Cooking Lesson

What to Do if You Think Your Child Has a Learning Disability​

*Educate Yourself 

*Meet with Your Child’s Teacher 

*Request a Formal Evaluation 

*Develop Strategies for Success 

Parents can be the first line in determining if a child may have a learning disability. The good 

news about learning disabilities and differences is that scientists and doctors are forging a greater 

understanding of them every day. So what should a parent do when they see their child 

struggling and aren’t sure of the reason why?​

1) Educate Yourself 

Learning differences come in all shapes and sizes. A child can struggle with reading, writing, 

mathematics or have trouble with abstract concepts. Children can have difficulties processing 

visual or auditory information. When parents see their child struggling with schoolwork, it is 

important to find out about the different types of learning disabilities and how each one can 

impact a child’s learning.​

Although there are a number of different learning disabilities, all with different characteristics, 

there are some common signs. Parents should review not only the general signs of learning 

disabilities, but should read information on specific learning disabilities.  

2) Meet with Your Child’s Teacher 

Set up a time to meet with your child’s teacher. Teachers can provide a great deal of information 

on how a child is doing in school since they have the opportunity to observe them in a number of 

different situations. They can offer insight on the quality of a child’s work. There is often a 

difference between how a child performs in class and how they perform on their homework. 

Homework can be completed without time limits while class work must be completed within 

time limits. Comparing and viewing work completed under both these situations can offer 

additional clues into difficulties a child may be having.​


Teachers can also institute strategies to help in the classroom based on specific problems as well 

as come up with ideas for parents to help children at home. While teachers can provide 

information on how your child is doing in school compared to other students, they are not 

empowered to officially diagnose learning disabilities.​

3) Request a Formal Evaluation​

A parent has the right to request an evaluation of their child for learning disabilities. This request 

must be in writing and should be directed to the principal of the school. (If your child is in a 

private school, you are still eligible for an evaluation to be completed by the school your child 

would attend if he or she attended a public school).​

School Evaluations​

A request for an evaluation should include: 

*Your child’s name, age and grade 

*Your specific request (such as “I am requesting the school district evaluate my child for 

learning disabilities.”) 

*Why you are requesting an evaluation 

*Examples of your child’s work 

*Any additional information you believe would be helpful 

Once the school receives your request for an evaluation, the school is required to respond and let 

the parent know if they believe an evaluation is warranted. If an evaluation is deemed necessary, 

special education professionals will complete it. If an evaluation is not considered to be 

necessary, you will receive information regarding the reasons for the denial, as well as 

information on how to appeal the decision. If you are denied, you can have a private evaluation, 

though it most cases there is no guarantee that a school will provide special educational help to a 

child based on the results of a private evaluation.​

4) Develop Strategies for Success 

Based on specific areas in which a child is struggling, parents can work together with teachers to 

help develop strategies to support a child’s success. Many teachers are willing to make 

modifications and accommodations in the classroom, even before an evaluation is completed.   

Some strategies in the classroom can include: 

*Giving oral tests rather than written 

*Providing a word list to help with spelling 

*Providing extra assistance in reading or math 

*Allowing extra time to complete class work or tests 

*Allowing every other problem to be completed for homework 

Parents can help children at home by: 

*Complimenting children on effort 

*Helping to develop the child’s strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses 

*Providing reading or math tutors if necessary 

*Providing help with homework on a daily basis 

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