Get Help Early for a Learning Disabled Child

Nearly three million children suffer from some kind of learning disability. Early detection is essential for success in school.

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Nearly three million children suffer from some kind of learning disability. If your own child might be one of them, there is some comfort not only in knowing that you are not alone, but in knowing that learning disabilities are not that uncommon. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), one in every seven Americans has some degree of learning disability. Still, it's crucial to seek help as soon as you find out your child may have difficulty learning. Early intervention can ensure the difference between failure and success in school.

Most learning disabilities relate to a child's ability to read and master language skills. The fact is, the majority of students who have some form of learning disability have problems with reading. With proper help in the early years of his education, a child can become a skilled, independent reader. The longer he must wait for the right help, the harder it will be to catch up. If he's having trouble reading, he'll have trouble in every subject he takes. It's horribly frustrating for a child to suffer unaided from a learning disability. His best efforts fall short and he can easily think of himself as unintelligent. The truth is, he's as smart, or possibly smarter than his peers. He just learns differently than they do. The right kind of help will enable him to interact with his peers without feeling of inferiority.

Some simple facts:

  • 80% of students with learning disabilities have trouble reading.
  • 90% percent will read normally if they get help by the first grade.
  • 75% percent of children who do not receive help until the age of nine or later will have some difficulty throughout life.

What to do first:

  • Seek an expert opinion - have your child evaluated as soon as possible.
  • Ask your child's teacher and guidance counselor how your child interacts with peers and how he is performing in school.
  • Learn about legal rights and responsibilities, find out about the Learn about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Familiarize yourself with your child's strengths and interests - be encouraging, focus on those things he does well.
  • Reach out to parents of other children with learning disabilities.
  • Learn as much as you can. Educate yourself so you can help your child.
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