Archives for October 2013

Where Can I Find an Affordable Option for Diagnostic Testing?

Question: I am trying to find any resources to help my daughter. She is in first grade at a private school. Her teacher has expressed concern over my daughter’s grades, especially in reading and writing. I am trying to find the best route to get her tested. Everything I have seen is extremely out of price range. I am not sure if I am missing any resources that we can benefit from. Where can I go to get affordable testing? Answer: Teachers in the early grades are often the best predictors of which students are truly struggling and may need… Read More »

Executive Functions Development and Learning Disabilities

Elkanon Goldberg states “The human brain is the most complex natural system in the known universe.” Many researchers suggest that executive functions can be thought of as a set of multiple cognitive capacities that underlie a person’s ability to engage; in planning purposeful goal-directed intentional action, to sustain focused and vigilant attention, to inhibit and refrain from internal or external distractions, to select problem-solving strategies and mediate outcome, to use efficient cognitive flexibility to shift thoughts and actions between activities and tasks, to maintain persistence towards the attainment of a goal and to increase understanding of oneself in relation to… Read More »

The Role of Parents/Family in Response to Intervention

IDEA 04 offers states and localities the option of using “a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as part of the evaluation process…,” but it does not require that states or districts use Responsiveness-to-Intervention, often shortened to RTI. Although RTI is similar to the old pre-referral or problem-solving model first suggested by Dr. James Chalfant in the mid-70’s as Teacher Assistance Teams (TAT), parents have begun to hear a lot about RTI as a “new” way to help students with learning disabilities. What is RTI? Although there is no single RTI model, the many variations… Read More »

Supreme Court Rules Parents Have Rights, Too

On Monday, May 21, 2007, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling of significance to parents. The case is Winkelman v. Parma School District, U.S.S.C. Docket No. 05-983 (May 21, 2007). These are the facts. Jacob Winkelman is a six-year old child with autism spectrum disorder. Both the parents and the school district agreed that he is covered by the IDEA. The parents participated in the process of formulating the IEP and, when, in the parents’ view, the school district failed to provide Jacob with the free appropriate public education mandated by IDEA, the parents sought a due process… Read More »

Symptoms of Learning Disabilities

The symptoms of learning disabilities are a diverse set of characteristics which affect development and achievement. Some of these symptoms can be found in all children at some time during their development. However, a person with learning disabilities has a cluster of these symptoms which do not disappear as s/he grows older. Most frequently displayed symptoms: short attention span, poor memory, difficulty following directions, inability to discriminate between/among letters, numerals, or sounds, poor reading and/or writing ability, eye-hand coordination problems; poorly coordinated, difficulties with sequencing, and/or disorganization and other sensory difficulties. Other characteristics that may be present: performs differently from… Read More »

Treatment of ADHD

Treatment options for children and adolescents with ADHD include medication, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and social skills training. There are times when the entire family of a child with ADHD can benefit from support groups, or parenting skills training. The Learning Disabilities Association of America does not take any position with regard to the treatment of ADHD. ADHD is not a specific learning disability. No single treatment is the answer for every child. A child may sometimes have undesirable side effects to a medication that would make that particular treatment unacceptable. And, if a child with ADHD also has anxiety or… Read More »

Doctor to Doctor: Information on Learning Disabilities for Pediatricians and other Physicians

School is the “workplace” for children and adolescents. Successful school performance is essential for psychological growth and development. Social competency and social skills are developed, then shaped within the family and in school but practiced and mastered in school. Thus, development of a positive self-image and self-esteem is based on successes in school. Feedback from school concerning academic performance and social interactions influences parents’ images of their sons or daughters. Thus, if something interferes with success in school, the impact will affect the emotional, social, and family functioning of this individual. Learning Disabilities (LD) and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)… Read More »

Resources for Job Seekers

What resources are available? Due to the national focus of LDA, the resources listed are nationally-based resources. This is not a complete list of resources, but should be a good place to start. Topics covered are internet-accessible job search, Federal employment, workplace accommodations, and other resources to assist people with disabilities who are seeking employment. Included are links to the Office of Disability Employment Policy, Job Hunt, US Office of Personnel Management, Job Accommodation Network (JAN), Pathways to Employment, Getting Hired, Rehabilitation Services Administration, ABILITY Jobs and Jobs Access, US Business Leadership Network, Pathways to Employment, and American Association for… Read More »

