Everyone is talking about "school readiness" these days. The mere sound of the phrase suggests that there is a solid foundation of research and professional knowledge to ensure that all children, those with and without special needs, can transition successfully from early care and preschool to kindergarten and the early grades. But the truth of the matter is that we are heading in the right direction, and some wonderful research efforts are underway to help define the essential ingredients of early transition.
Pre-K to Grade 2
Pre-kindergarten through the second grade is a crucial time for parents and educators to recognize early warning signs of learning disabilities (LD). Features of LD may be hard to spot during this time, however, as children can mask their struggles by playing up strengths and hiding weaknesses. For more free early learning resources, please visit NCLD's Get Ready to Read! website.
With increasing frequency, schools across the country are using a Response-to-Intervention (RTI) or multi-tiered system of instructional support. These instructional approaches rely on the use of progress monitoring tools to determine whether children are making adequate progress. Progress monitoring allows us to determine much sooner which children are at risk for not meeting grade-level targets, allows us to determine whether children receiving intervention support are making adequate progress, and allows us to more closely match the instructional support to the needs of the individual child based on his response.
Learning to successfully interact with others is one of the most important parts of a child’s development. This can be yet another stumbling block for children with learning disabilities (LD): many struggle to develop the skills they need to be competent in social situations. But as a parent, you have the power to help guide your child to social success.
Does it seem like your young child is having a hard time learning the basics of math, numbers and counting? Dyscalculia refers to a range of learning disabilities (LD) involving math. Dyscalculia affects people in different ways and may even vary over a person’s lifetime.
Does your young child struggle with drawing and writing when other children of the same age don’t seem to have the same difficulty? Does your child often get fatigued because the physical process of writing is so arduous? Dysgraphia is a learning disability (LD) that affects writing, which requires a complex set of motor and information-processing skills.
Are you concerned that your young child may not be learning, communicating or relating socially as well as other children of the same age? Dyslexia is a language-based processing disorder that can hinder reading, writing, spelling and speaking, can create barriers to enjoying social interactions and can have a negative impact on self-esteem.
When children who struggle with learning are the topic of conversation, the spotlight is most often turned to reading. And with good reason. Trouble with reading is by far the most prevalent characteristic of specific learning disabilities (LD). That said, math is not far behind, and it is not unusual for individuals with LD to have trouble in both of these areas of learning and performance.
The idea that all letters have corresponding sounds and that letters and sounds can be put together to build words.
A way of teaching reading that features different kinds of instruction. It usually means a combination of phonics and whole language instruction. Using this approach, children learn to read through daily exposure to literature as well as instruction on the basic how-to skills of reading and writing.
When children become good readers in the early grades, they are more likely to become better learners throughout their school years and beyond. Learning to read is hard work for children. Fortunately, research is now available that suggests how to give each child a good start in reading.
For many children, both with and without learning disabilities (LD), self-esteem is a powerful predictor of success. Social or emotional problems are not the cause but rather the consequence of academic frustration and failure. Not all students with an LD like dyslexia have problems with social competence and self-esteem, but many do. Daily struggles with the challenges posed by a learning disability can erode the enthusiasm and confidence that make learning, at all ages, fun.
As I explained in an earlier post, elementary schoolstudents who are at risk for mathematical learning disabilities (MLD) often have trouble with even the most basic number processing skills. The good news is that researchers are developing remedial approaches to helping these children early on, and some relatively simple strategies are available for parents to assist their children in developing and practicing fundamental math skills.
When the mysterious lady took me out of class that day in kindergarten, I thought nothing of it. I assumed everyone in my class was meeting with this woman. I was unaware of it then, but this stranger was a school psychologist, and I was being evaluated for learning disabilities (LD).
Get Ready To Read! is a service of the National Center for Learning Disabilities designed to support parents, educators and young children in the development of early literacy skills. There, you’ll find two free screening schools that provide a “snapshot” of your pre-kindergarten-age child’s skills.
While the preschool years are a time of triumphs for most children and families, approximately 8% of all young children are identified as having disabilities that may prevent their reaching important milestones as expected. It was with these children and their families in mind that Congress created the Part C Infant/Toddler Program and the Preschool Special Education Program in 1986 when it reauthorized the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
With the winter months upon us there is a good chance you will be spending a lot more of your time indoors. For those with preschool and kindergarten-aged children, additional indoors time means finding new ways for making the most of the time you have together. Today’s educational television programming is a great option for caregivers like you who are looking for ways to spend quality time with children, or for the times when you need to give choices for what your children can watch when you step away. So, grab a cup of hot chocolate, curl up on the couch, and settle in for some special time with loveable characters, catchy songs and new learning activities to keep you and your child giggling and learning whenever the television is turned on.
Applying Response to Intervention in Preschool Settings
For a variety of reasons, young children entering preschool may not have had the opportunities needed at home or in childcare to learn the language, early literacy and social-emotional regulation skills expected. Preschool Response to Intervention (RTI) promises a means of preventing these early delays from becoming learning disabilities.
As the parent of a preschooler, you play an important role in your child's development. Preschoolers are continually gaining important knowledge and skills that will help them learn to read, write and succeed in school when they get older. It’s important that you observe your child carefully and regularly share your observations with teachers, caregivers and health care providers. Sharing information about skills and about possible concerns will avoid later frustration, if your child shows signs of struggle.
What Is Stress?Everyone is affected by stress and reacts to it in different ways. Stress is a way that our body responds to the demands made upon us by the environment, our relationships and our perceptions and interpretations of those demands. We all experience both “good stress” and “bad stress.” Good stress is that optimal amount of stress that results in our feeling energized and motivated to do our best work.
Clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Jerome Schultz is the author of Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD and LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It and is an expert on stress, learning disabilities, and ADHD. In the following three scenarios, he takes you inside the brains of a parent, an elementary school student, and a teacher as they attempt to cope with ADHD- and stress-related challenges. At the end of each scenario, he offers his expert take on the situation and follows up with tangible (and at times out-of-the-box) tips that parents and teachers can apply.