Pre-K thru High School

Smiling, huddled group of various aged children.Each stage in a child’s life provides a different learning profile of needs. This section will provide specific information related to the different stages of a child’s school years from preschool to elementary school to middle school and high school. Learning disabilities is a life-long condition, but with the right accommodations these students who have identified learning problems can not only be successful in school but can go on to self-advocate and be successful in the workplace and everyday life.

Homework: Don’t Let Today’s Kindness Be Tomorrow’s Cruelty

Homework. In many families, this word brings up instant angst – LD or no LD. Students who struggle to complete homework often voice negative thoughts and demonstrate negative behaviors about it in such a way that the whole family can develop anxiety over the concept. As parents, we try supportive measures such as creating a quiet organized desk space. We play classical music. We make other family members go to a different area of the house during homework time. We try to encourage/force completion through a rewards or consequences system. We might even sit and do the work with (hopefully… Read More »

Parent Scholarships Available for 2017 Annual Conference in Baltimore

Parent Scholarships LDA is pleased to announce a limited number of scholarships available, to be awarded to parents/guardians of children in grades K-12, for our 54th Annual International Conference. PROCEDURES FOR NOMINATIONS Complete application and submit it online, via mail or email, with accompanying paperwork no later than Wednesday, November 23, 2016. Print Application can be found here. Online Application can be found here. Brief essay (no more than 250 words) indicating why you want to attend this conference, must accompany application. Winners will be notified no later than Monday, December 5, 2016. The scholarship includes the cost of the registration fee. The… Read More »

Scholarships Available for 2017 Annual Conference in Baltimore

Teacher Scholarships LDA is pleased to announce a limited number of scholarships available, to be awarded to active teachers in grades K-12, for our 54th Annual International Conference. Through the generous support of The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, 20 scholarships will be awarded this year. PROCEDURES FOR NOMINATIONS Complete an application (either print or online) and submit it via mail (LDA, 4156 Library Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15234) or email, with accompanying paperwork no later than Friday, November 25, 2016. Letter of recommendation from immediate supervisor (Principal, Assistant Principal, Head of School, Assistant Head of School) must accompany application. Winners will… Read More »

The Reading Brain: Executive Function Hard at Work

by Linda R. Hecker When I talk with educators across the country, they often lament that students don’t read much anymore, especially in the face of ubiquitous social and multimedia distractions. Even students with intact decoding and fluency complain that reading is just too hard, not worth the effort. Why is reading such a challenge for so many? One often overlooked factor is the role that executive function plays when we engage with text. Broadly put, executive function (EF) describes the cognitive processes that regulate self-directed behavior toward a goal. Anytime we plan, prioritize and organize; maintain effort and focus over… Read More »

Introducing The Hybrid Teacher: Hope for Students with LD in the General Education Classroom

Author’s note: Versions of this article have appeared in LDA Today (formerly LDA NEWSBRIEFS), as well as archived on www.LDonline.org . It is also included in serialized form in the author’s blog on The Huffington Post.. Minor modifications have been made in this version, so that it could be shared as part of the LDA Calendar “31 Days of LD” that has been created to celebrate October as Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. I am pleased to have it included in this creative repository of helpful and informative materials. I hope you enjoy it. I would appreciate hearing your response to it.… Read More »

Protecting Students with Disabilities: FAQs about Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities

What is Section 504? Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Section 504 provides: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . .” The Section 504 regulations require a school district to provide… 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 »

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 »

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 »

Summer Reading Tips for Parents

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 »

First Steps for Parents When School Problems Are Observed

If a student is having unusual difficulty in school the parent should discuss the situation with the teacher and other school personnel. Most schools have a problem-solving team which works with families in reviewing and solving problems that affect school performance before beginning a formal process of referral for special education and related services as described in IDEA. Problem-solving activities or strategies used by the regular education teacher to address the child’s difficulty may consist of changes in the physical environment, changes in instructional approaches, short-term remedial activities, peer tutoring, or behavioral management plans. Learn more about who serves on… Read More »

Successful Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities

Research continues to confirm that we can teach students with learning disabilities to “learn how to learn.” We can put them into a position to compete and hold their own. Some intervention practices that produce large outcomes are: direct instruction; learning strategy instruction; and using a sequential, simultaneous structured multi-sensory approach. Teachers who apply those kinds of intervention: break learning into small steps; administer probes; supply regular, quality feedback; use diagrams, graphics and pictures to augment what they say in words; provide ample independent, well-designed intensive practice; model instructional practices that they want students to follow; provide prompts of strategies… Read More »

Reading Instruction: Tips for Teachers

Reading is the single most important educational skill your students will learn. Understanding the organization and meaning of text and instruction in both phonics and literature is essential to helping young children read. By understanding the prerequisite skills for reading, teachers can build a solid foundation for their students to learn and succeed in school. Here are some ways to create appreciation of the written word, develop awareness of printed language, teach the alphabet, develop phonological and phonemic awareness, teach the relation of sounds and letters, teach children how to sound out words and to spell words, and help children… Read More »

Parenting Children with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and Related Disorders

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 »

Encouraging Compliance and Managing Non-Compliance at School

What are the root causes of compliant behavior and the strategies to use at school? Dr. Russell Barkley, an expert in child behavior, encourages teachers to examine compliance and non-compliance in light of four factors: the nature of the student, the nature of teachers and care-givers, the effectiveness of child management methods, and the student’s environment and related stress. In addition, this article includes such strategies as solicit the student’s input, use physical cues, know the student’s learning style, set clear limits and expectations, know those things you can control and those things you do not control, choose your battles… Read More »

Social Skills and Learning Disabilities

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

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 »

Starting School: How To Help Your Child

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

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 »

IEPs and School Transfers

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Student Success Formula

Today’s schools face numerous, difficult challenges in preparing students for their roles in the world. The Expansion of Information Content explosion – the ever-expanding amount of information being added to world knowledge daily – can be overwhelming when content coverage is a priority. Combined with the pressures of state standards, mandatory testing, and school reform prevalent in today’s educational community, educators can feel ill-equipped to meet the needs of their students. What, then, can schools and individual educators do to prepare students to successfully respond to heavy curriculum demands at the middle school and high school levels? This article describes… Read More »

Help 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 »

Summer Activities for Children with Learning Disabilities

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 »

Back to School: Working with Teachers and Schools – Helping Your Child Succeed in School

Starting school each fall is a challenge for the student and parents. The following article has been adapted from the US Department of Education website and offers some valuable suggestions as your child starts a new school year, regardless of whether the child is entering kindergarten, junior high, high school or any grade in between. Many teachers say that they don’t often receive information from parents about problems at home. Many parents say that they don’t know what the school expects from their children or from them. Sharing information and communicating is essential. Both teachers and parents are responsible for… Read More »