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Get Help With Specific Learning Disorder

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Specific learning disorder is a developmental disorder that begins by school-age, although it may not be recognized until later. It involves ongoing problems learning key academic skills, including reading, writing and math.

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

  • Jun 21, 2017
Relax, Take a Deep Breath

Most of us have probably heard, or made the suggestion to someone, to “relax, take a deep breath” as a way to help calm down and reduce stress or anxiety. Breathing techniques have long been used as part of traditional stress reduction practices and their use is supported by much research. Practices involving consciously controlling and focusing on your breathing can be powerful tools for relaxation, stress reduction and mental health.

  • Jun 05, 2017
Parental Involvement in Therapy Key to Helping Children with Disruptive Behavior Disorders

Most children are disruptive or defiant at times, but disruptive and conduct disorders involve more severe problems that last longer than normal occasional acting out behavior. New research identifies specific parent training as the most effective way to help children with these disorders.

  • May 11, 2017
Mental Health Month and Prevention Week: Focus on Teen Behaviors and Warning Signs

May is Mental Health Month, and the third week in May is National Prevention Week, an annual health observance focused on raising awareness about the importance of substance use prevention and positive mental health. You can join online to view the live kickoff event for National Prevention Week on May 15, at 11:00 a.m. EDT.

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Additude: Attention Deficit and Learning Disabilities

My daughter (4th grade) struggles with reading. I am concerned she may have a learning disorder. Her teacher tells me not to worry about it. Where do I go to find out if she has a problem that can be addressed?

Learning disorders are present when a significant difference exists between a student’s intelligence and her academic performance. The best way to determine the presence of a learning disorder is to have your child undergo academic testing. (Also be sure to rule out any problems with vision.) Your school district can arrange for testing but children must meet certain criteria. Some parents seek evaluation by psychologists or other educational specialists in the community. I would suggest that you pursue having academic testing to get a clear answer for your concerns. Read More

After several years of struggling in math, my son has been diagnosed as having a learning disability in math. Now what? What type of special services will help him? How can I help him and be sure he is getting the help he needs at school?

Federal law mandates that students who have learning disabilities receive assistance in the public schools. Special services include extended time for tests and projects, which can benefit a student with a learning disability. Individual time with a teacher to help your son with learning in math is often added in school settings. Some schools will provide before and after school tutoring times as well. As a parent, you can help your son by staying in close communication with his teacher to see how he is making progress. You can check in daily with your son to hear his perceptions as to how he is learning. Many communities have tutoring programs in which your child can have additional learning opportunities during his summer break to strengthen his math skills. Get information about and take advantage of the resources in both your school system and your community to help your child. Read More

As an adult, I think I may have had a learning disability in reading – is there somewhere I can go to get tested (just for my own understanding)? And if so, is there anything I can do at this point to make reading easier for me?

The best way to get a clear understanding of your ability in reading as an adult is to have educational testing. A psychologist or educational diagnostician can provide an assessment and clarify whether you have a learning disability in reading. And yes, there are things you can do to improve your proficiency in reading. Having an understanding of the specific difficulties you may have in reading can assist your evaluator in giving you recommendations of ways in which you can improve your reading skills. Read More

atkisson-expert

About the Expert:

Debra Atkisson, M.D.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Benbrook, Texas

Gina's Story

35-yo-Male.jpg

Gina was 12 years old and finishing 6th grade. Her grades had been straight As in all her classes until 5th grade. Then she began struggling with reading and writing assignments and her grades dropped to Bs. In 6th grade her grades declined further to Cs. Her mother had been working with her at home and had noted that Gina was taking much longer to finish her reading assignments. Read More

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MAY 19, 2017

State of Learning Disabilities” Report Shows Lingering Disparity in Academic Performance

ADDitude

Children with learning disabilities struggle in school more than their peers, says the annual report by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, which also outlines concrete strategies for parents, educators, and lawmakers. Approximately 40 percent of children in special education have been diagnosed with a specific learning disorder, the report said.

MAY 30, 2017

Dealing With Dyslexia, Starting With One Family's Battle

WBUR

Most schools in Massachusetts don't screen for dyslexia, even though experts say diagnosing the learning disability early is the key to successful interventions. Instead, many districts wait until a child shows obvious signs of trouble reading or writing. Some advocates say by then, it's too late.

MAY 3, 2017

Diplomas Remain Elusive For Many With Disabilities

Disability Scoop

Graduation rates for students with disabilities remain far behind their typically-developing peers, with a new report finding that in some states fewer than half of those in special education earn a diploma.