What Parents Can Do
- Be an advocate for your child. If your child has trouble with reading, you or the teacher may suggest that he receive an evaluation. If you are concerned about your child's progress, and he is on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), check in with your child's team of specialists. Although you will have regularly scheduled meetings, you can request a meeting at any time to discuss your child's progress.
- Help your child know who she is and what she can do. Having a learning disability does not mean your child isn't smart or can't learn. Rather, it means she learns differently. Don't let your child's learning disability define her. Talk with her about her struggles. Point out that very intelligent people can have reading difficulties and that you and the school are working together to help her. At the same time, help her to identify her interests and pursue them.
- Help your child know how he learns and when to ask for help. It is important that your child's teachers and tutors help your child figure out what learning difficulties he has. It's also important for your child to figure out how he learns best. That way, it will be easier to ask for help. And when he does ask for help, encourage him to ask questions that will help him understand what he needs to know to solve the problem.
- Help your child create systems that work for her. Lots of children with learning disabilities have difficulty being organized. It's so easy to lose a homework assignment, and even if they bring it home, they might forget exactly what they were supposed to do in the first place. So, work with the school to help your child create systems that work for her. For example, learning to make lists can help your child remember what to do next and can help her feel in control.
- Help your child realize he is not alone. Your child might sometimes feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and alone. In addition to getting academic support, your child might benefit from talking to a counselor or participating in a support group, where he can share his feelings, ideas, and experiences with others who learn differently.
- Make reading to your child a priority. Reading to your child daily will increase her vocabulary, knowledge of the world, and understanding of story structure. And by discussing stories with your child, you will help her develop language skills and critical thinking skills. By talking and reading to your child each day, by reading and writing yourself, and by listening to your child read to you, you can encourage a love of language and a lifelong love of reading.
- Learn more about reading difficulties. Research in recent years has contributed to our knowledge about reading difficulties. As a result, there is now a wealth of information about reading difficulties designed specifically for parents. You can learn more about reading difficulties by exploring these helpful resources.