Beyond the Classroom

Group of children playing with hula-hoops outdoors in summerThe impact of learning disabilities does not end in the classroom but can extend to activities outside the schoolyard. This area will provide articles of interest related to activities beyond the classroom: tutoring, summer activities, special education expenses, social skills and more.

Learning Disabilities and Social Security Disability Benefits

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When living with a learning disability, you’re empowered to thrive in all aspects in life despite the challenges that can be faced daily. However, in some situations, adults who suffer from severe learning disabilities can find it difficult to maintain gainful employment to support their families. Also, if you have a child who lives with a severe learning disability, it can be hard finding and affording opportunities for them to success both in and out of the classroom. In either situation, the financial effects can, sometimes, be overwhelming to an individual or a family. The good news is that Social… Read More »

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month!

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Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) is working hard this month to shine the spotlight on learning disabilities. It is important during Learning Disabilities (LD) Month to focus less on the disabilities aspect and focus more on the incredible abilities so many of these individuals possess as well as emphasize the phenomenal achievements and important strides so many of these individuals have made. Membership in LDA is a way in which to support and nurture individuals with learning disabilities throughout not only the United States but the world. LDA does make a difference in the lives of those it touches.… Read More »

To These Teachers, We Say THANKS!

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In the spring of 2014, LDA began an “Honor Your Teacher” appeal.  We asked our friends to give thanks to all of the great teachers that have touch their children’s live or even their own and made a lasting impact.   Here are their special messages:   Kristin Malock, Washington Elementary School, Pennsylvania “Mrs. Malock made my daughter want to go to school every day! She was truly an inspiration in my child’s education!” – Mary-Clare Claire Richardson, Western Branch Middle School, Virginia “Claire has five of her own children and teaches SPED (children with LD). Her daughter Kaitlya just graduated… Read More »

Tips for Parents of Children with LD/ADHD

Cheerful family with mother, father, son and daughter

Parents are always looking for hints that will make learning easier for their LD/ADHD child. This article suggests some helpful tips that LDA parents have learned from one another over the years. It includes tips for organizational problems, auditory problems, visual and motor problems, language-expressive problems and language-receptive problems as well as tips for parenting in general. Providing structure in your family can be a good first step. Also, your local LDA parent group can often offer more tips and, most importantly, offer parental support that you need. Contact your state or local affiliate for more information and possible referrals in… Read More »

Professionals Who Can Help

Professional therapist working with a young student

There are many trained professionals available to help individuals with learning disabilities. Researching what each specialist can do to improve the issues that you or your child may be dealing with is important. Choosing the right one that best fits the needs of the individual can save time and money. Also, know that you may not have to see every specialist at once.  Trying to work on one or two issues at a time depending on the severity of the issue can help prevent burnout and still help address each issue over time. Listed are a few of the professionals and… Read More »

Summer Reading Tips for Parents

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Summer shouldn’t mean taking a break from learning, especially reading. Studies show that most students experience a loss of reading skills over the summer months, but children who continue to read actually gain skills. Efforts should be made during the summer to help children sustain reading skills, practice reading and read for enjoyment. Children who continue to read actually gain skills. Reading builds visualization, thinking and language abilities. Taking the time to read with your child can help you evaluate your child’s reading skills. If you discover that your child is having trouble with reading, he or she may have… Read More »

Tips on Choosing a Tutor for Your Child

Tutor helping her young student learning on computer

Most parents dream of their children doing well in school, going on to college and having a successful career. But what are parents to do when they find out that their child is falling behind? The answer for many is to provide a tutor. Hundreds of thousands of children having difficulty with a subject in school are currently being tutored in the United States for a variety of reasons: Many students didn’t master basic skills which need to be re-taught to them; Some have a learning disability which poses challenges to the mastery of information and slows down progress in… Read More »

Get Your Child Ready for Work

Teenage female working in a flower shop

You can help your child become a satisfied and valuable employee by teaching him to develop the values and skills of a good worker, avoid the common pitfalls of youth with learning disabilities, and learn job-related skills at home. Someday your child will have to find a job if he is to become self-supporting. Hopefully, this work will challenge him and contribute to the economy. It’s hard for parents to focus on their child’s future work when simply to get him an education is such a struggle. Yet, school years usually make up less than a third of his life.… Read More »

What are Special Needs Trusts?

