A Parent’s Guide to Learning Disabilities

Being a parent already encompasses a great deal of responsibility, and parenthood often becomes even more taxing when a child begins to suffer from a learning disability.

Let this be your virtual helping hand, guiding you towards the facts about common learning disabilities and towards resources and non-profit organizations ready and willing to support both you and your child.

General

  • Council for Learning Disabilities:The Council for Learning Disabilities is an international organization committed to enhancing the education and quality of life for individuals with learning disabilities. Their home page contains news links related to government policies and research on learning disabilities as well as announcements on upcoming conferences or experimental programs.
  • Learning Disabilities 101: This article by Nemours offers a brief overview of what constitutes a learning disability, how to tell if someone has a learning disability, what causes learning disabilities, and how to cope with a learning disability.
  • Learning Disabilities Across a Lifespan: These series of articles by LDA Life and Learning Services provides general information about learning disabilities, their symptoms, and diagnostic tests.  Each article has its own link and webpage with some additional links to PDF factsheets to print out for your convenience. The articles cover information regarding dealing with disabilities at different stages in life: early intervention, pre-school, elementary, junior high and high school, and college and adulthood. 
  • Learning Disabilities Association of America: The Learning Disabilities Association of America is the largest non-profit volunteer organization that advocates for individuals with learning disabilities. Their website has several links to articles and resource centers under the “resources tab” on the sidebar. There are also tabs for “legislative updates” which contains links both to news releases related to learning disabilities in Washington, D.C. and summaries of important legislative issues. The tab “for parents” has links to articles on the basics of learning disabilities, the assessment and evaluation process, ADHD/ADD, special education, mental health, and how to cope with having a child with learning disabilities. 
  • Learning Disabilities in Children: This article by HelpGuide.org gives an overview of learning disability symptoms, types and testing and some tips for parents who have just discovered their child has a learning disability.
  • Learning Disabilities Clarified:This article by Dr. Jan Strydom (MA, HED, DEd) discuses the process of learning and the different types of learning: to gain knowledge or to develop a skill in.
  • LD Online: LD Online is a great online resource for learning disabilities. They offer a plethora of articles, videos and information on topics such as understanding learning disabilities and finding help, each targeted for different audiences, such as educators, parents and kids. They also have a learning store full of DVDs, books, software, and games.
  • LD Resources Archives: LD Resources is an online blog with a whole collection of articles regarding various aspects of learning disabilities. This link will take you straight to their archive list of links to all the articles featured on their blog.
  • National Center for Learning Disabilities: The National Center for Learning Disabilities has a large collection of articles meant to provide parents and educators with the information they need to help children with learning disabilities succeed including real life success stories, financial aid and scholarship resources, assessment services in your state, worksheets and checklists, and laws that protect your child’s educational rights.
  • National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities: The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities offers a whole host of information on laws and research related to learning disabilities as well as on helping children with learning disabilities at different stages in life.
  • National Research Center on Learning Disabilities:The National Research Center on Learning Disabilities has a lot of information on the latest research on the best practices associated with responsiveness to intervention techniques.
  • Rethinking Learning Disabilities: This report by G. Reid Lyon, Jack M. Fletcher, et al. discuss the current definition and classification of LD; the diagnostic criteria and assessment practices used in the identification process; the content, intensity, and duration of instructional practices employed; and the policies and legal requirements that drive the identification and education of those with LD. They also propose alternatives to such traditional identification, assessment, and educational strategies for children with LD, which they believe will close the gap between research and practice and provide a description of the specific instructional needs of children whose low academic achievement can be strengthened by informed teaching.
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. This article demystifies the legal jargon of Section 504 and will help you understand who qualifies, how this law can help your child, and how to get your child covered.
  • Scholarship for Students with Learning Disabilities: This website offers a list of scholarships for students with learning disabilities and information on how to apply for these scholarships.  
  • Special Education: This website is the perfect parental guide for finding the right school to cater to your child’s learning disabilities in addition to providing helpful information on topics such as summer jobs for teens with special needs and being your child’s best advocate. They also have a blog called “Raise Your Hand” where parents can have ongoing conversations about their concerns and questions regarding learning disabilities.

Parent Guides

  • Accommodations: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: This article from the International Dyslexia Association discusses the issues with assessment accommodations for children with learning disabilities.
  • Collaborating with Teachers: This article by PBS parents offers helpful tips for parents on how to best approach and work with your child’s teacher to help them achieve academic success.
  • Creating Good Practices: This article by PBS parents offers a list of good studying practices to help improve your child’s reading, math and attention skills.
  • Finding Out Why Your Child is Struggling: This inspirational article by Karen Foli, writer and parent of son with learning disabilities, talks about the process of discovering that your child is struggling with a learning disability.
  • Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities:Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering parents of children with learning disabilities about with information to help their children succeed. They have several articles on their website that cover the basics of learning disabilities, how to help your child at every age with their disability, and words of advice to new parents from more experience parents.
  • Help with Your Child’s Disabilities: This page from the LDA has a host of links to articles on topics that range from managing non-compliance at home to special needs trusts to tips on choosing a tutor for your child.
  • Goal Setting for Children with Learning Disabilities: This article by Dale Brown, Senior Manger of LD Online, talks about the best way to create and establish goals with and for your child struggling with a learning disability.
  • Parenting Children with Learning Disabilities: This article by HelpGuide.org offers a host of tips for parents on how to best support your child achieve academic success with a learning disability.
  • Preventing Parental Burn-out: As a parent of a child with a learning disability, you inevitably spend majority of your attention on helping them. This article focuses on how, as a parent, to help yourself manage the varying kinds of stress associated with raising a child with a learning disability.

