How Parents Can Help Students With Learning Disabilities
Research shows that the level of parent involvement in a child's education is strongly related to the degree of success in school (Henderson & Berla, 1994). "Families play a vital role in educating children. What families do is more important to student success than whether they are rich or poor, whether parents have finished high school or not, or whether children are in elementary, junior high, or high school" (Robinson, in Paulu, 1995). The importance of family involvement in education led the U.S. Congress to add the following goal to the National Education Goals: "Every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children." The following are ways in which parents can help their children with mathematics learning disabilities (Sutton, 1998).
Set the Example
One of the most important ways parents can help a child in math is by exhibiting attitudes and values supportive of learning. "All children have two wonderful resources for learning—imagination and curiosity. As a parent, you can awaken your children to the joy of learning by encouraging their imagination and curiosity."
Accept the Struggle
Struggle is a normal part of doing math, just as you accept the struggle to become better in sports. Help uncover difficulties and offer suggestions for overcoming them.
Just as it is important to repeat fundamentals again and again in sports until performed automatically, it is important to see practice in mathematics as developing mastery, not a chore or form of punishment.
Look Beyond the Grade
Math grades are often calculated on percentages of correct answers on tests and assignments accumulated during a grading period, so they may not reflect understanding that has developed over the course of a grading period. Help focus on understanding and being able to identify specific difficulties.
Discover the Textbook
"Reading" math can be difficult, and math textbooks are often used as collections of assignments and homework problems. Help your child learn how to "read" the math textbook, see the underlying structure, and learn from the examples provided.
© ______ 2006, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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