Attorney preparing a legal document

What is a “Special Needs” Trust? “Special needs” is just a term to describe any trust intended to provide benefits without causing the beneficiary to lose public benefits he or she is entitled to receive. What kinds of public benefits do Special Needs Trust beneficiaries receive? Each Special Needs Trust can be intended to protect different public benefits. Most commonly, Special Needs Trusts are intended to permit Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid recipients to receive some additional services or goods. Does the existence of a Special Needs Trust qualify the beneficiary for public benefits? No. The existence of a… Read More »

Special Education Expenses – Tax Deductible or Not?

Professional meeting with adult couple

An IRS private letter ruling dealt with payments to a private school on behalf of two children diagnosed with learning disabilities. The children were attending the private school in order to participate in a special education program designed to help the children deal with their conditions and then progress to a regular school program. The question addressed was whether or not the payments would qualify as tax deductible medical expenses. In the ruling, the IRS clarified that what matters is not the nature of the school but the special education provided to the student. The letter states: “Deductibility of tuition… Read More »

Power of Attorney – Do You Need One?

Woman meeting with attorneys

Adults with learning disabilities or psychiatric disabilities most often are legally competent to handle their own affairs. However, a person with a disability may wish to have some assistance from a parent, sibling, spouse, or friend in handling certain matters. For example, an individual with severe mathematics disorder may wish the help of another person in handling financial affairs. Similarly, an individual with a psychiatric disorder may wish assistance in handling medical treatment decisions, especially if there may be subsequent time periods during which the individual may be deemed not competent to make medical decisions. Sometimes, arrangements for this help… Read More »

Parenting Children with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and Related Disorders

MOther sitting in grass with her three children

Children with learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and related disorders puzzle parents because of their many abilities and disabilities. It can also be difficult to understand how much of their behavior is the nature of the condition and how much is oppositional. It is all too easy for parents to sense a child’s feelings of inadequacy and then feel bad as a parent. Parenting approaches that include clear, concise instructions; structure without rigidity; nurturing a child’s gifts and interests; and constant approval of positive behavior help parents feel better and help children feel safe. It takes time for both… Read More »

Social Skills and Learning Disabilities

Young girl standing apart from her peers

The consequences of learning disabilities are rarely confined to school or work. Many areas of life are affected, including the role of the person with learning disabilities in their family, relationships with friends, non-academic functioning such as sports or dancing, self-esteem and self-confidence to handle daily situations. Individuals who have learning disabilities may be less observant in their social environment, may misinterpret the social behavior of others at times, and may not learn as easily from experiences or social “cues” as their friends. Some children may exhibit an immaturity and social ineptness due to their learning disability. While seeking acceptance,… Read More »

Early Writing: Why Squiggles Are Important

Little boy writing with squiggles on chalkboard.

Much earlier than the time when we actually think of children as writers or readers, we must begin to provide opportunities that encourage writing. There are a number of ways to do this. Having conversations with children; answering those why questions; talking about what you see as you drive to various places; sharing stories and storybooks are just a few of the ways that our young children can be engaged in conversations. Even though we are talking about early writing, early literacy is really a more correct statement, as the experiences that relate to early reading go hand in hand… Read More »

Activities For Young Children: Providing Practice For Development

Mother working with letter toys and sounds with young son.

Young children with learning disabilities need many opportunities to practice the skills they are taught. Both parents and caregivers should plan activities to provide the positive practice needed for development. Here are some ideas for playing games using newly learned letters and words; finding numbers, letters and words in everyday items; other games that provide practice with numbers, letters, words and concepts; and using computer games and software to practice skills already learned. As you become familiar with these ideas to help your child become more aware of the ways that letters, words and numbers can be used, you will… Read More »

Parents Are Their Child’s First Teachers

Father playing with his infant son in the tall grass

Many simple everyday occurrences provide excellent opportunities to enhance your child’s development. Never underestimate the value of even 15 minutes of quality time spent with your child. Remember, you are your child’s first teacher! Talk about everything around you and respond with sentences using any words the child contributes. Play games with the alphabet to introduce new letters. Tell stories about your childhood, your child’s favorite book or video character. When reading a story, describe what’s going on in the pictures and ask your child what he thinks. Let your child see that reading is fun and it’s important to… Read More »

