Recognizing that a Learning Disability is not Lack of Motivation
Sometimes Parents Get the Feeling That Their Child’s Struggle With Homework Is More Than Just Lack of Motivation or Laziness.
In fact, their child may be getting good grades. But the parents’ gut feeling is that their child is working too hard, that there may be some kind of learning problem.
How do you know if you’re overreacting or really need to get help?
Children with severe learning disabilities are routinely targeted in our schools for resource and special education services. There are, however, many students with less noticeable difficulties that seem to “fall through the cracks.” The results of their work aren’t so far out of range as to raise a red flag in the classroom.
Often a student with a mild learning disability is able to maintain decent grades through hard work and determination, but they have to put in much greater effort and time than those without learning disabilities.
Although it may be difficult for the classroom teacher of 30 students to recognize a child’s mild learning problems, an involved parent can. Many children with a learning disability DO need extra help, but they don’t qualify for special programs.
Parents of these children say that being in the classroom or helping them to do their homework was the real key to realizing the extent of their child’s struggle and led them to seek diagnostic testing. They were aware that their child spent extra time on homework and that reading and spelling skills were deficient, but they didn’t know what skill level was grade appropriate. Seeing their child in the context of the classroom prompted them to get the necessary help for their child.
One parent noted that if you can spare an hour a month to have lunch with a friend or go shopping, then you can spare an hour in your child’s classroom or with them as they do their homework. The time spent would not only be fun, but could be invaluable.
Many students with mild learning disabilities have the perseverance and drive to put in the extra time and effort necessary to make it through school and maintain good grades in the process. They can do it, but how much more enjoyable could their educational experience be if their needs were met early on? If you suspect your child may have a learning disability, get in touch with a professional who can formally assess their existing skills and where deficits are presenting real challenges for your child in the classroom and beyond.
Therapeutic Literacy Center in Solana Beach offers assessments for learning disabilities as well as programs and exercises for developing underlying “mental tools” needed for success.