Dr. Carra offers several practical suggestions on what parents can do to help promote a good self image. "Don't treat the learning disability like a big dark secret. Parents should talk about it as matter-of-factly as possible. Assure the child that he will learn."
Dr. Carra stresses the importance of co-operation between parent and school. "Have regular contact with the school. Make sure the program and homework are adapted to the child's needs, but don't attempt to take on the role of teacher," she says. "Support the educational system in place. Praise him for work well done in school and at home."
She also details that learning disabilities should not exempt a child from taking on responsibilities at home. "Set up jobs at home that help the child gain a sense of responsibility, a sense of accomplishment. This is helpful in developing the child's organizational skills."
Barbara DeLeo offers valuable advice for all parents of learning disabled children: "Live on a daily basis. What works today may not work tomorrow."
Most experts agree that above all else, parents should have reasonable expectations of the child's abilities, keep positive and encourage the child by letting him know that he is a competent, valuable individual.
According to nationally published statistics, one in seven American children has some form of learning disability. If you are concerned about your child's academic development and believe that he is learning disabled, talk with his teacher. If your concerns are well-founded, a CORE evaluation may be recommended for further analysis.
Some school districts offer pre-school screenings for three- to five-year olds. This brief developmental evaluation may highlight some areas to be watched as the child grows. What may appear to be learning disabilities at this early age may only be developmental delays which will correct themselves in time.
For literature and further information on learning disabilities contact:
The Learning Disabilities Association of America
4156 Library Road
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15234
The Learning Disabilities Network is an information clearinghouse and referral agency, conducts conferences and workshops, and produces a bi-annual newsletter. You can reach them at:
The Learning Disabilities Network
25 Accord Park Drive
Rockland, MA 02370
A recently published book, Help Me, Help My Child, by Jill Bloom, Little, Brown, is a source book of information from many different perspectives.