Starting School: How To Help Your Child

Little girl with backpack, books and school supplies

Starting school can be an exciting time for both parent and child. To start off on the right foot here are a few suggestions that can help to foster success. A specially designated study space is essential. Setting a study time will help with short attention spans and learning to stay on task. Color coding, organizers, assignment sheets and calendars will get your child on the right track. Graphic organizers and reading with your child can improve reading ability. Consistency and daily interaction are important. To follow up on the information found here, see the articles in Help with Homework. … Read More »

A Learning Disability is Only One Part of a Child

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When a child is born, it is usually a time of joy for the whole family. How new parents respond to this new little person is influenced by many factors. Some feelings revolve around how comfortable parents are in taking care of the child, whether the child was wanted, and whether the child is welcomed into an intact family. The personality of the infant as defined by Chess and Thomas is also a factor. Some are easy, contented babies, others may be fussy. Tactilely defensive babies, who do not want to be held, may cause the mother to question her… Read More »

Helping Young Children with Learning Disabilities at Home

Mother and young son share reading time together at home.

Many parents of young children with learning disabilities ask what they can do at home to help their youngsters. Generally, the first step is to try to understand the child’s difficulties and to consider how these weaknesses might impact on self-help skills, communication, discipline, play and independence; however, above all, we encourage them to focus on the child’s strengths in order to build self-esteem and to help them become an integral part of the family. Like all parents, they need to consider the delicate balance between providing too much or too little assistance for the child‒a balance between under and… Read More »

Help with Homework

Mother helping son with homework

The amount of assistance your child requires with homework will be determined by his/her age and level of ability. Elementary school students, as well as those with learning problems will require more of your time, assistance, and support than secondary students. Your assistance also depends on whether the homework assignments represent practicing a skill already mastered by your child or developing and mastering a new skill. The later will take more time and involvement on your part. Most parents feel quite capable of providing assistance when the goal of homework is to practice previously learned information. For example, using flash… Read More »

The LD/ADHD Teen Driver: Risky Business or Worth the Risk?

Teenage boy learning to drive

Learning to drive can be difficult for many teenagers especially if they reside in a high traffic area. It can be equally stressful for parents who are teaching their teens with specific learning disabilities. These disabilities can include processing delays, perceptual difficulties, memory, executive function disorders or ADHD, which can compound the challenge. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. With a little planning, time and a lot of patience your teen can learn to drive and gain the independence that many teens crave and need to be successful on their own. Is your teen ready? Although your teen… Read More »

Summer Activities for Children with Learning Disabilities

Yoith leader teaching young children to kayak

When summer vacation arrives, parents are faced with selecting meaningful activities for their child with learning disabilities. Many parents see summer as a time for catching up on academic skills through tutoring, summer school, or one-on-one instruction with parents. Other parents view summer as a much needed time to rest and be free of the stress that is associated with school and learning activities. Still others see summer as time for learning new skills that there isn’t time to learn during the school year. There is no one correct answer. It all depends on the child and his needs. Volunteer… Read More »

Learning Disabilities and The Law: After High School: An Overview for Students

Senior student receiving advice from his school councilor

Do the legal rights of students with learning disabilities continue after high school? Legal rights may continue. It depends upon the facts in the individual case. Children with learning disabilities who receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RA) in public elementary and secondary school may continue to have legal rights under federal laws in college programs and in employment. When students graduate from high school or reach age 21, their rights under the IDEA come to an end. The rights that may continue are those under the Rehabilitation Act and… Read More »

Transition Planning Requirements of IDEA 2004

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What is transition planning? Transition planning is a process mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) for all students who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in K-12 education. The purpose is to facilitate the student’s move from school to post-school activities. The transition planning must: start before the student turns 16; be individualized; be based on the student’s strengths, preferences, and interests; and include opportunities to develop functional skills for work and community life. Who develops the transition plan? The IEP team; The student; Parents; Optional–employers, college representatives, student advocates What is the transition team’s job?… Read More »

Post Secondary Educational Options

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There are many postsecondary options for people who have learning disabilities. Whether it’s a four-year college, a two-year college, a technical program, adult basic education, continuing education, or a life skills program, the key to choosing the right school for you starts with these steps: Contact your selected school’s Office of Disability Support Services to set up a meeting. Take your current learning disability documentation with you for that meeting. Know what accommodations you will need to ask for in a college or university setting. Determine if the school will provide your requested accommodations. Follow with a tour of the… Read More »