Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What you can do as a parent if your child has LD

Disclaimer: This post is compiled through online research. In no way does it claim to be comprehensive, exhaustive and put together by an authority on the topic. If you suspect your child has a learning disorder, please do consult a specialist on the topic immediately.
When Tharini of WinkiesWay came up with the Food Allergy Awareness Month, a few months ago, I thought this was a brilliant way to bring the blogosphere together to create awareness about topics that needed awareness spread about them and my immediate thought was that it would be wonderful if we had something on similiar lines for Learning Disabilities. I grapple with it on a daily basis albeit on a mild scale with my son. He has not been tested for Learning Disabilities, but he is definitely slow to pick up.
In this era of acute competition, with school syllabuses incredibly fast paced and unforgiving, what is a parent to do when his or her child is confronted with a system of learning that is beyond their abilities? Or if they are highly intelligent, yet unable to process specific information. I've tried to put together a guide to how you can work with your child at home, apart from the help your child should receive at school and a professional special educator if required.
First, if your child has been diagnosed with a learning disorder, learn as much as you can about it.
Figure out how your child learns best. What are their special skills, talents, and interests? This information can help you motivate and foster your child's learning. Be open to other ways of learning. The senses, movement, and listening are all ways of gathering information. What works best for your child?

Encourage your child to work on their special talent. When they can really shine in some area, it helps them feel like a success.

Give your child unconditional love and support.

Accept your own mistakes. Model for your child that mistakes do not equal failure! Show your child that mistakes can be useful and lead to solutions.

Help your child understand their learning problems and talk about them. Focus on coping skills.

Help your child stay strong in body and mind by providing good food, enough rest, play, and family outings.

If you're having trouble coping, get professional counseling. It can be tough handling difficult behavior from your child and difficult feelings of your own.

Join a support group for parents of kids with LDs. A support group can help you feel less alone, get information, and learn strategies from other parents.

Helping your child with his or her school education.
The first step is to get involved.
Involve your school with your child's learning issues. Speak to the teachers and the coordinators. Ask teachers how you can help provide consistency and how you can reinforce and expand on what's going on in the classroom.Talk with your child's teacher about both academics and behavior.Plan homework strategies with your child's class teacher.
Help your child with their homework to the best of your ability without applying too much pressure on your child.

Provide an organized home with time and a place for study.Ensure your child understands and values the need for a good academic record and works towards it.
Inculcate good study skills and independent studying habits.
According to research, children whose parents are involved in their education benefit all round with:
Better grades

Better attendance

Higher graduation rates

Better self-esteem

Less drug and alcohol use

Less violent behavior

Fix a daily study routine which makes study time an integral part of your child's day. Have a fixed spot for study.
Keeping tabs on kids’ after-school activities and making sure they are supervised.S

howing your kids you value learning, self-discipline, and hard work.

Setting realistic, but high goals and standards for your child.

Guide and supervise TV viewing, read aloud, take educational trips with your child, having books as an integral part of your child's life, and doing interesting activities that stimulate your child's mind.
Going to the school regularly, so your child will view home and school as being connected, and will view school as an important part of the family’s life.

Self Esteem issues can crop up with children who have learning Disabilities. It is your role as a parent to ensure that you reassure your child to develop a strong sense of self worth, by reassuring them, working with them and building on their unique talents and skills.

Tips for how children with learning disabilities can succeed at school

Ways to help a student with a learning disability succeed at school

Accommodations - these can be as simple as being seated in the front row, having extra time on tests, or can involve electronic equipment and auxiliary personnel

Compensatory strategies - ways to use their cognitive strengths to offset weaknesses. If they have poor auditory memory but strong visual memory, have them draw or write down the instructions

Special education - instruction taught by specially trained personnel in smaller classes which focuses on working on specific skills

Self-advocacy skills - empowering students to ask for what they need in order to learn in the most effective way. Motivate the child to ask questions if they don’t understand the instructions

Working with your child at home

When you work with your child at home on academic and life skills, you help them recognize their own strengths and increase their self-esteem. Examples of activities you can implement at home fall into several categories – accommodations, organization, critical thinking, and emotional support.

Ways to cope
Take frequent breaks when doing homework

Accommodate for the child’s primary learning style by allowing them to pace around, listen to background music, attach visual displays to the walls, or wear earplugs or headphones if distracted by noise

Provide a computer for written assignments if the child has difficulty writingOrganizationModel and teach them how to make “to do” lists and prioritize their homework

Set aside a regular time each week for organizing workspace, belongings, schoolwork, and activities; make a game of it or provide a reward

Give your child a task that requires organization: grocery shopping required for a recipe, planning a birthday party on a budget, using a map to figure out the route from one place to another

Critical thinking

Play games of strategy

Talk about current events and ideas with multiple points of view

Encourage all sorts of age-appropriate reading and writingEmotional supportPraise your child for the positive qualities they exhibit during the whole process of doing homework not just when they finish their homework

Engage them in social problem-solving: how to resolve conflicts with friends, teachers, and kids who may be bothering them at school

Encourage activities that your child enjoys and excels inKeep open lines of communication so your child feels comfortable discussing feelings with youLet your children know that you enjoy their company by playing and talking with them. It’s important not to ignore other children in the family. Many activities geared for learning disabled children can include and benefit children without disabilities as well
Set reasonable expectations

Try not to expect more than the child is capable of doing, but expect the best that he or she can produce, with and then without assistance. Many young children with learning disabilities have significant problems with visual-motor integration. Some do not know how to hold a pencil or draw the simplest figures. In these cases, an occupational therapist or specialist in learning disabilities may be needed. Parents can, however, assist by having children draw figures in sand, make designs with finger paint, etc.

Introduce mathematics as a meaningful, pleasurable activity, not a rote memory skill. While most parents play simple counting games and sing number songs (all of which are helpful), we also recommend activities which strengthen the language of mathematics and one-to-one correspondence. Some children with learning disabilities have difficulty counting systematically; others have difficulty with words such as more, less, few and other relational terms. Encourage children to help estimate, measure, pour water or milk, not only to learn some of the quantitative terms but to help them acquire certain visual- spatial-motor skills.Simple games with dominoes can be used to match quantities, to strengthen counting skills and one-to-one correspondence. When reading to children, have them note the numbers of the pages and say them. Some youngsters learn to count, but they do not learn how to read numerals.Seriation (ordering objects according to size) is an important aspect of mathematics which parents can encourage. When children are given pots and pans of various sizes to stack in order, they are learning the rudiments of seriation. When they stack various size rings on a peg they also learn about the smallest and largest figures.

Simple problem solving can begin with activities such as setting the table. How many more forks do we need? Do we have enough spoons? These same types of activities can be used when playing games-- Do we have enough players, cards? etc. Many simple board games with dice are excellent ways of teaching counting, one-to-one correspondence, and turn taking.
Above all, be an involved parent. You are the only person who can truly hone your child's potential to its maximum. And you are the rock your child will turn to for reassurance.

Compiled by Karmickids.
(This article is compiled from online research)

1 comment:

Sandeepa said...

Very nice and informative article Kiran

Those tips should be helpful to a lot of us Moms