Home > School and Learning > Learning Differences > Special Education > Special Ed Not Helping Child with LD
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Special Ed Not Helping Child with LD

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Jerome J. Schultz, Ph.D.

Q: My eight-year-old daughter has LD and she's been receiving help for some time. I see very little progress. How can I tell if the teachers are doing all they can to help her? How long should she continue to be in the same class before it's too late to make changes? She spent two years in first grade because her teacher said that they wanted her to master the basic skills. She's not reading very well and her math is still the same (she doesn't know it).

A: I am assuming that testing was done to allow some professional to make the diagnosis of learning disabilities. This evaluation probably included, among other things, an IQ test. It is this part of the testing that helps determine whether or not your daughter has the intellectual capacity to learn basic skills (that is, if her intelligence is within or above the average range). Let's assume that's the case, since the diagnosis of learning disabilities usually suggests average to above intelligence. There are many types of learning disabilities (for example, problems with understanding or using spoken language or difficulties organizing and remembering information that is seen or heard). For that reason, your daughter's evaluation should have also identified the unique learning strengths and needs that characterize her learning disability. This analysis should have been used to generate specific teaching strategies that match your daughter's learning style. If you're not sure if these things were done, ask the school to show you evidence of each of these components.

If your little girl spent two years in first grade, teachers should have had plenty of time to find out if the techniques they are using are working. If your daughter were receiving medical treatment for some condition, and she wasn't getting better, you would expect the doctors to re-evaluate the treatment and consider changing it. Research suggests that the same reasoning should apply in special education. If your daughter has been exposed to some program of instruction and is not acquiring new skills, then the team must reconvene to determine what's wrong with the intervention. In too many programs, teachers use traditional methods of teaching which are not suited for students with learning disabilities. Or, if kids get extra help, it's simply not enough intervention to make a difference. Research also tells us that it's the intensity of the special help that counts. As is the case with medicine, too little may not help. A "little" special education simply doesn't do it for a lot of children. Make sure that your daughter is getting intensive, consistent help that is based on the analysis of her learning profile. The bottom line is that she should be making progress. Being in neutral is simply not acceptable. Don't settle for it.

More on: Expert Advice

Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is the founding clinical director of the Learning Lab @ Lesley University, a program that provides assessment, tutoring, and case management services for children with learning challenges. Schultz holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, and has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks