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LD Basics

Parent Tips

Work with your child at home

Parents are a child's first and best teachers. Show your child that reading can be fun. Read to your child every day. Visit the library frequently. Point out words on billboards and traffic signs as you drive, on food labels at the grocery store, on packages, mail, and letters. Play word games. Set an example by giving your child a chance to see you reading and writing at home.

See the tips below on how to help your child with schoolwork.

Join with others who care

You are not alone. By joining with other parents and professionals you can increase awareness of the issue, dispel popular misconceptions, help establish educational systems that provide for the needs of children with learning disabilities, and get support for yourself. Look into the organizations in LD Resources for ways to become involved and learn more about learning disabilities.

Work with professionals

There are many trained professionals who can help your child. Ask your child's teacher or a resource consultant for names of individuals who can help. Contact one of the organizations in LD Resources for additional suggestions and information.

Professionals who can help

  • Audiologist – measures hearing ability and provides services for auditory training; offers advice on hearing aids.
  • Educational Consultant – gives educational evaluations; familiar with school curriculum but may have a background in special education issues.
  • Educational Therapist – develops and runs programs for learning and behavior problems.
  • Learning Disabilities Specialist – a teacher with specific training and credentials to provide educational services to students with learning disabilities and their teachers.
  • Neurologist – looks for possible damage to brain functions (medical doctor).
  • Occupational Therapist – helps improve motor and sensory functions to increase the ability to perform daily tasks.
  • Pediatrician – provides medical services to infants, children, and adolescents; trained in overall growth and development including motor, sensory, and behavioral development (medical doctor).
  • Psychiatrist – diagnoses and treats severe behavioral and emotional problems and may prescribe medications (medical doctor).
  • Psychologist (Clinical) – provides psychological and intellectual assessment and treatment for mental and emotional health.
  • School/Educational Psychologist – gives and interprets psychological and educational tests; assists with behavior management; provides counseling; consults with parents, staff, and community agencies about educational issues.
  • Speech and Language Therapist – helps children with language and speech difficulties.

Tips for helping with schoolwork

  • Show an interest in your child's homework. Inquire about the subjects and the work to be done. Ask questions that require answers longer than one or two words.
  • Help your child organize homework materials before beginning.
  • Establish a regular time with your child to do homework-developing a schedule helps avoid procrastination.
  • Find a specific place for your child to do homework that has lots of light, quiet, and plenty of work space.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions and search for answers, taking the time to figure out correct answers.
  • Make sure your child backs up answers with facts and evidence.
  • Practice school-taught skills at home.
  • Relate homework to your child's everyday life. For instance, teach fractions and measurements as you prepare a favorite food together.
  • Be a role model-take the opportunity to read a book or newspaper or write a letter while your child studies.
  • Praise your child for both the small steps and big leaps in the right direction.

Help your child become a better reader (for early readers)

  • Work on the relationship between letters and words. Teach younger children how to spell a few special words, such as their own names, the names of pets or favorite cartoon characters, or words they see frequently like stop or exit.
  • Help your child understand that language is made up of sounds, syllables, and words. Sing songs and read rhyming books. Play word games; for instance, think of words that rhyme with dog or begin with p.
  • Teach letter sounds. Sound out letters and words. Make up your own silly words with your child.
  • Sound out new words and encourage your child to spell by speaking each sound aloud.
  • Notice spelling patterns. Point out similarities between words, such as fall, ball, and hall or cat, fat, and hat.

This information was developed by the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities, with funding from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.

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