Learning Disabilities

Parents of children with a learning disability will find helpful advice and information to help their children make steady progress toward their educational goals

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12 Questions Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities Should Ask

Click “Expand” to find the top 12 questions you should ask your child’s teacher or school administrator to make sure your child has all of the support available to them as they progress through school.

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  1. How is my child’s plan being implemented? Are school personnel providing all needed/appropriate services and supports?
  2. How is my child’s plan being monitored on an ongoing basis? When will the plan next be reviewed?
  3. What services are being provided to my child? Who is providing those services and how are they being coordinated with each other?
  4. When is it appropriate to re-assess my child? Are there other assessments that might help you to understand my child’s particular strengths and needs?
  5. When is a comprehensive evaluation due to take place? Are there targeted screenings or assessments that should take place now to understand my child’s needs and accelerate their learning?
  6. What accommodations will be made for my child to participate in high-stakes assessments? What other tools are available to demonstrate what my child has learned?
  7. What are you doing to make it possible for my child to participate fully with his peers in class?
  8. Given his progress, how long will it take my child to become more independent and catch up with his peers?
  9. What will my child need to do to be eligible to apply to college or pursue training in preparation for employment after high school?
  10. Since getting a regular high school diploma is important, will my child be taking the right classes so that he is eligible for graduation with a regular diploma?”
  11. What types of exams will my child take this year and what will they be used for?  Will my child take all of the same exams as his peers? How can I receive copies of my child’s exam results?
  12. What are some specific ways that I can support my child’s learning and progress at home?

10 Tips for Parents of Students with Learning Disabilities

As a parent of a child with learning disabilities, these tips will help you understand what resources are available to support you and your child. Click “Expand” to get started.

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  1. If you believe your child may have a learning or behavior issue that is not being addressed, request a meeting with your child’s teachers and other school personnel. Ask what they may be noticing about your child and share your concerns.  Then you can decide if additional steps are in order. If additional steps are not successful, you should ask for an evaluation.  Always include examples from your own experience that lead you to believe your child may have special needs.
  2. If your child is identified as both an English language learner and also a student with a disability, they are entitled to receive services to support their acquisition of English in addition to services to meet their individual learning or behavior needs.
  3. If your child is both an English language learner and has been identified as having a disability, work closely with your school to ensure that all of your child’s needs are being assessed and addressed.
  4. Many states are adopting new statewide tests that will be administered to all students.  Your child may be entitled to have the test administration changed to accommodate his disability.
  5. Many children with disabilities are bullied. According to a 2012 survey conducted by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, nearly half of the parents of children with learning disabilities (45 percent) say that their child has been bullied in the past year. Teach your child about bullying and take action if you suspect it may be happening to him. Read more here.
  6. There are a few simple things you can do at home can help your child feel more successful and be better prepared to succeed at school. Read more here.
  7. If you are having difficulty raising a child with disabilities, you are not alone.  Being a parent is hard work and parenting a child with a disability has unique challenges and joys.  According to a 2013 survey of parents of children with learning and attention issues 35% “deeply struggle” and another 31% are “conflicted” about the unique challenges of parenting a child with a learning and attention disability.
  8. Hispanic students are more likely than their White peers to be identified as requiring special education services.  It is important for you as a parent to stay engaged and ask questions.  This will ensure that your child’s school is accurately assessing your child’s individual needs and strengths and providing them with the services and supports they need to succeed.
  9. As a parent you are a full member of the team that is required by law to create your child’s IEP (individualized education program). As a parent, you have the right to participate in the creation of the plan, raise questions about the plan at any time, or request that the team/committee meet again to discuss or make changes to the plan if neccessary.
  10. Your child is entitled to an “appropriate evaluation” to document the current status of his disability and decide if he has any needs that are not being met. Your child’s evaluation must be conducted by qualified professionals and in your child’s native language (if appropriate). 

More Online Resources

Click “Expand” to find recommended websites that offer valuable information to help you and your child.

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  1. Informative articles and related content on Learning Disabilities are published periodically by GreatKids.
  2. Suggestions, considerations and identification of signs for parents of children with Learning Disabilities are offered by the Center for Parents Information and Resources.
  3. Recognize the different types of Learning Disabilities, with this content from PBS Parents.
  4. Learn the special education process with support, information and tips for you and your child provided by the Learning Disabilities Association of America.
  5. Understand the challenges that a child with Learning Disabilities faces, by visiting National Center for Learning Disabilities.