Early Diagnosis Of Learning Disability Can Improve Child’s Performance

Question: My little boy is bright, but he is not doing at all well in school. Something is just not working for him. I hear about learning disabilities. Is it possible that he has one? Exactly what are learning disabilities, and where can I learn more about them? — Possible Learning Problem

Answer: Learning disabilities are neurobiological differences in brain structure and/or function. These differences lead to problems with learning. New brain scanning techniques have enabled scientists to understand the underlying neural basis of learning disabilities. Children with learning disabilities are often just as intelligent or more intelligent than other children but have difficulty learning because their minds process words or information differently.

Your son may or may not have a learning disability. Nevertheless, parents are often the first to notice the problems their children are having with learning. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development lists these eight signs that a child may have a learning disability.

¯ Difficulty with reading and/or writing.

¯ Problems with math skills.

¯ Difficulty remembering.

¯ Problems paying attention.

¯ Trouble following directions.

¯ Poor coordination.

¯ Difficulty with concepts related to time.

¯ Problems staying organized.

You will get a very solid start to getting reliable information about learning disabilities by visiting the website of the Learning Disabilities Association of America (ldaamerica.org). Not only can you learn about the 13 categories of disabilities under the law there, you can also find out the signs and symptoms of each one as well as strategies that can be used to help children. In addition, this website lets you ask questions of experts and provides support as well as resources for parents of children with learning disabilities.

Unfortunately, we must caution you that it is not always easy for parents of children with learning disabilities to get the help their children need and are entitled to receive without being very knowledgeable, proactive and determined, as schools often drag their heels in providing this help.

Early diagnosis of a child’s learning disability and timely intervention by parents, teachers or doctors can significantly improve the child’s self-esteem, academic achievement and ability to form and maintain relationships.

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Question: Our daughter, a junior, is in a frenzy worrying about how she is going to do well on the SAT while taking a heavy load of courses and participating in a lot of activities. Is there anything that we can do to help her reduce all her stress? — Helpful Parents

Answer: The first thing you need to do is to communicate with her. Listen to her and find out what help she thinks she needs. Does she need to take a test preparation course? Does she need test study materials? Or does she need help in scheduling test preparation time?

Second, help her to target what will be realistic test scores that she needs for schools she wishes to attend. She should already have an idea of how well she may do from taking the PSAT.

Third, help her set up preparation goals. This includes when she will study and take the test and possibly retake it.

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