In my experience, if the school has not raised the issue of learning difficulties, most parents have a ‘gut feeling’ when there is something not quite right. In fact I have had many parents come to me when the school has said that everything is fine, but they know that their child is struggling. Mostly the alarm bells go off when there is a change in the child’s attitude to school or their happiness, but sometimes it is when the parents sit down to help their child, that they learn that they have fallen behind what is expected.
There are as many different learning difficulties as there are students, so it is hard to say which is the most common. Of course there are many students with attention difficulties, but there are just as many with different variations of processing problems, which means that they have trouble taking information in, trouble remembering, recalling, or retrieving it, or linking it to information already learnt. There are those who have difficulties with Literacy or Numeracy skills, or both, and those with medical issues that interfere with learning. Attention problems affect a large number of students of all ages, while others need their confidence boosted or need to be taught in a way that matches their learning style.
Parents need to offer emotional support, understanding and as much time and practical help as they can. The students whose parents are knowledgeable about what they are doing, what they need help with, and how everything is going, are the ones who perform better and are more likely to succeed. Every minute spent helping students with special needs, is reflected in the end product, regardless of how frustrating it is!. Parents can really make a big difference in helping their children to feel more worthy and more confident by offering praise without criticism.
by Newport Education Centre, Sydney
Author: Sim K