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LD in the Family

Being a parent is hard work as it is, and raising a child with a learning disability (LD) can add another layer of difficulty. Whether you’re just learning about your child’s LD or you’ve been managing it for years, don’t forget to take care of your own needs and to recharge yourself. As a parent, you’re on a potentially emotional journey, and balance is key.

LD Impact - Family

LD in the Family



Coping Strategies for Parents of Children With Learning Disabilities

Children With Needs – Disabilities In Children

The school year is officially in full swing. Class scheduling conflicts have been resolved, books have (hopefully) been covered, supplies purchased, and homework routines established. The never-large-enough boxes on kitchen calendars are filling up with carpool schedules, music lessons, and after-school clubs, and the intricate and ever-changing dance between families and schools is well under way.

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Living With Siblings Who Have Learning Disabilities

Family And Disability – Special Needs Families

"Don't Forget About Me!"

I have often mentioned the social-emotional journey toward the acceptance of a learning disability (LD) and shared information and resources that were intended to help adults work though the complex emotions that go hand in hand with having a child who struggles with learning. The feedback I received (thank you to all who wrote to share your first-hand experiences and to offer ideas for future discussion) reminded me how important it is to also recognize the experience of other family members, particularly siblings, whose lives are affected, often in dramatic ways, by living with an individual with LD.

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Are You Recharging Yourself?

Children With Special Needs – Children With Learning Disabilities Special needs children are likely to be high maintenance children. Whether a disability is developmentally, neurologically or medically based, these children require significant time, attention, planning and support. They are sensitive on many fronts. Their emotions, behaviors, likes and dislikes are often intensified. Their health, learning and/or social needs are vast. These sensitivities necessitate that parents adjust their usual style in order to suit their child's unique needs and ways of responding.

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How Can LD Affect a Family or Marriage?

Family And Disability – Special Needs Families Lissa Weinstein, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the doctoral program in clinical psychology at City College and The Graduate School of The City University of New York, as well as an associae director at the Pacella Parent Infant Center. She has worked as a clinical psychologist for more than 20 years and authored numerous articles about developmental psychology. Her book, Reading David, (Perigee Books) chronicles her experiences caring for her dyslexic son, incorporating both her own voice and that of her son, David.

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How to Get Your Home—and Family—Organized

Organization Tips-Getting Organized The daily life of special needs parents can be particularly demanding. In addition to typical household and parenting responsibilities, parents meet with professionals, coordinate and travel to services, complete tasks required by specialists (adding to parents’ homework base) and stay abreast of new medical resources. Whether you are a one or two working-parent family, organization is essential. Organization is the ability to think things through in an orderly fashion and follow through into action. This fall issue provides some basic how to’s to enhance what you are doing or to get you started.

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Recommended Reading: Books by Authors With Learning Disabilities

Reading for Children - LDPeople with learning disabilities (LD) are at the top of every field—and literature is no exception. Many of our favorite authors have overcome the adversity of LD to write books that entertain and inspire us. If you want to find out more about writers with LD or if you just want to find a quality summer read for yourself or your child, check out these books.

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15 Holiday Survival Tips

Children With Disabilities – People With Special Needs Have a second helping of stuffing, stay up past bedtime, shop ‘til you drop and eat cookie dough right out of the bowl — it’s the holiday season! For many of us, this is a time to focus on fun, friends, and family, flipping our schedules upside-down and filling our days with excitement. But for some children, including those with learning disabilities (LD), who depend upon daily routines and careful planning of activities, times of fun and excitement can dissolve into moments of anxiety and stress before the holiday decorations are even out of the box.

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Managing a Child's Learning Disability: Celebrate Every Victory

Children With Disabilities – Child With DisabilitiesThrough all of the pain and frustration we experienced, in spite of the disappointing teachers and tiresome administrators, the overriding memories that rise above it all are the people who were there for Danielle. Teachers fell into three categories: the ones who did no harm, the ones who tormented her and me, and the ones who changed our lives. Had it not been for the extraordinary teachers, few as they were, we would have never made it through the eighteen years.

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From Angst to Advocacy

Advocacy For Parents – Child With Learning Disability

Good News, Bad News

You take your child to the doctor because he is not feeling well. There are very specific questions and concerns that you would like to have addressed. After repeated examinations (perhaps by a number of different specialists), different kinds of testing and lots of discussion, you learn that your child has a condition that is not going to go away (bad news) but for which there is an effective course of treatment (good news).

