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10 Steps for Parents: If Your Child Has a Learning Disability

By: Colorín Colorado (2008)

If your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability, there are many things you can do to support him. Here are 10 ideas to get you started!

What you can do

1. Learn as much as you can about your child's disability

The more you know about your child's, the more you can help your child. Start with your school and your child's teacher, and continue your research on the web and with other professionals.

2. Learn about your rights

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) may also allow you to get certain services for your child from your school district. Your child might qualify to receive help from a specialist, or she might qualify to receive materials designed to match her needs. You can learn about your special education rights and responsibilities by requesting that the school give you — in your first language — a summary of legal rights.1

3. Establish a positive working relationship with your child's teacher and school personnel

Through regular communication, exchange information about your child's progress at home and at school. Meet with teachers and counselors, and help develop an educational plan to address your child's needs. Plan what accommodations your child needs.2 Ask for an interpreter if needed.

4. Ask your child's teacher about ways that you can support your child's learning at home

This may include homework help, establishing schedules and routines, or practicing certain skills together.

5. Encourage your child's strengths and interests, and praise her when she does well

Many children with learning disabilities excel in other areas. Encourage your child to pursue the activities she enjoys, and give her opportunities to do so.

6. Remember that you are not alone

There are many experienced people and groups that you can help you and your family. Take a look at LD OnLine for a list of national organizations that can offer assistance.

7. Talk to other parents whose children have learning disabilities

Parents can share practical advice and emotional support. Call NICHCY (1.800.695.0285) and ask how to find parent groups near you. Also let us put you in touch with the parent training and information (PTI) center in your state.3

8. Be patient with your child

Sometimes children with LD are blamed for not trying hard enough or being lazy, when in fact their learning disability is not something they can control and they are working very hard. A learning disability is nobody's fault, and getting the right kind of support can make a very positive difference for your child.

9. Pay attention to your child's mental health (and your own!)

Be open to counseling, which can help your child deal with frustration, feel better about himself or herself, and learn more about social skills.4

10. Remember that children with learning disabilities can overcome their LD and be successful at school and professionally as adults

Many people with LD have gone on to successful academic and professional careers. Getting support for your child early on will go a long way in helping her manage her learning disability, meet her goals, and achieve her potential.


Click the "References" link above to hide these references.

This information has been adapted from the following sources:
LDOnline. "Learning Disabilities: An Overview." 2008.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY). Disability Fact Sheet #7. 2004.

The Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities. Taking the First Step: A Guide for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities.

U.S. Department of Education. Helping Your Child Become a Reader: If You Think There's a Problem. First published in September 2000.
Revised 2002 and 2005.



Click the "Endnotes" link above to hide these endnotes.

1Excerpt from Helping Your Child Become a Reader: If You Think There's a Problem. 2005.

2Excerpt from NICHCY Disability Fact Sheet #7. 2004.

3 NICHCY. 2004.

4 NICHCY. 2004.

Comments and Recommendations

Informative post with detailed helpful tips. As learning disability is one of the most considerable issues in children, it needs to be treated well at this age itself. But being a sensible issue, parents need to be act accordingly.
Posted by: John  |  August 11, 2010 08:52 AM
(Note: Comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for their content.)

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