Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Plans for Children With Learning Disabilities

It's summer and the kids are out of school. If your child has a learning disability it's time for a much deserved break for their over-worked brain.

But don't let them slack too much. Most schools have a summer reading program with one or two books the kids are required to read over the break at home. Make sure your son or daughter reads a few pages every day so they aren't rushing to complete them the last week before school starts.

Reading will keep their brain "lubricated" and in shape throughout the summer. But what else can you do?

Exercise is great for the brain. Don't let them spend all day on the computer or playing video games. Make it mandatory that they get some form of exercise every day.

Find a learning disability center in your area and see if they offer a summer program. Many have programs that are for an hour or two each day. With the extra free time, this is a great time to work on the learning disability using a program that isn't offered at school.

Get a digital camera (still or video) and have them document their summer. It will exercise the brain but it won't seem like work. Kids pick these things up easily and it's great for creativity. At the end of the summer they can put it all together in a digital scrapbook or an edited video.

Most of all, enjoy your summer!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Understanding Learning Disabilities

To be successful with an IEP, it is extremely important to understand the nature of the learning disability in question to put in place appropriate accommodations and modifications as well as a focused plan.

Many disabilities are genetic so one of the parents may have an understanding of the difficulties their child is facing in school. But most of the time, one or both of the parents have no idea what it's like for their child to live with a learning disability. And for that matter, many of the teachers don't have a grasp either.

In 1989, Richard D. Lavoie held the F.A.T. City Workshop and produced a ground-breaking video, "How Difficult Can This Be," that simulates for parents, teachers, and specialists what it is like to live with a learning disability.

Every parent or teacher should be familiar with this video that takes Understanding Learning Disabilities to a level we can all appreciate.

More information about the video can be found here:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities are Always Searching for Easy IEP Help

Walking into your first IEP can be intimidating. The simple fact that your son or daughter is having difficulties with school is enough to make any parent lose sleep. But discovering that your child will need an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) can be very stressful.

Parents frequently have mixed emotions when they get the news that their child has a learning disorder.

Moms are usually upset and wonder what they can do to help. Dads on the other hand can sometimes be in denial and don’t believe their child has a problem. It’s not that dads don’t care about their children but they usually aren’t as close to their schoolwork or daily care to notice everything.

It’s important to realize that the if the child has some kind of learning challenge, any help that can be provided by the school is crucial.

Individualized Education Plans are often challenging for all parties involved and for countless reasons. So, how do you find a way to have an Easy IEP?

It’s important to prepare for the IEP. Parents should keep an open mind, offer as much information about the child as possible, and be willing to learn as much as possible about the learning disability.

Make sure you attend the meeting. There are plenty events at school that parents can't attend like sports, plays and other events because of time constraints, work, or conflicting schedules with siblings. An Individualized Education Program is usually a once a year occurrence that you MUST attend.

Be prepared to participate. It is important that the child's parents get involved in the IEP, both before and after the meeting. Continue to monitor the child's progress and follow up after the meeting to ensure goals are being met.

Be flexible. Even though your child will probably be in the regular classroom, some of the curriculum will be modified. This means that portions of the materials could be toned down from what the rest of the children will be working on or that part of the school day will be learning from resource teachers such as an Occupational Therapist.

Easy IEP Help is an effort to provide some suggestions and tools for parents involved in the IEP process.

After years of attending IEPs, the process gets easier. Sometimes they go well and other times not so well. Parents have sent so many emails with questions that it was easier to begin to blog about it. Which is what this is all about.