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Learner Development

Parents - Learner Development

Learning Disabilities and Parents

Every child learns in different ways and at their own pace. It is important to remember that there can be many different reasons, including environmental ones, to explain why your child may be falling behind at school. A learning disability can also be a potential reason.

Facing up to the possibility that your child may have a learning disability can be hard to understand, and it can be hard to know what to do.

What are learning disabilities?

Learning disabilities cover a wide spectrum of issues that can have an effect on the progress of an individual’s education and working life. It is important to remember that learning disabilities are not synonymous with an individual being less intelligent or motivated. Simply put, they process information differently.

Common types of learning disabilities include problems with:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Maths
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reasoning

How to spot potential learning difficulties

Learning difficulties can sometimes be tricky to spot, due to the fact that individuals do not always show the same characteristics. Some common signs that could indicate a potential learning difficulty can be:

  • Difficulty in keeping up with the classroom and expressing thoughts aloud
  • Avoiding reading aloud
  • A dislike of reading and writing
  • Difficulty with comprehension
  • Struggling with maths skills
  • Lack of organisational skills
  • Poor handwriting

Although these are some common signs of a potential learning difficulty, they are not a guarantee of one.

How can you take action?

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The first thing you must do if you think your child is having problems at school is to talk with your child’s teacher. They will be able to tell you the areas in which your child is falling behind.

From their continuous assessment of your child, the teacher should be able to give you an idea of your child’s performance levels in all areas, and how this relates to what is expected at their age.

Together you can decide if there is a need for a formal assessment of your child’s needs. This would be intended to determine if a learning disability is at the root of your child’s problems, or if different teaching methods can be explored. Those could include one to one support, working in smaller groups or switching classes. It is important to remember that teachers want your child to succeed as much as you do.

There have been many cases where there has been an issue with hearing or sight as opposed to a cognitive issue, so it may be worth making an appointment for your child with your GP or local optician.

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Assistive technology

Assistive technology can play a vital role in the development of your child’s education. Utilising a simple software or hardware application in the correct way can have a significant impact on your child.

Our exclusive Assistive Technology solution for the classroom, the Learning Access Suite, has many tools that you may help.

To find out more on the variety of assistive technology available, please contact us.

In Summary

  1. Having a learning disability does not mean you are less intelligent. It means that you just have a different way of processing information.
  2. Learning difficulties can be difficult to spot and not all people show the same characteristics.
  3. A good relationship between parents and schools is vital, and should be maintained through an ongoing dialogue about your child’s development.
  4. Any teaching resources parents use at home to support their child, should work alongside the methods used in school.
  5. As the provider of formal education, teachers are the experts and should be trusted with the task of teaching children. Work with the school, not against them.
  6. The most important thing a parent can do, is to support their child when they are at school.

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