When your child has been recently diagnosed with a learning disability (LD) or you suspect your son or daughter may have learning disabilities, you may feel overwhelmed. We asked Francine Atlas Bogdanoff, assistant superintendent at Mill Neck Manor School on Long Island, for her best advice on what a parent's first steps should be.
If You Suspect Your Child Has a Learning Disability
First, talk to your child's doctor. You will want to rule out any medical problems that may contribute to your child's learning difficulties. Then talk with your child's teacher. You will want to understand the specific types of difficulties your child is experiencing in the classroom.
If you haven't already, have your child evaluated for a learning disability. An evaluation will help you and your child understand how he or she learns best, what his or her strengths and weaknesses are, and what should be done to help your child. You have the right to ask the school district, in writing, to evaluate your child for learning disabilities.
After a Learning Disability Diagnosis
Learn everything you can about learning disabilities and any associated disorders that are impacting your child. The more knowledge you have, the more you will be able to help your child. That includes how to be a good advocate for your child. Understand the laws that determine the rights of an individual with disabilities.
Develop respectful, positive relationships and regular communication with your child's teacher and other staff members at school.
Take care of your child's mental health. Having learning disabilities can cause frustration and poor self-concept. Counseling can help with these issues and teach good social skills.
Connect with other parents of children with learning disabilities and associated disorders. Such connections provide opportunities to exchange advice and support.
Lastly, taking good care of yourself helps you take care of your child.
- Francine Atlas Bogdanoff, assistant superintendent, Mill Neck Manor School, which includes Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf and Mill Neck Manor Early Childhood Center, Mill Neck (Long Island, NY)