It’s a new year according to the calendar. But in most schools, we’ve just reached the half-way point. Resolve to be involved in your children’s education in new ways this new year.
Studies show that kids whose parents are involved in their education have better grades, better attitudes toward school, and more appropriate school behavior than those with less involved parents. Children with learning disabilities profit tremendously from time and attention of a parent, particularly when their disabilities cause them to spend longer hours studying.
How do I get involved?
Getting involved in your child’s education can be as simple as talking with your child each day about school and homework. Your involvement could also include:
- Visiting the classroom when you bring your child to school
- Establishing a homework routine and providing your child with a good place to study — away from distractions like TV, video games, the phone, or loud music
- Taking your child on trips, playing games together, and visiting the local library
- Showing you value education by taking classes yourself or letting your child see you spending time reading
- Volunteering at school to help in the classroom, library, office, or on field trips
- Attending school board meetings, getting involved with a parent-teacher organization, or a learning disabilities group
- Participating in IEP meetings or other meetings that involve your child
- Reading to your child, or have him read to you every day
What should I do if my child isn't doing well in school?
Parents and teachers working together create the best environment for learning. If you are concerned about your child’s progress:
- Contact your child’s teacher; don’t wait for the school to contact you
- Meet or communicate with your child’s teacher frequently until the problem is resolved
- Tell the teacher how your child learns best
- Ask for specific activities you can do at home with your child
- Find out what’s available to you at your school’s parent resource center
What if my child doesn't like school?
Lots of kids find school to be fun, stimulating, and a time to be with friends. But others experience a great deal of stress associated with school. Children with learning disabilities find it particularly difficult — especially if their disabilities are not accommodated in the class. To find out why your child seems unhappy with school:
To learn more about bullying among children and youth and what you can do to stop it, see What Can Family Members Do from the U.S. Department of Heath Resources and Services Administration.
- Talk with your child and listen carefully before you offer any solutions
- Arrange for a conference with the teacher
- Ask to observe your child in class
- Talk with your school psychologist or school counselor about your child’s feelings about school
- Consider your child’s relationships with other students as a possible factor. Children with LD are often at risk for being bullied
For another good New Year’s resolution, see Goal Setting for Children with Learning Disabilities: Your Role is Important.