A few years ago, my oldest daughter resisted reading with every fiber of her being. She did everything, including misbehave, to get out of reading. Her dogged determination to avoid reading mystified me. One evening, I encouraged her to read the next word by telling her she’d already read it four times on the same page. Tears filled her eyes as she looked at me. “Mom,” she said, “I don’t see another word on this page that looks like this one.” I knew in that moment that our struggles stemmed not from stubbornness, but from language-based learning disabilities. My heart broke. I didn’t know how to help her.
Language-Based Learning Disabilities
It took many weeks, and countless phone calls, to get her tested for language-based learning disabilities by our local school district. She was only seven and they “don’t typically test for language-based learning disabilities until the middle of the second grade or age eight and a half.” I persisted, and they finally relented. Testing revealed a “double deficit learning disability” of dyslexia and dysgraphia. Additional evaluations revealed a visual tracking disorder and ADHD. She also struggles with executive function.
That said, we’ve come a LONG way in the three years that have passed since that tear filled night. She not only enjoys reading but also routinely requests to read aloud.
Recently, however, she also started struggling in math, which left me bewildered. I told my husband, “The struggles we’re having with math now are exactly like the struggles we had with reading three years ago!”
I am glad, then, to receive the opportunity to review Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities, a book by Daniel Franklin, PhD.
Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities
The book, Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities, comes from the unique perspective of someone who has a language-based learning disability.
Three Part Harmony
This book has three sections.
- Part 1 – An Overview of Language-Based Learning Difficulties – this section defines language-based learning disabilities, details signs that your student may be struggling, distinguishes the difference between a 504 and IEP, describes how to tailor a learning environment to your child’s needs, plus so much more.
- Part 2 – Succeeding at School – This section targets those who have children in a traditional school setting. However, much of the information is applicable to homeschool settings. There is a strong emphasis on cultivating relationship with your child, which applies to all parents.
Chapters within this part detail various learning disabilities and corresponding strategies to help your student, including:
- Dyslexia (Chapter 6)
- Dysgraphia (Chapter 7)
- Dyscalculia (Chapter 8)
- Information Processing and Memory (Chapter 9)
- Managing ADHD and Executive Function Deficits (Chapter 10)
I found the information and the strategies to be very helpful.
- Part 3 – Succeeding at Life – this section covers other areas of life that can affect learning, including social skills, nutrition, etc. It includes tips for talking with other parents, coaches, and youth group leaders about your child’s learning differences. It also addresses academic options after high school. We’re not there yet, but we’ll need that in a few years.
As a parent of a child with multiple learning disabilities, I have asked myself many questions. One that I ask frequently is, “Where is the line between helping and enabling?” I was really encouraged to see the author address this question and say, “Let me assure you that your child will naturally seek independence when he or she is ready if you have provided the scaffolding and modeling needed for him or her to develop skills and the confidence to try. When you work closely on schoolwork with your child, and when you provide that support in a positive way, you are being kind.”
Portions of this book aim to help parents navigate helping their child with learning disabilities succeed in a traditional school setting. That said, I think wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for any parent whose child struggles – irregardless of their schooling setting.
Dr. Franklin has a Master’s Degree in Reading, Language, and Learning Disabilities and a PhD in Education. He founded a Los Angeles- based company, Franklin Education Services, that provides support for students with various learning disabilities and he is a Board Certified Educational Therapist.
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