Advice

Children with Learning Differences


Students with learning differences are faced with daily challenges.  The first and most obvious one is the ability to learn and keep up academically in the classroom.  And, of course, homework battles are at the top of the list for both students and parents.  But, all too often students with learning differences suffer at the hands of their peers.

Often parents are unaware of the tormenting that their kids are enduring in school.  Kids don’t want to talk about it – it’s too embarrassing to admit to being the recipient of bullying.  And, even worse, the embarrassment of having mom or dad show up at school to fight yet another battle for them, leaves students suffering silently.

School bullying is real.  And, if a child is pulled out of class for “special” help, peers can take notice and be cruel. And, all too often students with learning differences have no place to turn for help.  Names are called, and sometimes even worse.  This is a daily nightmare for these students and should be prevented at all costs.

School should be a safe place for all children.  But all too often any student who is different in any way can be a target.

If your child already has a label or if you are thinking about going through the process of labeling your child, then consider the following advice.

1.  Be aware of IEP’s.  Understand that an IEP can give your child special help, but it usually happens in a pull-out fashion.  Your child will miss important class instruction and guided practice time.  Even worse, the other kids will know where your child is going, and your child could end up as the target of bullying and name calling.  Also, understand that an IEP is a legally binding document, and it is very difficult to exit a child out of an IEP once the process is in place.  A team of people must be in agreement that the exit is of value to your child.

2.  Don’t stand by silently thinking that it will all blow over.  A student who is labeled is a student who may be getting help but also may be suffering because of it.  If your child is miserable, then there is a reason for this. Talk to the principal and teacher.  Switch schools if need be. Volunteer in the classroom and see firsthand what is going on in your child’s school life. Eat lunch with your child and observe what is going on. Is your child being included in conversations and games?  Or is your child excluded from the social environment that takes place?3.  Empower your child in non-academic ways.  Martial arts is very good for students who are suffering from name calling and bullying.  Students become empowered to take control of their lives, and often focusing and confidence issues improve.

So many things can snowball out of control when your child has a learning difference.  But, last of all, never give up hope.  There is help available for your child.  And, never give up on your child. All children have something they can give and can be taught to learn and succeed socially.

About Lisa Harp

Hi! I am the founder of Harp Learning Institute and Learning Link Technologies. I created the Harp Learning System for students who struggle with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and other learning disabilities. My five-step system is scientific, research driven, and backed by over sixteen years of success. I also have downloadable workbooks available at my site, www.learning-aids.com. I have helped thousands of students overcome learning disabilities. It is my goal to put an end to learning disabilities by giving students the right tools to fill in gaps in their learning foundations! I have learning centers in Lodi and San Francisco and am currently expanding to other cities in Northern California as well as other states.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Children with Learning Differences

  1. My son learns differently than others. He has very low self confidence. He is in fifth grade and he is expected to write 5 paragraph essays with thesis’. This school has very high expectations. I have given up my work as a Children’s therapist when the school was difficult on my daughter. She is 19 years old, now. They told me she needed Special Education. She read slower than others. I would not allow them to put her in Special Education classes because of the stigma. I had her meeting with private teachers at home 2 times per week. I am trying that with my son, but AS SoON AS i LET MY GUARD DOWN , FOR A MOMENT, HE FAILS. iT IS ALMOST AS IF i AM HAVING TO RETEACH HIM EVERY SUBJECT AFTER SCHOOL. He is currently going though a writing evaluation. They gave him a subject “what if the park were filled with apartments” . He Loves that park. He knew why he would not want the park to be changed over to apartments. But he was afraid to write it. “Because I’m always wrong”…he says.
    Any advise?

    Posted by Karen Schubert | January 26, 2011, 7:17 am
    • You are doing the right thing to keep your son out of special education if at all possible. I know how hard this is, because that is what I did with my son, but after a year of homeschooling and doing alternative activities with him that strengthened his learning systems, he was back at school and on the honor roll. There are so many things that need to be done to become a proficient writer. The first step is to strengthen gross motor skills. If there are gaps there, then writing is too difficult. These kids have the intelligence and the ideas, but their hands can’t keep up. Also, memory issues need to be addressed so that the thoughts can be held in his mind long enough to get them written down. Two things can help. Do dictation with him. Do a sentence or two a day where you say the words and he has to write what you say. This takes some of the difficulty out of the equation. Next, when he gets better at this, you can give him a picture and just have him write what he sees. That way he doesn’t have to hold his thoughts in memory.

      We are offering a free writer’s workshop for students in grades 3 to 7 starting next Tuesday, Feb. 8. You can call (209)365-0950 if you would like to register him and get some additional help.

      Posted by Lisa Harp | January 28, 2011, 10:07 am

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