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How to Help Your Child Pack for a Trip

Packing Ideas and Travel Tips— How to Help Your Child Pack for a TripWhether you’ve planned the vacation of a lifetime or are just heading to Grandma’s for the weekend, packing the right clothes and gear can make the whole family’s trip more comfortable. Kids with learning and attention issues can have a hand in preparing for their visit. Giving them the responsibility to choose what to bring, with your guidance, can fuel their excitement and help lessen anxiety about the trip. Use these tips for helping kids pack.

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Six Reasons Your Child’s LD Might Stress You Out

Reasons for Stress | Learning DisabilitiesThere's no way around it. Parenting can be inherently stressful and challenging. For every decision you'll make regarding your child, you'll often have lingering doubts about whether you made the right choice. From the time children are infants (should I let him cry in the night until he falls asleep, or should I comfort him?) to their teenage years (do I need to limit the amount of time she’s on the internet?) parents are confronted with quandaries about what’s best for a child's well-being and development. A little bit of stress can be a good thing, but when it grabs you and doesn't let you go, it's time to step back, reflect upon what's going on and take steps to regain your emotional footing.

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Eight Ideas to Get Your Kids to Stop Fighting in the Car

Sibling Rivalry & Family Travel—My Kids Won’t Stop Fighting In the CarWhether you’re making a quick run to the supermarket or taking a road trip to Disney World, sibling wars and backseat brawls can be just around the corner. Learning and attention issues can make car time challenging. If ADHD is involved and physical proximity can’t be avoided, your vehicle can become a combat zone. Fortunately, with a little advance planning, you can stop many of these battles before they start.

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The Natural Emotional Cycle for Parents of Children With LD

Parents Coping with Learning DisabilitiesWhen we think about grief and loss, the first things that come to mind are illness and death — very tangible, linear events that have a beginning, a middle, and an end which result in significant, emotional impact. But, what about the events in our lives that are not so black and white; the ones that continue to impact us throughout our lives and spur varying emotions over time?

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Managing a Child's Learning Disability: Mine for Gold

Children With Disabilities – Child With DisabilitiesThe resource teacher, Susan, became the first and still most outstanding, teacher Danielle ever had. It is important to find the people who are devoted to children and support them. I stopped by Susan's classroom after the meeting. It was in the basement in a small, cramped space. There was a partition separating her classroom from the speech therapist. But, despite the cramped space, it was a welcoming place. Susan sat with me and told me that she really enjoyed working with Danielle. She said she had read her IEP and knew from experience that we would have a challenging road for her to learn to read. She asked me to come back as often as I could. One year after Danielle's diagnosis, three weeks into the first grade year, one congenial and one uncomfortable team meeting later, I felt a new and knowledgeable person was on our side.

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Tips for Military Parents on Supporting Their Children in Special Education

Parents Of Children With Special Needs – Military Children It’s critical that you have the right professionals (e.g., educators, case workers, and others) supporting your child’s needs, but remember that you are your child’s best ally and advocate. Here are some tips for supporting your military child’s needs if he or she has a learning disability — at home, in school, and in the community at large.

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Preparing for Special Holiday Events

Disabilities In Children – Disabled Children Ben Franklin said "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," and we all know how applicable this advice is during the holiday season. Special events or changes in schedules and routines can be exciting, but can also be disruptive and stressful. This is especially true for children with learning disabilities (LD) for whom structure and pre-planning is often a key to success.

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How to Deal With Relatives Who Don’t “Believe” in Learning and Attention Issues

Family Doesn’t Believe in LD and ADHD | Tips to Cope“Oh, it’s only a stage. He’ll grow out of it.” Have you heard that line before? Or maybe you’ve heard a relative whisper to someone about you, “She has such a hard time controlling that child.” As a psychologist, I’ve been asked many times, “Aren’t boys supposed to be rambunctious?” These comments or any form or disapproval or disbelief from another parent—let alone from a family member—may feel quite disheartening, particularly when you know the facts about learning and attention issues and the other person may not.

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What to Do If Your Child Is Being Teased by Relatives

Family Teasing Problems—Help! My Child is Being Teased by Relatives!I remember when my daughter was being teased. It was heartbreaking to see her suffer. As parents, our natural reaction is to want to protect. However, it’s in these challenging moments that we have the greatest opportunity to empower kids for the future. One of the most important lessons we can teach our children is that they have the power to interpret information and decide how to respond to it.

