Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Ok, I need some feedback. I don't normally do this, but this may be a good avenue for me.

I need some advice on how to deal with a child with learning disabilities. We've never had Michael officially tested but, I don't think it takes a genius to figure out that a child has a consistently difficult time in school. Besides, the phrase in the paper work that said something like "If school district makes a recommendation for child's education and parent turns it down, school district may take parent to court" made us a bit nervous.

Anyway, let me give you an idea of what kind of things we're dealing with in Michael.

Our son seems to have a difficult time concentrating. We try to minimize the distractions, but he could honestly get sidetracked by a piece of lint on his shirt. (Hmm, maybe that's not so much a learning problem as it is genetics. I get distracted pretty easily, too. Did I ever tell you about the time...oh, sorry) We don't excuse his distractability. If he chooses to do his own thing, it just takes him that much longer to get his work done and he forfeits quite a bit of free time.

Understanding instruction is difficult for him. His short term memory is not good at all, though his long term memory is remarkable. We can explain something to him, he gets it, and a few minutes later he has no idea what to do.

Michael seems to skip words while he is reading and his comprehension during silent reading is something we're working on. I have definitely noticed that he does much better if he reads everything aloud, but is that practical for real life.

He also does not seem to test well. Many times, we know he's retaining the information - we can tell by his conversation - yet, his test scores don't show it.

There are definitely times when our son just slacks off. But, there are times when, even though he's working as diligently as possible, he struggles. I get frustrated, which doesn't help him at all.

One of the things I question is - am I pushing him too hard? If he is struggling with a couple of subjects, do I lighten his daily load? My thought is that when he hits the "real world" that won't be the case. He'll be expected to meet the standard to which everyone else is held. But, when the tears are coming and he's so frustrated with himself, I wonder if I'm too hard on him.

SO - those of you who have has a learning disability yourself or have taught children with learning challenges or have even KNOWN someone to go through this, PLEASE give me some ideas on how to help our son. Truth be told, we've thought of putting him in school, but then he'd just get lost in the shuffle. We honestly don't think that is the answer, but if you have insight saying otherwise, feel free.

If you don't want to publicly comment, use my e-mail (it's in the profile section).

If nothing else, please pray for us. We could use it. And, just so you know, we're praying for many of you homeschoolers, too. We all have our challenges.

Sorry for taking advantage of you all - we'll be back to more interesting posts tomorrow. I hope.


elianna said...

Don't have a lot of wisdom for you here...I do know that most kids i've seen go thru a stage where they get distracted SOOO easily (that was me!!!!). Reading comprehension was something i never really did well in either-ok, something i never tested well in. I'll be praying for you & Mike & wisdom for all of you...hang in there! :)

Dave said...

Well, I can explain as best as I can through my eyes, but it still isn't the same thing. I do think you need to get him tested, independently from the school district if that concerns you.

Most folks with learning disabilities that I know have visual, or auditory disabilities. There is probably more out there that I don't know of too.

Mine is visual. For argument's sake assume he does too.

Reading aloud helped me. Hearing makes a huge difference. I did much better in my Master's degree and I believe that was a result of the seminar nature (i.e. discussion format). I wasn't even interested in the subjects either...go figure.

To this day I don't read much, except for my Bible, and apparently blogs now too:) When I read, sounds distract me really easy. It's probably cause I rely on hearing or touching to learn due to a visual disability. Sometimes a ticking clock bother's me. Sometimes it's people moving around...but then again, people bother me anyway....hehe

Typing is a skill that helped me. I was able to afford a laptop to type on in class during my last semester of my undergrad.....big GPA difference. I typed what the professors were saying, and at the end of class, I had blocks of information that actually meant something. I never read much of what I typed, but I knew what I was supposed to know cause my hands were going as I listened. Kind of hard to explain....

Repetition will be a big player in his learning, he'll probably find out that if he repeats what he is doing a few times more, it'll get through to him.

Also, try to teach from Macro to micro, instead of micro to macro......If you show him the big picture first, and then break it down it's work much better. From what you tell me about his interest in the Civil War, it kind of fits....he probably can tell you the dates of the Civil War, and then he can probably break it down from there to say....fort sumter......sheridan's march....etc.

He'll also want to memorize. I did too, but one thing I learned, is that memorization is not necessarily learning. Although it is useful.

All of these things are an issue for me still today...but not to as much of an extent...mostly because I am allowed to learn by experience now more than classroom.

One strength I seem to have as a result of visual learning difficulties was learning to play music by ear....and I also pick up foreign languages fairly easily too....

Lisa said...

Just wanted you to know I'll be praying the Lord leads you in a direction that helps you and Michael enjoy schooling! :-)

heather said...

Dave's comments were great! Just to add a few comments myself would be...Could you contact a group like hslda to find out if they know of a resource to "test" Michael first before you go to the school district? Maybe they could steer you toward some advice about teaching styles, maybe curriculum that is written for children with this kind of difficulty, and so on. There is so much out there now that wasn't when we were Michael's age that I am sure will be able to help. I pray that you find some answers and help soon because I know how frustration can be exhausting and stressful on your relationship. I will pray for you & your family more. Keep us posted on how things go & what you find out. "This too shall pass..." :o)