In this Parent Perspective, Ilise, the mother of student with multiple learning disabilities discusses why she felt that her son Jay needed to attend every IEP meeting. She felt that If he was going to understand what was happening in his education, he had to be part of the process, and couldn't imagine a successful IEP without his buy-in.
For students with LD and/or ADHD, needed accommodations can be critical on test day. By reducing the impact of attention problems or learning difficulties, accommodations allow for a fair comparison among students. Beyond general preferences for the ACT or the SAT, students can, and should, consider the available accommodations when choosing which test to take.
Students with learning disabilities (LD) may struggle with schoolwork in many different areas. While most are likely to have trouble with reading, others may have issues with math, memory, organization or writing. Assistive technology (AT) can be a great way to minimize the extent to which they need to ask for help and to enable them to be more independent learners. Assistive technology (sometimes referred to as “adaptive technology”) is a general term that describes the types of tools and devices that assist people to achieve greater independence. For individuals with LD, assistive technology can include such things as scanners and screen reading software, voice recognition software, calculators, highlighting and note-taking programs, electronic/digital organizers and much more.
Whether you’re applying to a two- or four-year college, there are many important factors to consider. Use the following checklist to help you determine which college will best meet your individual needs, keeping in mind the level of support your learning disability requires.
As you and your teen look ahead to college, make sure you’re both aware of key differences between high school and college: special education services and the laws that support and protect those with learning disabilities. There are no IEP’s in college!
The secret to success seems elusive to many people. Is there really a reliable roadmap to health and happiness? And if you have a learning disability (LD), do you need take a different course? Not really. Although research has identified several attributes that form the foundation of life success for people with LD, you’ll likely recognize the universal relevance of many of these traits, such as perseverance and proactivity. Another is the use of healthy coping strategies, the topic of this article.
Is your child or teen finding every excuse in the book to avoid going to school? Spending all her time alone? Having trouble eating or sleeping? Or, is something just not quite right, and you’re not sure how to deal with it?
Guiding Teens with Learning Disabilities: Navigating the Transition from High School to Adulthood is the book from former National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) Professional Advisory Board member, Arlyn Roffman. In her book, Dr. Roffman offers advice, tips, and information to help families and high school guidance and support personnel understand the extra challenges posed toward students with learning disabilities (LD) as they face the already daunting task of transitioning from high school to adulthood.
Often undiagnosed in children and teens, dyslexia impacts an estimated 15% of people and is a lifelong challenge for the individual diagnosed and for his or her parents, siblings and teachers. NCLD is here to help navigate what can be a confusing time for both you and your child. We’ve got just the tips and tools you need—whether your child is 5, 15, or 25.
When it comes to success in life, academic achievement is certainly important, but it can only take you so far. If you don’t know what you're good at, for example, how can you pick a major in college or choose a career path? If you don’t have the ability to deal with a frustrating professor or boss, what kind of grades or raises will you achieve? And, if you can’t stick with a goal, how far will you really get in life?
As the parent of a student with a learning disability (LD), you play a crucial role in helping your child build a successful future. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for students age 16 and older include transition services, a clear plan of coordinated activities that facilitate the student’s life after K–12 education.
“The primary need of all human beings is to be liked and accepted by other human beings,” says Richard Lavoie, a nationally recognized expert in the field of learning disabilities. “These kids want to be liked by others.”
Making Changes to the IEPAfter the initial IEP is finalized or later IEPs are agreed upon (usually annually), IDEA 2004 provides new ways that parents and schools can make changes:
Whether you’re working with your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team to develop her very first IEP or you’re reviewing her existing IEP, you’ll want to make sure every detail and concern is addressed. Use this comprehensive checklist to determine if your child’s IEP contains all of the components required by IDEA. Remember to provide your input to the school in advance of your child’s IEP meeting.
Some of the statements made to parents at IEP meetings are “conversation stoppers”—comments that create barriers and can prevent the IEP team from working cooperatively to develop effective special education services and supports for students with disabilities.
Some people with learning disabilities need more intensive services than a community college, university, or vocational-technical school can offer. Life Skills programs are post-secondary educational programs that help young people learn skills needed for independent living.
