A Learning Disability: What do I do now?

Written by: Dr. John Carosso
Okay, so your child has been found to have a learning disability. The big question now is, what do you do about it?  It seems like you’re doing all the right things; an IEP is being developed at school, you have a tutor, and you spend extra time reading to your child and reviewing phonics. All those interventions are appropriate and can be quite effective. Of course, there is a host of other things to consider for remediation, and I’ll cover those things in my next post. However, the most important thing to consider is what do you do, in that interim, between implementing these interventions and your child actually demonstrating progress? Is it realistic that your child can be expected to read two chapters and write a two page essay? Well, for some children with learning disabilities it is, but for most it’s not. When discussing issues of dyslexia and dysgraphia with parents, I make the point that what’s important is that their child demonstrates that specific facts have been learned; how that is demonstrated can be inconsequential.

So, I suggest using any number of modifications including books on tape, a parent reading the chapter to their child, a scribe, dictation software, oral responses, learning to type, and any number of other legitimate interventions that help the child to learn, and demonstrate what they’ve learned on tests and in the classroom. It’s important to think outside the box.

It’s vital your child learns these strategies because they may rely on them for the rest of their life; which is fine. It may be that your child is never a strong reader or writer; however, there are plenty of ways to compensate so that he or she can function just fine in society.

Of course, we’re not going to give-up on improving reading and writing skills, but we have to be realistic when considering strengths and weaknesses.

Hope that helps. God Bless. Feel free to leave a comment or question below:)

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Dr. John Carosso

Dr. Carosso has more than 30 years of experience as a licensed Child Clinical Psychologist and Certified School Psychologist working in private, inpatient, outpatient, residential, school, and home settings. He is Clinical Director of Community Psychiatric Centers (cpcwecare.com), a licensed Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, and operates both the Autism Center of Pittsburgh (autismcenterofpittsburgh.com) and the Dyslexia Diagnostic and Treatment Center (dyslexiatreaters.com).