Do you suspect that your child has a learning disability?

When a child is having problems with language or reading, the reason may be very simple to understand and fix or it may be complicated and require expert help.

Children Learning Disability

When a child is having problems with language or reading, the reason may be very simple to understand and fix or it may be complicated and require expert help. Often children simply need a little more time to develop their academic skills. Children learn in different ways and at different rates. It is natural for children to have highs and lows in their learning pattern, and some of them need additional time, especially if they are learning a second language.

On the other hand, some children have problems with sight, with their sense of hearing or speech. Others may have a learning problem. If you suspect that your child may have a physical or learning problem, it is very important to get more information about the causes and get expert help if necessary.

Although there is no single sign that a person has a learning disability, there are some signs and patterns that may indicate a learning disability especially if your child exhibits them frequently.

What I can do?

If you think your child has a learning disability, you can take the following steps:

Keep up with how your child is doing, especially compared to other children of the same age.
It is very important to be aware of how your child is progressing in their development.

Trust your intuition!

You, better than anyone, know your child. If you suspect there is a problem, talk to your child's teacher and school staff, look for information and do not be afraid of being assessed right away. The sooner you help your child if he has a learning disability, the faster he can begin to overcome it.

Meet with the child's teacher and the guidance counselor.

The child's teacher can tell you how the child is doing at school and how he interacts with his peers; It can also help you schedule a valuation. Establishing a positive working relationship with your child's teacher will help them do what is best for their child.

Ask him questions like these:
  • Do you think my child has reading difficulties?
  • What specific problem does my child have?
  • What can I do to help you at home?
  • What can be done to help you in class?
  • What group of reading is my son?
  • How are you doing compared to other students?

Talk to your child's doctor.

Make sure your child's doctor or other specialist examines you for visual or hearing problems. In many cases, problems with reading are due to sight or hearing difficulties.

The evaluations

If your child needs evaluation, you can start with these steps:

1. If your child is between the ages of 0-2 years, contact the agency for early intervention services.
There are agencies that provide these services for infants and children with special needs in their state, designated to identify and treat any problems or delays as soon as possible. Early intervention services are offered through a public or private agency.

2. The special education department will do the evaluation. Special education is instruction specially designed to meet the unique needs of children who have disabilities. Special education may include special instruction in the regular or adapted classroom, at home, in hospitals or institutions. Special education programs are individualized programs that public schools offer for free.

3. There is a law for people with learning disabilities - called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - which stipulates that assessments must be made in the student's native language. If your child is assessed in English and you think he or she should be assessed in another language, talk with the child's teacher, principal, special education teacher or guidance counselor.

The purpose of this evaluation is to establish if the academic problem is caused by:
  1. Learning a second language, 
  2. A delay in the development of the language, or 
  3. A learning disability.
4. If the school does not evaluate your child, or they evaluate you but you think you need a second opinion, consider going to a specialist outside the school, who will be able to carry out an "independent educational evaluation."

5. Contact a Parent Training and Information Center or a Parent Resource Center in your area. In these centers they can advise you on how to obtain an "independent educational evaluation". In addition, they have lists of low-cost professionals who speak Spanish, who can help you. Click here to find the centers in your state.

6. If you think your child needs extra help, do not give up! Try not to suppose and do not allow others to assume that your child is having difficulty because he is learning two languages. Unless you insist, your child will not get the help he needs.

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When a child is having problems with language or reading, the reason may be very simple to understand and fix or it may be complicated and require expert help.
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