Whether your children will be in class, at home, or a mix of both this new school year, its likely you will be more involved in their learning than ever before; and those of us parenting kids with learning disabilities (LDs) might be feeling an extra level of concern.
After all, the reason IEPs (Individual Education Plans) exist is because our kids have atypical learning needs. In my daughter’s case, she has fewer milestones to hit and more resources and time to hit them. This might sound like it makes things easier but when you factor in the disabilities she and students like her have (such as dyslexia, working memory issues, processing deficits, dyscalculia and ADHD), teaching becomes a challenge that can easily frustrate and overwhelm parents like me.
In my experience, nothing can replace the expertise of a trained professional - someone who has the skills and experience our kids need. But if your access to these educators has disappeared or become limited, you can still find resources that will help you feel better about supporting your child’s learning. Here are a few:
Help for parents of kids with LDs, including links to blogs and books
Life success for students with Learning Disabilities: a Parent’s Guide
Parent resources for building math skills at home: video with transcript and free download from LD At Home
Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner: a book by Kathy Kuhl
Smart But Scattered: the Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential: a book by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare.
Online Learning Resources
12 websites for children with Learning Disabilities: reading and math
Personalized exercises to help students K-2 develop skills in phonics, word recognition and comprehension
Empower Reading: a series of reading intervention programs designed by SickKids Hospital
Four levels of expertly developed decodable books that motivate young learners and help them read and think about texts
A list of literacy apps for children with dyslexia, ADHD and autism spectrum disorder
A list of apps that address foundational skills, increase social, emotional and organizational skills
AAA Math, recommended for students with dyscalculia, removes the frustration associated with difficult concepts like division, ratios and graphing
Recommended by dyscalculia.org (an organization dedicated to the advancement, understanding and treatment of learning disabilities in math) this list of apps and tools can help students develop key skills.
Sample schedule and resources for elementary-level learners with ADHD
Virtual parent support group for children with ADHD (members only, memberships start at $10)
A 3-step plan to help your child develop useful study and organization habits
26 of the best ADHD homework strategies (free download)
There are few things harder than watching your child struggle, especially if you feel powerless to help them. So cut yourself some slack and remember: you didn’t go to teacher’s college and you’re not expected to know how to do this. We’re all just doing our best. Focus on relationships instead of routines and results and you’ll get through this.