Children develop physically, emotionally and socially at different paces and in all kinds of ways, so learning differences can be difficult to spot in our children. As a parent, it is essential that you keep a close eye on your child’s learning patterns. If they seem to be experiencing a hard time at school, pay attention to your gut feelings and act on them.
Have you ever felt that your child might benefit from a different way of learning than the method that the teacher uses? Maybe your son doesn’t understand as well when things are spoken to him as he does when things are demonstrated? Or maybe there are other signs you have picked up on that signal the possibility of a disconnect with your daughter’s school work? Sometimes kids have social issues that manifest themselves through poor grades. Other times, a child might need glasses or a hearing aid to catch up to the other children in their class. Between third and fifth grade, children with learning differences will really start to stand out from the children who are typical learners. This can cause a lot of bad feelings and guilt for a child who is trying hard, but just cannot make the grade.
What Are Learning Differences?
Learning differences are just that, differences. They do not mean that something is wrong with your child, simply that they do not learn the same way that the “average” child does. Just as there are different styles of teaching, there are different styles of learning. Some children are auditory learners, meaning that they absorb the most information through hearing information. Some children are more visual learners and need to see what is being taught to them. The third type of learning is kinesthetic or hands-on approach, meaning the child will learn better from actually feeling or experiencing what is being taught.
No matter what style of learner your child is, the following is a list of potential indicators that your child has a learning difference:
- Difficulty rhyming.
- Difficulty saying the alphabet, numbers or counting and color names.
- Mixing up words, using similar words, but not the word that was intended for the conversation.
- Confusion with the relationship between letters and sounds
- Inability to tell time
- Inability to follow directions in a sequence
- Inconsistent spelling of the same word
- Unable to recall or understand what is being read
- Needs a much longer time to complete tasks
- Frustrated while working on school work
Often times children with learning differences avoid reading and doing math homework that involves word problems. They might complain of stomach problems or headaches due to anxiety or to avoid school work. They also might have sleep issues as a result of school anxiety. Can you imagine feeling this way? It must be terribly difficult and uncomfortable. That is why it is very important for parents to be supportive and understanding.
How You Can Help
If your child is having a challenging time with school work or is exhibiting the above mentioned symptoms, talk to your child about it. See if he or she feels that she learns differently than the rest of the class. Make an appointment to meet with his or her teacher to discuss the options , but DO NOT GIVE UP. Many times a tutor or learning differences specialist can make all the difference in the world to your child’s future academic progress. Work with your child’s school to find a solution that works for your child. If your child’s school does not offer a program that will help him or her, it might be best to find a school that does.
Your child’s future is in your hands and education is one of the key factors to future success. If you suspect that your child has a learning difference, early detection will be a tremendous benefit to your child’s learning and to his or her emotional well-being. Be your child’s advocate and make sure that you do not stop until your child is feeling good about learning. Many people with learning differences go on to become very successful members of society and with the right help, your child can too!