2016 Mar 29
Parenting with Joanne
A learning difficulty typically affects the processes involved in acquiring knowledge and using skills to the normal level expected of those of the same age. It is becoming increasingly common to findchildren with specific learning disabilitiesin a regular classroom.
As teachers, it is not difficult to identify a child who is not on par with the rest of the class. However, in a class of about 20 to 30 children, these children are easily categorized as being ‘weak’. Having said this, I wish to address parents on a few things that can be done at home
- Watch for signs
When I say signs, I am referring to both signs that you may see in your child and signs that come via the teacher’s comments about your child’s performance in school. For instance, if you find that your son or daughter lacks the necessary attention span to sit at his homework you may want to try sitting with him the next time. Try monitoring his reading, writing, spelling and math skills. You may find that he finds one of these areas challenging and resorts to getting up and running away instead.
- Rule out other factors
In some cases, a child’s disinterest in learning or challenges in academics could be caused by other factors such as an emotional problem, or a physical ailment. In such cases, you would want to first address the actual cause of the problem at hand before subjecting a child to needless scrutiny.
- Talk to teachers and subject facilitators
Usually, it is the teacher who identifies and addresses the parents regarding particular concerns pertaining to a child. However, I do not see why this trend cannot be changed to a certain extent. It can be equally beneficial for a teacher when parents bring their observations and voice them to teachers. Once you have done your observations and ruled out any other contributing factors, you can approach the teachers to express your concerns.
- Early intervention is key
In most forms of learning disabilities, the sooner you identify and assist your child, the better the outcome will be. A child may probably not be able to overcome a difficulty but he can certainly acquire the skills needed for coping with his specific learning disability. For example, a child with a reading difficulty can learn how to use a reading guide while reading, in order to maximize his level of comprehension.
- Screenings and assessments
Once you notice a particular challenge in your child’s learning process, it is most often the best option to get a formal assessment done. However, this depends entirely on the severity of the disability itself. If the challenge in learning is simply caused by an unhealthy bed time routine, the problem can be fixed almost immediately with the corporation of the entire family.
- Disability means a difference in learning
As parents, it is important that we understand this fact. A child with a specific learning disability needs to be shown a better and a more effective path of acquiring knowledge. His disability to maximize his learning in a regular classroom doesn’t necessarily mean that he cannot be at grade level. It is up to us adults, to identify his specific learning style and help him use his strengths to minimize his limitations.
- Avoid unwanted pressure
If a child has a definite challenge in the processes of learning, it is wise to consider the option of focusing only on a few core subjects needed for higher education. In the event, that you identify a learning difficulty in your child, I would recommend that you make some changes to the number of subjects he will be taking in school. This much needed change, can take away unwanted pressure and help your child focus on a few areas of learning and do his best in those areas.
- It’s a partnership
The child’s learning environment at home and in school need to be in sync with each other in order for you to see results. Any intervention that is done should be done in a consistent manner so as to obtain the best outcome possible.
Joanne Sathyadass has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism, Psychology and English Literature from the University of Bangalore now serving as a Special Needs Educator
For any queries please email Joanne on firstname.lastname@example.org