more time to understand?

What is a Learning Disability?

A learning disability(LD) is a brain-based processing problem.  A learning disability can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing, and math but may also cause issues with organizing thoughts and higher level functioning.  The severity and characteristics of a learning disability varies causing identification more difficult at times.

How do I determine if I my child has a Learning Disability?

As a parent, you cannot make that determination alone.  You should be aware of characteristics which may or may not indicate a learning disability.  LD Online offers a list of common signs of a learning disability.  It is common that all children will exhibit some of these signs from time to time.  The key is if you consistently observe any of these signs over an extended period of time.

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

First step will be discussing your concerns with your child’s teacher.  Asking for her observations of your child will help to determine your next steps.  Prepare for your meeting with the teacher by writing down your questions ahead of time, be prepared to share your concerns, and be committed to working together with your school.  You can learn more  about how to build a rapport with your child’s teacher to provide the best support.

You will also need to see your medical provider.  A routine physical can rule out any other physical or medical conditions that may be causing the issues you have identified.  A complete list of professionals who can help can be found here.

Then what?

Remember determining how best to help your child is a process.  There will be no overnight quick fixes.  Patience, acceptance, and encouragement will be needed.  As a mom, we must be our child’s loudest cheerleader and supporter.  If your child is diagnosed with a learning disability, don’t get caught up in the label. Learn more about the specific learning disability and help develop a plan for your child. Remember learning disabilities are not lack of motivation, lower intelligence, or lack of instruction.

You can learn more by visiting Learning Disabilities Association of America.

 

 

 

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