At The Grand River Academy, our smaller class sizes allow our teachers to more easily recognize classroom struggles and develop a learning strategy specifically suited for your child. In addition, the specialized staff at the Grand River Academy can work with your child in one-on-one sessions, helping students unlock their true potential and acquiring the educational tools they need for success in learning.
TYPES OF LEARNING DISABILITIES The first step towards identifying a learning disability in your child is to first research the different types of learning disabilities. Once you pinpoint your child’s problem areas, you can better pinpoint which tests to conduct to hone in on your child’s disability <strong>and</strong> how to best support the disability. Some of the most commonly found learning disabilities are dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia <strong>and</strong> ADHD. Dyslexia is the common name for a reading disability. Often characterized by spelling difficulties, word recognition <strong>and</strong> decoding the disability causes problems with reading skills <strong>and</strong> the growth of vocabulary in your child. Dyslexia is the most common of all the learning disabilities. The National Institute of <strong>Child</strong> <strong>and</strong> Human Development predicts that as many as 15 percent of Americans experience trouble with reading comprehension <strong>and</strong> writing. With much classroom activity based on both reading <strong>and</strong> writing 3 , dyslexia can severely affect your child’s progress in school. <strong>Child</strong>ren that demonstrate a difficulty in writing related to motor <strong>and</strong> information processing skills may be diagnosed with dysgraphia. Poor spelling, h<strong>and</strong>writing or ability to write down thoughts are some signs of dysgraphia. Students diagnosed with dysgraphia often need extra practice in learning the mechanical skills behind writing. While ADHD is not considered a learning disorder, it is often found in students with other learning disabilities. By not being able to stay focused to tasks, being overly restless <strong>and</strong> inattention are all signs of ADHD <strong>and</strong> can directly impact your child’s ability to learn. There are two main types of ADHD, being hyperactive-impulsive <strong>and</strong> inattentive. Hyperactive impulsive creates restlessness in students, causing them trouble with quiet activities <strong>and</strong> causing constant movement or fidgeting. Students experiencing inattentive ADHD can offer find themselves being slow to processing information <strong>and</strong> instructions along with poor listening <strong>and</strong> organization skills. Many of the symptoms of ADHD are caused by a breakdown of executive functions in the brain <strong>and</strong> language based issues.
LEARNING DISORDER SUPPORT With early recognition <strong>and</strong> intervention, many students who suffer from a learning disorder can be directed towards the support they need for academic success. Gathering <strong>and</strong> collection information on your child’s progress in school is the first step to monitoring a learning disorder. Often times, a school will work with you to help you discover the problem. Regardless of the disorder, encouragement <strong>and</strong> positive reinforcement can give your struggling child a sense of self-worth. Many schools are required by law to develop <strong>and</strong> Individualized Education Plan. While these plans provide educational benefits, improved achievement is not guaranteed. When communicating with your child’s school, it is important to be clear <strong>and</strong> confident in how the school treats your child. REMEMBER TO: • Clarify your goals • Allow the school to explain their opinions <strong>and</strong> suggestions. • Offer <strong>and</strong> research alternative solutions • Remain focused on your child, remembering each child has different areas of disability. • Don’t give up <strong>and</strong> remember the school is on your side. Public schools have a lawful obligation to evaluate all possible learning disabled students, but they are not forced to follow through on parent requests. If a school suggests increased academic intervention while refusing to further evaluate a student for a possible learning disorder, be certain to ask for a written explanation <strong>and</strong> keep all pieces as documentation of the process. Keeping a close, personal connection with the special education staff of your child’s school allows you to better advocate for your child’s learning needs. Occasionally, a public school will provide tuition assistance for students with learning disabilities seeking out the improved special education facilities of a private boarding school.