Are you a parent who suspects your child may have Specific Learning Disability (SLD)?
Are you confused, scared, and at a loss as to what to do next? Do you want to know more but feel helpless because you don’t know where to look?
Then this article is for you! Read on to know more about common symptoms and how they impact learning so that you can better advocate for your child at school.
What is Specific Learning Disability?
Specific learning disability (SLD) is a neurological disorder that affects a child’s ability to process information.
SLD can occur in any child, regardless of intelligence or socioeconomic status. However, it is more common in children who have a family history of SLD.
Boys are also more likely to be diagnosed with SLD than girls. According to research, there is no single cause of SLD. But it is believed to be caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, brain abnormalities, and environmental influences.
SLD can impact a child’s ability to succeed in school and life. But with proper support and interventions, most children with SLD can learn and achieve their fullest potential.
Examples of SLD include dyslexia, ADHD, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, and Dyspraxia.
What are the Common Signs of SLD?
There are a few key signs that can indicate a child has SLD. These include:
1. Difficulty with reading, writing, and maths.
2. Problems focusing and paying attention.
3. Poor organisational skills.
4. Difficulty understanding complex instructions.
If a child is struggling in school and exhibits one or more of these signs, seek help from a specialist for a proper diagnosis.
How is SLD Diagnosed?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The diagnosis process for SLD can vary depending on the child’s symptoms.
However, a specialist will evaluate a child’s academic performance by assessing their cognitive abilities, reading skills, and math skills.
How to Help Children with SLD Learn at Home and in School
Many parents of children with SLD feel overwhelmed and anxious about their child’s future.
But there are ways to help kids with SLD learn at home and in school. Here are some tips on how to help kids with SLD:
1. Help your child develop a constant routine
One of the challenges for kids with SLD is that they often have trouble staying focused and completing tasks.
A routine can help them stay organised and on track.
2. Help your child set goals and track progress
One of the best ways to help your child with SLD is to help them set goals.
Having a goal and tracking progress helps kids feel more motivated and gives them a sense of accomplishment when they achieve their goals. When you start setting goals, the first step is to celebrate every success.
If your child’s class teacher told you that your child only gets one word correct on a spelling test, that’s something to celebrate!
If your child has difficulty being independent and has been told “no” all day long at school, start by helping them choose something they can do entirely on their own.
It might be as simple as choosing their own clothes or pouring themselves a glass of milk. Little steps make big differences!
3. Help your child find a good study strategy
Children with SLD often need help with studying. Different study strategies can work well for them.
Some do better when they learn in short bursts. Others need more time to review and process information. You’ll need to find what works best for your child.
4. Get involved in your child’s education
Parents play an important role in their child’s education. You can help them succeed by talking to them about school and sharing your interests and activities with them.
Read to your child for 20 minutes every day, ask questions about the story, and encourage them to read books independently. Make sure they get enough sleep so they are awake and alert at school.
Encourage them to eat breakfast every day – this can help with concentration levels.
Help your child prepare for tests or exams – talk to their teacher if you’re not sure what they need to do.
Encourage them to tell you if they have problems or worries at school or college – you may be able to help resolve these issues or find support.
5. Celebrate your child’s accomplishments
No matter how small your child’s accomplishments seem, celebrate them! Acknowledging their success will help your child feel good about themselves and encourage them to keep working hard.
There are many things parents can do to help their kids with SLD succeed academically:
1. Making time for their preferred activity.
2. Help them express negative emotions safely.
3. Inquire if they need help with their daily activities.
4. Help them refocus when doing their homework by giving them short breaks.
With patience and determination, you can help your child overcome any obstacle.
6. Teach your child how to solve problems and cope with setbacks
A child with SLD often has trouble solving problems.
Teaching them how to solve problems can help them become more independent and successful in school.
Ensuring your child knows how to figure out solutions to problems and cope with setbacks is hugely important. One of the ways we can do this is by practicing exposure therapy.
Exposure therapy involves moving your child away from the comfort of what they’re used to and giving them the opportunity to work through problem-solving processes in their own time.
Most research suggests it’s particularly helpful for children with SLD.
What Are the Options for School Support?
If your child is diagnosed with a specific learning disability (SLD), it’s essential to learn about the options for school support.
Most schools have a Special Education (SPED) Curriculum Framework team, to help develop a plan that meets your child’s needs.
The SPED team might include:
1. Your child’s teacher.
2. Special education teachers.
3. A school psychologist.
4. The school nurse.
5. A representative from your school district.
If your child is having trouble in school, it’s crucial to get help as soon as possible.
Talk to your child’s teacher or contact the school administration to find out more about the options for school support.
A child with SLD may have difficulty understanding what they are reading, and may not be able to identify the main idea.
As a result, it can make it difficult for them to succeed in school, but regular and consistent help, it will surely make it easier for your child to learn and retain information.
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