Frustration is fuel for the battles we wage on behalf of our kids. Working with educators, academic bureaucrats, and legal protection is a formula for frustration. Add to the scenario that the person everyone is talking about is your child and you have an explosion waiting to happen.
We 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.
The 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.
Lyn Pollard & her two children
As the parent of a child with a learning disability or other learning difficulty, you’ve probably done your homework. You’ve read up on your child’s special needs, learned about what services he or she needs, and maybe even have a 504 plan or an IEP in place. You’re off to a great start.
Are you a college-educated professional who can’t imagine anything less for your child? Maybe you’ve even visualized the famous actor or successful surgeon, earning $300,000 a year. Perhaps goals like these are within reach for your child. But even if they’re not, don’t just give up. Whether or not a child has learning disabilities (LD), you can define success in many different ways. It inhabits the realm of health and relationships and fulfilling work, for example.
A student with a learning disability planning to attend college needs to take several steps to prepare for selecting the right college and for a successful college experience.
Success in life is about a lot of things: education, employment, meaningful relationships—and so much more. All parents hope their children will attain it. But most parents who have children with learning disabilities (LD) have at least one moment when they wonder whether their children can truly achieve life success. Not only is it possible for your child, but you also can do many things to foster qualities that make success much more likely.
Children with learning disabilities (LD) grow up to be adults with LD. That is, many of the difficulties experienced in childhood continue throughout adulthood. Even so, some people with LD follow a life path that leads them to success. They become productive members of society. They live satisfying and rewarding lives. Others find little more than continued “failure.” They are barely able to “keep their heads above water”—emotionally, socially, or financially.
Do learning disabilities (LD) affect your life? Whether you are a parent of a child with LD, an adult with LD, an educator or an LD professional, there's a place for you in the world of LD advocacy.
Whether you have five minutes per week or a lot of time to spare, these tips will get you started on the road to advocacy:
As you’ve looked for explanations for your child’s puzzling behavior, you may have unintentionally laid blame where it should not rest. You may have caught yourself saying, “Try harder” or “You’re being lazy” or thinking thoughts like this. But if your child is struggling with a learning disability (LD), she’s climbing a steeper and rockier slope than most and may be doing her very best to cope.
Positive self-esteem is as important to success in school—and eventually on the job—as the mastery of individual skills. And there's no question that doing something well helps a person feel better about themselves, their accomplishments, and their potential to succeed in the future. Learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia, however, can make it difficult for teens and young adults to develop or maintain positive self-esteem, which may in turn contribute to a hard-to-break cycle of self-doubt, frustration, and failure.
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.
To become an effective LD advocate, you need to understand what you are trying to represent. Though personal experiences may drive you, the ability to relate those experiences to the community as a whole is necessary to foment understanding and ultimately change. Simply understanding an issue as it relates to your personal experiences is not enough. Acquiring more information about learning disabilities is very simple.
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a formal commitment from the school that outlines the services and support it will provide to an eligible child in order for the child to benefit from the educational program. An IEP must be developed before a student can begin receiving special education services. It also must be reviewed and updated each year so that the child receives the most appropriate services he needs at that time.
Transition is one of the many areas supported by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004). When IDEA was last reauthorized, Congress made substantial changes to the law to increase opportunities for more students to graduate with a regular diploma and then make the successful transition to college. For students with learning disabilities (LD) who want to go to college, it is imperative that strategic planning take place as early as possible.
Some people fear heights, other people fear snakes, but what I fear is writing essays. I find nothing more daunting than a blank sheet of paper waiting for me to divulge my thoughts and feelings that do not want to come. My head is streaming with thoughts, but my hand fights the transfer of my own ideas to the blank sheet of paper. I look at my hand and ask, “Why, why does writing have to be such an arduous ordeal? Why do you prohibit my thoughts from gushing out of my head and onto a simple sheet of paper? Why am I destined to agonize over a task that others find so effortless?” “I do not know why,” I tell myself, “but I am who I am, and I accept that.”
Your child is preparing for success beyond high school. The National Center for Learning Disabilities wants to help you as you guide your child on the next step of their journey into college and the wider world.