Learning Disabilities Awareness Month:: What You Should Know

Learning Disabilities Awareness Month:: What You Should Know

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. What is a learning disability, aka LD? ‘Learning disabilities’ is an umbrella term used to describe several different types of learning challenges. Learning disabilities are not the same as learning problems, which occur due to vision/hearing/motor issues. 

Oftentimes, learning disabilities are recognized and diagnosed during the school years. However, some students can slip through the cracks and never receive an evaluation. This is why it is critical for parents to speak out if they suspect a learning disability is at play. 

What Are the Main Types of Learning Disabilities?

  1. Dyscalculia- disability that affects a person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts. 
  2. Dysgraphia- disability that affects handwriting and fine motor skills. 
  3. Dyslexia- disability that affects reading and language based processing skills. 
  4. Non verbal LD- affects ability to interpret nonverbal cues such as body language. 
  5. Oral/written language disorder- affects ability to understand what they have read or ability to process spoken language. 

As an elementary education undergrad major, I was required to take several classes that were meant to prepare me to serve different students’ learning needs upon graduation. I learned a lot in those classes but it wasn’t until I attended my first ARD meeting as a first year kindergarten teacher that I realized how important it is for educators and families to work together to ensure student success. Parents are their children’s first, fiercest, and most important advocates. You know your kid best. Every student grumbles about having to do homework, but is your child showing a HUGE lack of enthusiasm for reading or writing? Does your child struggle to stay focused or complete a task? Or having extreme difficulty memorizing information? These could be signs that point to a learning disorder and arming yourself with knowledge is the first step in getting the best possible help for your student. 

What Happens After Diagnosis?

Students with learning disabilities are ensured a free and appropriate public education under IDEA {Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act}. IDEA is a law that helps protect students with LD by making sure that they are placed in a least restrictive environment and provided with either an individualized education plan {IEP} or 504 plan accommodations to guarantee special education services. Having a teacher who understands your child’s IEP or 504 plan is critical toward making the year a success. I enjoyed reading these inspiring student stories from the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

How Can We Support Our Kids With Learning Disabilities?

Every child needs to be loved, encouraged, and supported. For a child with a learning disability, this type of positive encouragement is even more meaningful. Let’s teach our kids to support and build each other up, one kind word or act at a time! Your child will always follow your lead, so set a positive example. A learning disability means a challenging road ahead, but it is definitely not an impossible one. 

For Further Reading::

  1. Learning Disabilities Association of America
  2. Detecting Learning Disabilities 
  3. Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities 
  4. Helping Children with Learning Disabilities

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