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Detecting Learning Disabilities

(continued)

Diagnosing a Learning Disability continued...

However, the following may be signs of a learning disorder:

  • Lack of enthusiasm for reading or writing
  • Trouble memorizing things
  • Working at a slow pace
  • Trouble following directions
  • Trouble staying focused on a task
  • Difficulty understanding abstract ideas
  • Lack of attention to detail, or too much attention to detail
  • Poor social skills
  • Disruptiveness

If you suspect a learning disorder, talk to your child's pediatrician or teacher about having your child evaluated. It may be necessary to see several specialists before you get a definitive diagnosis. These specialists might include a clinical psychologist, a school psychologist, a developmental psychologist, an occupational therapist, or a speech and language therapist, depending on the problems your child is having. They will perform a variety of tests and assessments to get to the bottom of the problem.

 

Early Detection of Learning Disabilities

Knowing the early signs of a possible learning disability can help parents get their child the help he or she needs as soon as possible. That's why it is important to pay attention to your child's developmental milestones. Delays such as late walking or talking or trouble with socialization can be signs of a learning disorder in toddlers and preschoolers.

Treating Learning Disorders

Special education is the most common treatment for learning disorders. Under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all U.S. children with learning disorders are entitled to receive special education services for free in public schools.

After doing an evaluation to pinpoint where your child is having problems, a team of special educators will create an individualized education program (IEP) for your child that outlines what special services he needs to thrive at school. Special educators will then help your child build on his strengths and teach him ways to compensate for his weaknesses.

Many resources are also available outside of the public school system, including:

  • Private schools that specialize in treating children with learning disabilities
  • After-school programs designed for children with learning disabilities
  • At-home tutoring and therapy services

A learning disability doesn't have to be a roadblock to success. With the right tools, people with learning disabilities can overcome any challenge.

Parenting a Child With a Learning Disability

Finding out your child has a learning disability can be overwhelming. Many parents find the process of diagnosing a learning disability incredibly frustrating, and then once the diagnosis comes, they face an uphill battle to get their child the help he or she needs.

The best thing you can do as a parent is simply to love and support your child. These tips can also help you help your child:

1. Learn everything you can. Get all the facts about your child's learning disability and how it affects the learning process. Research services and supportive strategies so that you'll be able to take an active role in deciding on the right treatment for your child.

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