ADD/ADHD

  • ADD/ADHD in Children: This article by HelpGuide.org outlines the signs and symptoms of attention deficit disorder.
  • ADHD – A Guide for Families: This series of articles by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry provides an overview of ADHD, how common ADHD is, what are the common signs of ADHD, how to get treatment, and how to best work with your child.
  • ADHD News Blog: This online blog features articles in the news related to ADHD. Click through the archives to read all the news articles in this blog.
  • ADHD-Other Treatments: This report by the University of Maryland Medical Center discusses dietary and non-drug therapies to help treat ADHD.
  • ADHD Reference List: This is a comprehensive bibliography of books put together by Family Education on ADHD.
  • Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: CHADD is a non-profit organization committed to serving families with children with ADHD. Their website has links to current news articles, information for parents, and short excerpts from Attention Magazine.
  • Depression in ADHD Children: This article by ConnectEd talks about the complications that can arise when a child with ADHD also suffers from depression. 
  • Educational Rights for Children with ADHD: This article by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia provides a brief overview of the various legislation that can help parents secure free and appropriate public education for their children with ADHD.
  • Parenting Children with ADHD: This article by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia goes over important coping tips for parents who have just learned that their child has been diagnosed with ADHD.

Dyslexia

  • Dyslexia Awareness and Resource Center: DARC is committed to increase public awareness of dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Their website features announcements of upcoming conferences and programs for those coping with dyslexia and links to news articles related to dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia Online: This list of articles by Audiblox cover a wide range of topics and issues related to dyslexia ranging from Dysphonetic dyslexia to overcoming dyslexia to an alternative interpretation on whether dyslexia is a result of brain dysfunction.
  • Dyslexia Program Tuition Is a Valid Deduction: Special Education as a Medical Expense: This article by AICPA discusses a case for which the IRS ruled tuition paid to school program to help dyslexic children could be deducted as a medical expense.
  • Dyslexia and Reading Problems: This article by the University of Michigan Health System has a great summary explaining dyslexia and what the signs are for children at various ages in life.
  • Dyslexia Research Institute: The Dyslexia Research Institute offers seminars as well as online articles about dyslexia that cover everything from the basics to specific techniques developed through research aimed to help children with dyslexia.
  • International Dyslexia Association: The IDA is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the treatment and study of dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. Their website has announcements for upcoming conferences, general information on dyslexia, and an e-newsletter you can register to receive via email.
  • Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia and Vision: A Subject Review: You can download the PDF of this article by clicking on the link called “Full Text” on the right side bar. This study by the American Academy of Pediatrics discusses research exploring the efficacy of vision therapy for the remediation of pediatric learning disabilities.

Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia

  • What is Dyscalculia?: This article by LD Online provides a summary of dyscalculia, its symptoms and signs, and how its best treated.
  • Dyscalculia Primer and Resource Guide: This extensive article by Anna Wilson, OECD Post-Doctoral Fellow, discusses what causes dyscalculia, how it’s diagnosed, how to prevent dyscalculia, its relationship to dyslexia and ADHD, and how it can be remediated.
  • Q & A about Dyscalculia: This article by Audiblox gives the answers to the more common questions parents tend to have about dyscalculia such as “what are the common symptoms?” and “how long have people been aware of dyscalculia?”
  • Understanding Dissociations in Dyscalculia: This report featured in Brain, a journal of neurology, discusses a brain imaging study conducted in an attempt to understand the origin of the effects causing different subtypes of dyscalculia.
  • What is Dysgraphia?: This factsheet by The Vermont Family Network gives an overview of what parents can do to best help their children struggling with dysgraphia. 
  • Dysgraphia Accommodations and Modifications:This article from Reading Rockets, by Susan Jones, discusses the main symptoms of dysgraphia and how to best accommodate and modify expectations for a child with dysgraphia in order to best help them succeed.
  • Strategies for Dealing with Dysgraphia: This article by Regina Richards from LD Online goes over the basics of dysgraphia, explaining how it occurs, how to best remediate it, and other compensatory strategies.
  • Dysgraphia Symptoms, Causes and Treatment: This article from Audiblox provides general information on dysgraphia, summarizing its symptoms, signs, causes and the treatment normally prescribed to those diagnosed with dysgraphia.
  • When Fingers Do the Working:This article by Dr. Mel Levine, discuses motor function and its relationship to dysgraphia.

Autism

  • What is Autism?: This article by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia summaries autism, its various types and symptoms, what causes autism, how its diagnosed, and the most affective approaches to remediate it. 
  • Autism Factsheet: This factsheet by Mental Health America is a brief outline explaining what autism is, the common signs and symptoms, available treatments, and how one child’s autism affects the entire family.
  • Autism Signs, Symptoms and Causes: This article by HelpGuide.org is a summary of the signs, symptoms, and causes of autism covering signs that can be detected throughout early childhood from 6 months of age to over 24 months.
  • Autism Spectrum in Disorders: This article by HelpGuide.org provides an overview of the various difficulties faced by children with ASD with social interactions, speech, language comprehension, nonverbal communication, sensory stimuli, emotional regulation, and cognitive abilities.
  • Asperger Syndrome: This article by Oasis Maap summarizes asperger syndrome and its signs, symptoms, and common treatments.
  • Asperger Syndrome: Some Common Questions: This article by Oasis Maap answers questions commonly asked by parents about asperger syndrome such as “do girls have a different expression of asperger syndrome?” or “how do you discipline a child with asperger syndrome?”
  • Autism Therapy, Treatment and Diagnosis: This article by HelpGuide.org is targeted towards parents and discusses how ASD is diagnosed, other medical conditions that occur more frequently in children with autism, common treatments, and medications prescribed to autistic children.

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