Job Accommodation Ideas for People with Learning Disabilities

The term “reasonable accommodations” refers to changes in the workplace that enable people with disabilities to effectively perform the tasks associated with their job. Accommodations can help people with learning disabilities do their job well, even when their disability gets in the way. Accommodations can vary and it is important to choose the right ones to fit your needs.  There are many solutions to help accommodate problems that may get in your way of success. Accommodations can include variations in: the work space and equipment needed to do the task, the communication of the work, the tasks themselves and the… Read More »

Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)

What is the RSA? The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) oversees grant programs that help individuals with disabilities, including learning disabilities, to obtain employment and live more independently by providing supports like counseling, medical and psychological services, job training and other individualized services. RSA’s major Title I formula grant program provides funds to state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to provide employment-related services for individuals with disabilities, giving priority to individuals who are the most significantly disabled. What can my local VR agency do to help me? Local VR programs help people with disabilities overcome obstacles by encouraging them to focus on… Read More »

What is an Individualized Family Service Plan?

After your young child’s evaluation is complete and he or she is found eligible for early intervention services, you, as parents, and a team will meet to develop a written plan for providing early intervention services to your child and, as necessary, to your family. This plan is called the Individualized Family Service Plan, or IFSP. The IFSP is a very important document, and you, as parents, are important members of the team that develops it. This webpage focuses on the IFSP–both the process of writing it and what type of information it will contain. The IFSP is a written… Read More »

SLD Evaluation: Linking Cognitive Assessment Data to Learning Strategies

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA)  2004,  and subsequent regulations published August 2006 have significantly changed the way students suspected of having specific learning disabilities (SLD) are identified and found eligible for special education. According to the 2006 IDEA regulations (§300.307) concerning SLD, each state must adopt criteria for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability as defined by §300.8 (c)(10) that: must not require the use of severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability as defined in §300.8 (c)(10); must permit the use of a… Read More »

Parents’ Right to Request Evaluation for Special Education Services at Any Time

Parents who are aware their child is having a difficult time with reading, mathematics, written expression or other aspects of school work might suspect that the child has a learning disability (LD), also known as specific learning disabilities (SLD), and may be in need of special education services. As a parent, guardian or advocate, you have a legal right to request that your public school evaluate your child for special education.  Read LDA’s Position Paper on Right to an Evaluation of a Child for Special Education Services to learn more about this important legal right and the first step towards helping your… Read More »

Adults with LD: Evie Lindberg Story

Watch the success story of LDA member Evie Lindberg, a child with a learning disability who grew up to become an adult with a learning disability. Evie never gave up in school and with determination and help from her parents and teachers earned not only her bachelor degree but also her masters and doctorate while also a wife and mother. Evie is a true testimonial that you can attain success by never giving up! Evie is seen in the center of the photo to the right holding her diploma for her Doctorate of Education degree.

Advocacy: The Beauty of Being LD

You cannot begin to advocate for your child with a learning disability (LD), until you recognize how you define him. Advocating effectively begins with recognizing your child for his talents, his gifts, his unique attributes, rather than his deficits. This is my personal story of such and I hope it can help you. Two years ago, I presented a session at the LDA 49th International Conference entitled The Beauty of Being LD. The presentation itself consists of 8 Beatitudes I wrote outlining what I felt was beautiful about a child with a learning disability. I wanted others to understand that… Read More »

Early Intervention the Key to Success: A Mother’s Story

I had to chuckle when I received my son’s daily progress report a few years back. The PE teacher wrote, “Excellent Athlete”. Although that may not seem significant to most, it was a reminder of what the pediatrician told me 16 years ago when my son was 8 months old. He had diagnosed Brad with hypotonia, low upper body muscle tone. When I asked the doctor what does that mean long term, he said, “Well, he may not be able to walk and probably won’t be an Olympian!” If I had stopped there and given in to that prediction Brad… Read More »

