Q&A: My daughter’s teacher says she may have a learning disability. What does this mean and what can I do?

If your daughter is struggling in school, it can feel frustrating and confusing. Not only does the idea of a “learning disability” sound intimidating, but it can also feel as though you don’t know where to turn for help. I often explain to parents that there is no “one way” or “best way” to learn. There are many ways and styles of learning. The key is to figure out the ways in which your daughter learns, what her strengths in learning are, and how you can use those strengths to her advantage. If, for example, she better learns by hearing information than by reading it, it will be important to provide her with auditory information in addition to written information. Specifically, if your daughter is struggling with reading comprehension, and seems to do well with understanding auditory information, she may very well benefit from listening to books on tape while she reads along with the story. We all have strengths and challenges in learning. Helping your daughter figure out hers will not only benefit her current learning process, but will also help to set her up for success and provide her with the tools to advocate for her future learning needs. One way in which to do this is to complete a Comprehensive Individualized Assessment, sometimes referred to as a psycho-diagnostic assessment. This will provide insight into your daughter’s learning style. If necessary it will also provide you with information in regards to the types of accommodations she may need on in-class and standardized tests. While it can be intimidating and overwhelming to wonder if your daughter has a learning disability, by better understanding her learning style she may feel more empowered to achieve her goals, and as parents you will be better able to help her along the way.

Response by Assessment Specialist at the Institute

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