What to do Next
What should you do when your child -- or you -- experience difficulties that may be caused by a learning disability? Often parents who notice their young child struggling in school decide to wait with the hope that he or she will "grow out of it." However, research shows that growth and development are most rapid in the early years of life. The earlier problems are identified and addressed, the greater the chance of eliminating them. Don't wait!For specific information about how to address your child's -- or your -- needs, click on the appropriate link below:
Birth to Age 3
Because you know your child so well, you might notice that he or she is growing or developing differently than a cousin, brother or sister at that age. What you are noticing are changes in different developmental areas. The five primary developmental areas are:
- Ability to move, see, and hear - physical development
- Ability to talk, express needs - language and speech development
- Ability to relate to others - social and emotional development
- Ability to eat, dress, and take care of themselves - self help (or adaptive development)
- Ability to think and learn - cognitive development
Ages 3 to 21
Research tells us that a collaborative approach to family involvement improves outcomes for children. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) *PDF requires that schools include family participation in the education activities of their children. Parents are the voice of their children. Parents need to be empowered to advocate on their children's behalf under the state and federal guidelines. These state and federal guidelines apply to all children with disabilities ages 3-21. If your child has never been referred, been evaluated or received services then the first place to start is with the referral process.
Many adult with learning disabilities and attentional concerns struggle as they leave the K-12 "entitlement" arena and enter the adult service "eligibility" world. Not only does the location change, but their role changes significantly from one of passive participant to one of active leadership. For some, this will be the first time that they will independently self disclose and self advocate for what they need. It is critical for the success of the adult regardless of the setting that he/she be able to articulate how they learn best the nature of his/her disability and the types of accommodations, supports and help that he/she will require to be successful.