- Reciting back: Ask your child to give directions to either your home, the post office, the grocery store, or a friend's house. Also, ask her to tell you five things about her day, three being something new she learned. This helps build memory.
- Mnemonics: Think of a fact - like a phone number - and have your child create a funny story that he can use to remember it. Here's an example that uses rhyming and memory: 487-9376 - "The number 4 ate(8) seven(7), fine(9) trees(3), and seven(7) sticks(6)."
If you're concerned that your child has a learning disability, take a free, 20-question screening at www.LearningRx.com. For a complete evaluation of cognitive learning abilities, contact the nearest cognitive skills training center.
Wendy Burt-Thomas is a fulltime freelance writer with more than 1,000 published pieces. Her third book, The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters, is now available in most bookstores and on Amazon.com. http://askWendy.wordpress.com.
Identifying reading disabilities
While a trained cognitive specialist can help diagnose the specifics of learning and reading disabilities, parents may be the first to identify struggles. Parents may be able to determine learning problems, such as with auditory processing at home, by asking the following.
Does your child:
- Appear to guess at words?
- Ever add or omit sounds in words?
- Have difficulty spelling new words, or spelling when writing?
- Have difficulty recalling stories and jokes?
- Take a long time to complete tasks?
- Have difficulty doing two things at once?
- Often ask to have things repeated?
- Have difficulty organizing activities?
- Become easily distracted?
- Use slow, deliberate speech?
Recognizing risk factors at any age
If your child is too young to discern whether the above general symptoms apply, look for the following age-related risk factors:
Pre-K or Kindergarten
- Recognizing rhymes
- Remembering names of friends, peers, etc.
- With normal language development
- Recognizing some letter shapes
End of First Grade
- Learning the alphabet and corresponding letter sounds
- Applying "phonics" to reading and spelling
- Spelling common sight words
- Retelling stories in sequence and making predictions
- Reading aloud with some fluency and comprehension
End of Second Grade
- Recalling facts and details
- Using phonics to sound out words including multi-syllable words
- Correctly spelling previously studied and commonly seen words