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Ten Quick Q&A about Learning Disabilities

1. What do I do if I think my child has a learning disability?
Contact your child's teacher and the director of special education and request an evaluation.

2. What causes a learning disability?
There are many factors, such as central nervous system disorders and genetic factors, that have been suggested as causes of a learning disability, but no one cause has been determined.

3. Do children outgrow a learning disability?
No. However, with the right treatment they can learn strategies to compensate for their disability.

4. Do all children with learning disabilities have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)?
No. About one-third of all children classified as learning disabled also have ADD.

5. Is one reading approach more effective for students with learning disabilities?
To date there is not enough research to suggest one approach is better than another. The most effective approach is one that teaches with a focus on the students' strengths while remediating the weakness.

6. Should students with learning disabilities be educated in the regular classroom?
Most students with learning disabilities are educated in regular classrooms with support (usually the resource room). However, the individual needs of the student must be considered when making a decision about class placement.

7. Are students with learning disabilities classified as special education students?
Yes. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), students who are eligible for classification as learning disabled are considered special education students.

8. Does the label "learning disabled" stay on students' school records?
Upon completion of high school, or at age 21, all information related to the disability is removed. All that remains are name, address, phone number, and a listing of courses taken.

9. Can students with learning disabilities go to college?
Yes. In fact there are hundreds of colleges throughout the United States that have programs specifically for students with learning disabilities.

10. How many students are classified as learning disabled?
While it may appear to be a very popular classification, only about 3 to 5 percent of school-aged children are classified as learning disabled.

Reprinted with permission from Keys to Parenting a Child with a Learning Disability by Barry E. McNamara, Ed. D. and Francine J. McNamara, M.S.W., C.S.W. ©1995 by Barron's Educational Series.

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