October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

One in five students in the United States is diagnosed with a learning or attention difficulty.  Imagine how these students feel as they enter school each day, putting in all the same effort but not achieving the same rewards as their classmates because their brains just don’t work the same.  Understandably, they may become frustrated and begin to take on the role of the “class joker.”  Their identified strength becomes they can make other students laugh.  Some of the identified students may withdraw and can be found sitting in the back of the classroom with their fingers crossed that the teacher will call on someone else.  Their level of absenteeism may be increased and they may experience somatic complaints such as stomach issues and/or headaches.  How are learning and attention difficulties identified?  Very often a parent is the first to suspect that something may not be quite right.  Following are some of the signs of attention and learning difficulties that should prompt a discussion with the teacher.

       1. Difficulty with word-finding; overuse of general terms such as “thing” 

      2. Difficulty learning rhymes, songs, sequences such as the alphabet

      3. Difficulty re-telling stories in sequence and with sufficient detail

      4. Difficulty following directions

      5. Difficulty learning letter names and remembering the sounds they make

      6. Frequently reversals of letters and sounds

      7. Difficulty with number concepts

      8. Difficulty recognizing patterns

      9. Difficulty understanding math phrases such as greater than and less than

     10. Difficulty with problem-solving

     11. Difficulty organizing assignments

     12.Diffiuclty providing short explanations related to pictures and/or personal experiences

     13. Difficulty completing tasks within the given timeframe

     14. Difficulty remaining on task

     15. Difficulty recognizing the perspectives of others

     16. Difficulty making and keeping friends

     17. Difficulty recalling information

     18. Difficulty keeping track of personal items

If you recognize your child demonstrates some of these difficulties, set up a conference with the teacher to discuss how your child is functioning in the classroom.  A written request for an evaluation can be submitted to the Child Study Team for an accurate diagnosis.  Once the diagnosis is made, a treatment plan will be developed to include both classroom management as well as support from other professionals such as a Speech Language Pathologist.  Consistent communication and implementation of strategies between school and home is necessary for the success of every student.  Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce growing frustration and issues with self-confidence as the student progresses through school.



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