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Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic!

​​​Learning disabilities?
Math difficulties?
Reading disorders?
Writing; comprehension; processing problems?

You suspect that your bright child, who is struggling in his classes, may have a learning disability. So what do you do now?
Here are some tips about what to do next.

First: Remember that disabilities fall on a spectrum, from mild to moderate to severe to profound. The issues your child is experiencing may look completely different from your cousin's child, and yet they may still be having the same issues, but in different degrees—or with different symptoms. Since each child is an individual, there is no way to predict how a deficit will affect them. So, it's time for you, as a parent, to take the reins and drive this runaway carriage! No one else can do it for you; no one else cares for your child as you do.

You must determine to learn everything possible about your child's condition. Just the same as if he had a peanut allergy, you would need to know not just what to eat, but what to watch out for, because some food allergies are 'hidden,' and the label does not help you out. Parents are the very best researchers for their children, because they do not back down until they find out everything. See the link near the bottom of this page for 'Resources' for some good starting points. But finish this page first. 

Second: Find your child's strengths. Your child may HAVE a learning disability, but that is not the definition of WHO your child is. It is very easy to get caught up in the things your child cannot do; the things he needs help with; and the things in which he fails. BUT your child still has many wonderful gifts and talents, and you must make certain these do not get lost. These are the things that will keep you and him going strong when the going gets tough. Make sure both of you KNOW what his strengths and talents are, then build and promote those, even while he struggles to manage his deficits. Do your best to foster and build winning attitudes, which can defeat many hurdles you both will face, in the classroom and out of it. 

Third: I
t will be important to find and consider ALL your options. Even if you do not yet have an official diagnosis, as you learn about your child's symptoms, you will start to see why 'this' may work, and 'that' will not. Or the environment may be hostile; some schools have a very difficult time acknowledging an 'invisible' disability, such as dyscalculia or dyslexia: they are completely convinced that your child is lazy, stupid, and/or looking for excuses, and they will tell him so. This can be devastating to a child who is already working 2-3 times harder than the other kids in the class. Many parents have been forced to take their child out of a particular school and find other ways to help him learn. While this is very sad (and possibly illegal), it continues to happen nonetheless. And so there is a decision: do we stay here and fight for accommodations and understanding, or do we homeschool, or do we find a way to go to a private or specialized school? Do we find a trained coach or tutors, go on medication, go to the educational therapist, or try online schooling? There are many options that must be considered for the welfare of your child. Some are expensive, but some can be worked around. It depends on your child's weaknesses, strengths, and needs.

Fourth: Get support and advocate. Advocacy just means you have educated yourself enough to be able to state what your child needs, and why, and why it is reasonable for the school to meet his needs. But it won't be easy. Even with the (very good) laws we currently have in place, you will still need to insist that those laws be followed. That's why you will also need a good support group. Even if it is online or through email or on Facebook, a support group is invaluable. Many parents are surprised to find strong support in their own extended families (Johnny can't read? I couldn't read either!). Look for an advocacy group such as Decoding Dyslexia (for dyslexia), which has chapters in every state. Even if you choose not to advocate publicly, you will need to advocate locally for the benefit of your own child. He can also be taught to self-advocate to secure necessary services in the classroom, but he will most likely learn from your example. 

Learn how to Find Your Child's Strengths here.

Learn how to Build Winning Attitudes here.

Whatever else you do, DON'T WAIT;
get tips about IEPs and 504s here.

What's the big deal about Advocacy? Here.

Guard your Child's Emotional Wellness, here.

Develop your Child's Social Abilities, here.

And finally, find Recommended Resources here.


The content of these pages is for informational purposes only. I do not give advice or make diagnoses, nor do I guarantee results from anything posted here—although I am convinced, through my extensive personal research and six-plus-decades of experience, that the things I write are valid and deserve serious consideration. I hope you enjoy. All content is copywrited; however, you are free to share on social media, as long as you credit me, Cathie Ochoa, or the original author, and link back to the page from which you are sharing.

I can be contacted by clicking on the link below and sending me an email: [email protected] ​​

To view a multi-slide PowerPoint Presentation with details regarding each of these issues, please visit ​ here.