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As moms, we always want to see our kids achieve their full potential in and out of the classroom. That’s why you might have seen other kids learn how to code or take advanced classes in science and math. But what if your child can’t keep up with that? What if they’re falling further and further behind?
Your kid isn’t lazy at all. On the contrary, you know that they work harder than anyone else. Sure, you can hire an online tutor or attempt to provide extra help at home, but that might only get you so far. It might be time to consider that your child lives with a learning disability. But how can you get them the help they need? What kind of tests do schools use to look for these things? Fret not! We are here to guide you through!
What Are Learning Disabilities?
One in five children has one or more learning disabilities or attention issues. A learning disability refers to various learning and thinking differences that can influence how the brain receives, uses, stores, and sends out information.
Some kids may experience specific learning impairments, such as reading or math disabilities. Others may have conditions that affect their learning, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or hearing loss. Many children with learning differences and difficulties have more than just one learning disability or condition that limits their learning ability.
Does My Child Need Testing?
When it comes to identifying learning problems and adopting classroom supports and treatments, parents are frequently the most crucial advocates. If your child is struggling or failing at school, learning disability tests can assist analyze what your child needs at this very moment.
However, it’s crucial to note that there is no one-size-fits-all test for learning difficulties. Instead, it is a multi-faceted, thorough procedure, with individual disability tests frequently being part of a broader examination that varies depending on who is conducting the testing.
According to the New Jersey Center for Parent Information and Resources, if you suspect any of the following problems, your kid may be eligible for learning disability testing:
- Visual or auditory impairments
- Physical disabilities
- Speech or language impairments
- Psychological conditions or emotional disturbance
- Diagnosed developmental delays
- Traumatic brain injury
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Other specified learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia
If you have any concerns, you should call your child’s school and speak with their guidance counselor or special education department to begin the testing process. This may take some time and effort on your behalf, but it will ultimately benefit your child.
How Does The Testing Procedure Work?
Once your child’s school system has placed them on the assessment list, they will most likely encounter tests, interviews, and observations by various staff members.
A special education teacher, speech-language pathologist, and school psychologist are frequently among the members of this team. In addition, a physical therapist or occupational therapist may be contacted in some circumstances, particularly if your child’s learning impairment or health condition influences their motor abilities.
Some of the exams may include:
- Intelligence tests or IQ tests such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children
- Academic achievement tests such as the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement
- Visual-motor skills tests such as the Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test
- Language development tests such as the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals
Additionally, a school psychologist will likely interview your child to search for autism spectrum disorder or ADHD indicators. The assessment team may also observe your kid throughout a typical school day to measure their social connections, class involvement, and academic performance. This information can help you figure out what kind of learning difficulty your child has and what kind of therapies they’ll require in the future.
What Happens After The Tests?
After completing your child’s evaluation, a team will gather the data and decide whether or not to offer accommodations for your child. The evaluation team and other members of your child’s Student Assistance Team (SAT), such as their guidance counselor and classroom teacher, will then meet with you. During this SAT meeting, the team will present your child’s SAT results, answer any questions you may have, and suggest a course of action based on the results.
If your child has a learning disability as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), they will most likely receive an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This will detail the specialized accommodations that the school system will provide to help them achieve their academic goals. Your child’s IEP will also include short- and long-term academic goals for them, as well as the measures necessary to achieve those goals.
In some situations, your kid may be eligible for a 504 Strategy instead of an IEP, which effectively offers adjustments without the addition of academic goals or a long-term plan. If your kid does not qualify for school-based modifications, they may still be eligible for outside support. You can ask your child’s physician for a referral to a specialist who can aid in these situations.
Outpatient clinics often include occupational therapy, speech therapy, and applied behavior analysis, all of which might assist your child’s performance. In addition, tutoring services may also help your child improve their performance in specific subject areas, allowing them to continue to succeed.
What Can I Do As A Parent?
Aside from keeping your child happy and healthy while working with their teachers and doctors, you can always give support in different ways. Try the following:
Focus On Their Strength
Every child has things they excel at and things they struggle with. Find out your child’s strengths and teach them how to use them to their advantage. Your kid may excel in math, music, or athletics. They might be an artist, a toolsmith, or a caretaker of animals.
When your child does well or completes a job, be sure to give them a pat on the back.
Develop Their Social And Emotional Skills
Your kid may become unhappy, angry, or withdrawn due to learning disabilities paired with the hardships of growing up. Provide love and support to your kid while admitting that learning is difficult for them since their brains learn differently.
Look for groups, teams, and other activities that emphasize friendship and good times. These activities can also boost their self-esteem.
Learn more about parenting a kid with learning disabilities by using resources and joining support groups. Differences in learning and thinking are prevalent. In this journey, you and your kid are not alone.
Children who learn and think differently will thrive with the correct assistance and support. The sooner you figure out what’s different with your child, the sooner you can help them. If you have any worries about your child’s learning, don’t be afraid to speak up and advocate for your child. As a parent, that is your inherent right.