How to support a child with learning difficulties in school

As a mother I have several children with learning disabilities ranging from emotional to ADHD. I found through research, networking and taken early child hood classes that there are many things you can do to help a child that has learning disabilities learn to read.

The first thing you need to do (if you haven’t already done so) is to have your child evaluated for specific learning disabilities. This can be done at your child’s school, or if your home schooling call your local school board for government funded family literacy programs in your community. You can also try your primary care doctor who can recommend a neurologist that can perform the tests.

When you know exactly what area your child is having trouble with, you are better able to help them.

The next step is for you to make a plan to do activities to improve these areas. List each area separately, for example if your child has problems with retaining information. Right beneath this area write what activities will help improve these areas. Be sure that the activities are age appropriate or design your own activity to fit your child’s age and interests.

Show and encourage the child that they are doing a great job. For younger children displayed a reward chart, for use with a prize treasure chest (prizes can range from a small toy to a book) this encourages children to do their activities.

After age ten children tend to get a bit embarrassed so you can keep these reward charts private and award the child with a certificate of achievement and a special coupon for example a free ice cream cone at the local ice cream parlor. When the child reaches age twelve and above the rewards should fit their age such as movie or theater tickets for them and one friend.

These are a few learning techniques to use with children just learning to read.

Teaching children the letters of the alphabet and the sound it makes can be done by making a board or flashcards with each letter of the alphabet on it. Use the board or flashcards in conjunction with a tape recording of the sounds for that letter. Children with learning disabilities need to see and hear the letter together; this will help the child retain it into memory.

Point out or show the flashcard of a letter and have the child listen to the recording of that letter’s sounds. Have the child mimic the sound and write the letter three times. You can also have the child go around the house, yard, and magazines and point out objects that begin with the letter, have them also sound out the word to hear the letter.

As the child progresses write letter combinations on the board and flash cards to be used with the tape recordings of the sounds that the letter combinations make. This technique will help the child form words, which is the beginning of being able to read.

Have children combine the flash cards with a single letter together with flash cards that contain letter combinations to form words. When children get comfortable with these words add common reading words for example the words “as,” “the,” “is,” “and,” “up,” just to name a few. Show children that words are all around us for example show and read to children post boards, road signs and advertisements.

You can make learning how to read a fun activity for children by adding fun creative activities.

Make a special reading area for your child; help children to personalize their things and mark their private area by making labels with their name on things. Let them be creative, using fabric paint to decorate a floor pillow. Let them paint a small bookshelf for their special reading area. Have children make labels to identify places where things belong. Put a chalkboard in this area for children to write and draw.

Help the child create simple picture storybooks for they’re special reading area. This teaches children that everything has a name. When making a book keep the book to one subject this helps the child to focus. For example if it is the summer time and the child is visiting the beach, do a beach book. Let the child draw pictures and help them to create simple sentences using the words they are learning.

Create puppets to match the storybooks and have the child put on a puppet show acting out the story.

Older children can create plays or write songs and poems. Make a special book to contain the child’s work. Encourage children in their interests by doing activities related to their interests.

The best things you can do are to patiently let your child read to you daily and include your child to participate in some discussions with you and other people. Children will benefit from using an audiovisual device such as a computer with reading programs. Limit television time to encourage more reading and creativity time. Take your child to the library and check out your local library for fun activities.

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