Every parent wants his or her child to be successful and they can all see that one key to that success is doing well in school.  That is why many parents panic when they hear or read the phrase “learning disability.”  Although it may seem that the diagnosis of learning disabilities is becoming more and more prevalent, the reality is that the disabilities have always been there, parents and educators are now becoming more aware of what is going on with their children and students and finding these problems early on.  If you suspect that your child has a disability, then the key is to talk with his or her teacher or pediatrician to set up professional testing as soon as possible.  So just what should you look for to determine if your child may have a disability?  Here are a few of the most common warning signs.Learning Disabilities

  • First, a parent should be wary of early childhood developmental milestones.  If your child fails to consistently reach these milestones, then there may be a neurological cause for this that should be investigated.  Such milestones can include standing, walking, talking, or forming more and more complex sentences.  If your child is a little behind, then you shouldn’t panic.  But consistent issues in these areas should be brought to the attention of a professional and investigated.
  • Another issue that parents should consider is risk factors for learning disabilities.  If you or your spouse has a learning disability, then there is a chance that your child may development one as well.  Other risk factors include pre-natal alcohol or drug use or difficulties during the delivery that may have caused a cut off in the air supply to your child.  Finally, another risk factor could be any traumatic brain injury that your child may have suffered since birth.
  • Once your child is enrolled in school, if he or she has difficulties, then you should schedule a conference with the teacher to find the cause of the problem as soon as possible.  If it is a simple fix like failure to do homework, then you can handle this immediately.  If your child is bored in school, you may wish to look at doing what you can at home to spice things up like using online games as a supplement to their daily instruction.  But if your child has a larger issue like not reading on grade level or not understanding what they read, then you may need to have him or her tested for a disability.

A learning disability is not the educational equivalent to the end of the world.  If your child has one, then there are many resources available to help them adapt their learning style in the classroom.  Also, teachers today are more aware of learning disabilities and will put something called a 504 plan into place that can help them with extended testing time or other accommodations.  But, learning to deal with the situation is one of the most important first steps that you and your child need to handle after the initial diagnosis.