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Back to School for the Child with Learning Disabilities (page 2)

Back to School for the Child with Learning Disabilities

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Updated on Jun 6, 2013

Stay on top of your child’s paperwork.

Make sure the paperwork follows your child to the new school or new teacher. “Part of the initial communication with the teacher is just a reiteration of the child’s experiences and needs,” Meier says. For instance, if your child spent 45 minutes each day with a resource teacher, you should make sure the teacher is aware of this.

Bonnie Terry, an educational therapist based out of California, says that even if the paperwork did follow your child, the teacher might not have had time to read the Individualized Education Program (IEP). You should feel comfortable, Terry says, sharing this information with the teacher during that initial visit. “The home teacher does not necessarily know what kinds of accommodations they should be making for your child in the classroom,” Terry says.

Establish a relationship with the school’s support team.

It’s always a good idea to touch base with everyone on your child’s team. Depending on the age of your child and her specific needs, you may want to reach out to the school guidance counselor, the speech pathologist, or the special education teacher.

Terry says that the responsibility of arranging a meeting with the support team is most often left to the parents. If you want to ensure that everyone on the team is aware of your child’s strengths and weaknesses, give the school a call and set up a meeting.

Visit the school with your child.

Meier suggests that your preliminary school visit include extra attention to details. Help your child find her locker, for example, but also write the locker combination somewhere that isn’t very obvious. “This can help so it doesn’t look like your child is taking out a piece of paper,” Meier says. Or, help your child remember the name of her new teacher(s) with a mnemonic device.

Visit the classrooms, review the class schedule together, and go over what your child will need for each class. You can even practice walking the class routine for each day—particularly if the school has block scheduling.

Create an appropriate space for homework.

This is particularly important for the child with LD. “Think through the physical space and what we know to be the routine around homework,” Horowitz says. “A fair number of children with LD have difficulty with organization,” and the space and supplies for homework can make all the difference. It might even be something as simple as giving your child a pencil sharpener or his own colored pencils, Horowitz says.

Terry suggests color coding children’s folders and supplies for each subject. A red folder for math, blue for science, etc. Take your child shopping with you and let him pick out his own supplies. Likewise, involve him in planning the physical space for homework. Maybe he thinks it should be in the kitchen because he’ll need your help. If so, Terry suggests you keep a basket of school supplies handy in the kitchen.

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