College Success: Learning Despite Learning Disabilities

This is the story of how I graduated from college despite serious learning disabilities. Not only did I graduate, but I learned from my classes and made friends. Fortunately, my ability to think clearly and efficiently was not impaired by my handicaps-although they made academic achievement a challenge. My perceptual problems include my visual, auditory, and motor modalities. My difficulties involve sequencing, discrimination, and figure ground tasks. I also have a directional handicap and slight motor problems. It was hard for me to learn the information presented in my courses. Although my reading level was adequate, it seemed as if… Read More »

Doctor to Doctor: Information on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder for Pediatricians and other Physicians

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry use the same criteria for diagnosing Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)–the DSM 5. Individuals with ADHD might be hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive. Before going into detail, let’s look at each of these terms. Criteria describing each behavior can be found in the diagnostic manual. They can be seen with children and adolescents as well as with adults. Hyperactivity does not necessarily mean a child who runs wild and jumps on furniture. These behaviors might be present; however, more commonly we find a child who is restless and who… Read More »

Accommodations, Techniques and Aids For Learning

While the majority of a student’s program should be as closely aligned with the general education curriculum as possible, some accommodations and modifications may be necessary. Listed below are some suggested ways to aid students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) learn more effectively at home or at school. Selection from these and other possibilities must be based on the individual needs of each child. Information and ideas from a multidisciplinary team, including the parents and student, are important for developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that meets the unique needs of each student with learning disabilities. A carefully developed multidisciplinary… Read More »

Learning the Language of Relationships

Relationships follow a chain of CHOICE – BEGINNING – DEEPENING – ENDING – CHOICE that is never ending. The closer to the beginning of the cycle that you have problems, the harder it is for you to develop the rest of the chain. You move through the relationship chain by the use of communication, both verbal and non-verbal. Non-verbal language appears to be a good secret code that is written nowhere, known by no-one, yet understood by everyone. This article will briefly cover components of non-verbal language, similarities and differences between verbal and non-verbal language, and the major areas of… Read More »

Instinctual Optimism and Intrinsic Motivation: Every LD Student’s Keys to Success

Did you ever wonder? How a ten-month-old knows if she just keeps standing up she will eventually be able to walk. How an eighteen-month knows if he just keeps making noises eventually people will understand what he is communicating. How a three-year-old child knows if she just keeps scribbling eventually people will recognize what she is making. How a four-year-old child knows if he just keeps looking at the words on the page eventually they will “speak” to him. These behaviors can be best explained by the concept of instinctual optimism. Instinctual optimism is one of the two, early, critical… Read More »

Mental Health and Learning Disabilities: Why a Higher Risk?

There are certain aspects of learning disabilities which increase the risk for an individual to experience mental health issues. Failure to identify a learning disability at an early age and to consequently delay the provision of intensive, individualized instruction results in school failure. A child who was well-adjusted as a five- or six-year-old can acquire overlays of emotional disturbance after years of school failure. Anxiety and depression would be likely experiences for such a child from the age of nine or ten. Certain specific learning disabilities are characterized by perceptual deficits, including misinterpretation of facial expression, body language, or verbal… Read More »

Symptoms of Mental Health Disturbances

Although not necessarily indicative of mental disturbance, these actions, or signs of trouble, can sometimes help you identify someone who needs help: ACTING DIFFERENT THAN USUAL. Can you link this change in behavior to something that has happened recently? Any event, such as the death of a close relative, or even something positive – like a job promotion – can trigger a troublesome emotional reaction. SEEMS TO BE EXCESSIVELY WITHDRAWN AND DEPRESSED. Are hobbies, friends and relatives ignored suddenly? Is there a feeling that this person has begun to lose self-confidence? Depressive illnesses have many symptoms similar to these. COMPLAINS… Read More »

Childhood Depression

Children with learning disabilities are prone to chronic depression. Older adolescents and adults tend to become withdrawn. They may be quiet or become agitated, irritable, and angry; they may also look sad and talk about their sadness. Young children, on the other hand, tend to exhibit non-verbal clues and express their emotional struggles more by their behavior than by talking. A major depression typically lasts several weeks and may be intense. Mild chronic depression (dysthymia) may last for an extended period of time and frequently appears to be an aspect of a child’s usual moods and personality. Signs that may… Read More »

Tips for Parents of Children with LD/ADHD

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 »