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Managing a Child's Learning Disability: Believe No One

Children With Disabilities – Child With DisabilitiesMy work experience has taught me to seek the best minds on a particular problem or subject and to value their opinion. This does not extend to my personal life where a more cynical stance exists. The challenge was to combine my professional and personal processes into a more beneficial approach for tackling the school bureaucracy. From Danielle's first day of elementary school right through her last college course the following phrases became a familiar refrain from teachers and administrators: can't do it, won't do it, and don't have to do it. There may be a reluctance to argue with people who are experts in education but you'll need to get over that.

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Managing a Child's Learning Disability: Be Tough

Children With Disabilities – Child With DisabilitiesWe all face difficult times. Some are short lived and others are longer term. Dealing with a learning disability is a lifelong challenge. It affects all aspects of your child's life and it affects your family. Be tough, because this is a marathon. You will need to pace yourself. Be resilient, ignore the distractions and defy the odds. Being tough, while it sounds like a less than endearing trait, is actually about understanding the goal and staying the course...no matter what.

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Apps for Parents of Children With LD

Apps Parents of Children LDAll parents face a daily balancing act. And your child’s learning disability means that you’ve got even more things to keep track of—evaluations, IEP meeting dates and maybe even appointments with tutors. Luckily, many apps out there can be really helpful, both with school-related appointments and even with day-to-day family schedules. I’ve researched or tested all of these mobile apps, and I find them to be really helpful.


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Help! My Child Says He “Hates” His Brother. What Can I Do?

Sibling Rivalry—Help! My Child Says He Hates His BrotherI’m a child psychologist, and I get this question a lot from parents of children developing typically as well as from parents of children with attention problems, chronic health issues and other special needs.

In every family with more than one child, each member will develop special relationships with one another, which may be influenced by birth order, gender and interests. From early childhood through late adolescence, it’s quite common for siblings to experience some form of rivalry, including arguing, name-calling and teasing. This is developmentally appropriate whether or not a child has a sibling with learning and attention problems. However, when dealing with a challenging issue such as hyperactivity and impulsivity, it’s important to remember that a family is a dynamic unit, so any stressful situation will impact every family member to some extent.

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Summer Camp for Kids With LD: Getting the Right Fit

Summer Camp - Kids with LDDoes the mention of summer camp conjure up idyllic images of rustic cabins by a mountain lake and making s’mores around a campfire? Well, it may have been that simple once, but today’s summer camps go beyond the traditional model of the past — way beyond — to the point where the sheer variety of camp options can make a parent’s head spin. Add learning disabilities or ADHD into the mix, and suddenly choosing a summer program for your child goes from stressful to seemingly impossible.

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Everyday Decisions

Everyday Decisions - Children with LDParents of children with learning disabilities are accustomed to working with teachers and school-based teams to find modifications and accommodations that work in their children’s educational settings. But what modifications do parents like us make in our day-to-day lives for the sake of our kids with differences and disabilities? What obstacles do our special kids face at school, at home and on the field?

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Mindfulness 101: Three Ways to Breathe Away the Stress of Parenting

Relieve Parenting Stress | Learning DisabilitiesYou just left the IEP meeting and you’re feeling wound up. The plan you’ve developed doesn’t feel entirely right to you. You get into the car with your face flushed, a feeling of tension throughout your body, and a gnawing feeling of anxiety about your child’s future in the short-term (Are the other kids going to make fun of her?) and the long-term (He talks about being a scientist—what if he can’t even get into college?)

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Brothers and Sisters (book excerpt)

Siblings and LD, ADHD | Brothers and Sisters Feeling Left Out

The following is an excerpt the book On Their Own: Creating an Independent Future for Your Young Adult Child with Learning Disabilities and ADHD, by Anne Ford.


Allegra is six years younger than her brother, Alessandro. In her school years, especially those soon after her diagnosis, I spent an inordinate amount of time focused on her needs: doctor’s appointments, testing services, parent-teacher meetings, tutors, the list goes on and on. There was a psychological focus, too. Even when I wasn’t actively engaged in one of the above activities, I was thinking about it. Worries, fears for the future, anxiety about whether I was doing enough or too much or the wrong thing...again, the list goes on and on.

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The Prodigal Son (book excerpt)

Why Siblings Might Resent a Brother or Sister With LD | Learning Disabilities and Favoritism

The following is an excerpt the book On Their Own: Creating an Independent Future for Your Young Adult Child with Learning Disabilities and ADHD, by Anne Ford.


I know a mother who has two sons, one 36 and the other 32. She also has two girls, both older than the boys. The younger son, Glenn, has learning disabilities that were not diagnosed until he reached his early twenties. His older brother, Paul, does not have LD, and I asked if he would share his experiences with me.

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