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How to Advocate for a Child with Learning Disabilities

Learning Disabilities

Many children have certain learning disabilities which affect everything in their lives, from their math abilities to their reading comprehension. Caring for a child with a learning disability can be extremely rewarding, but requires a lot of hard work.

Being a parent, you know your child and understand him/her better than anyone. However, learning disabilities have certain qualities and the presentations of these qualities are unique and may vary with each individual. These disabilities affect your child’s brain’s ability to receive, analyze, process and retain any information. Also, as a parent, you may be sceptical about someone else helping your child even though they may specialise in providing learning disability support. However, in some rare cases, the child needs to be completely dependent on his/her family as failing to do so may result in additional stress.

Here are some tips on how parents can advocate for their child with a learning disorder.

  • Know the rules

All public schools have to abide by specific regulations and laws to offer special services to children with different learning disabilities. The eligibility criteria differ from province to province, but all schools must follow at least to a minimum standard. To know about your rights as a parent and about the laws in your state, you can contact your local school’s district office or the provincial Department of Education.

  • Maintain records

Parents must keep an organized file of their child’s educational records as well as assessment information. You can take notes during face-to-face and telephone meetings and ask for people’s contact names when communicating via email or over the phone. Additionally, keeping less formal models of your child’s academic progress, like his/her writings, artwork and homework papers, could be useful to establish patterns. It will also help you to document both, the challenges he/she faces and the abilities he/she has.

  • Gather information

Try and get your hands on articles and books, join a support group for parents, attend conferences or affiliate yourself with an organization located in your area. Make yourself familiar to different educational jargon and acronyms. Don’t refrain from asking professionals any questions you may have and never be afraid of asking for any type of clarification if their answers are too complicated and confuse you.

  • Communicate effectively

When you’re attending meetings, make sure you’re well prepared and know the specific outcomes that you want. Be calm, direct and clear while speaking and put whatever you can in writing. You must listen and take some time to think about relatable information. Consider when data or documentation might help and be sure to present it in a readable and orderly format. While persistence and assertiveness are vital, aggressiveness and anger could work against you and may damage important relationships.

  • Emphasize solutions

There may not be any miracle cures to learning disabilities, but, it’s important to lay emphasis on the positive and help identify different ways to improve your child’s experiences. Once you’ve identified and agreed upon appropriate programs, make every possible effort to follow it through.

Parents are habitually the greatest advocates for their children, particularly to those who have any form of learning disabilities. These tips can ensure that you become a strong champion for your child.