What The Research Says
According to research conducted by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) in 2008, the prevalence for learning disabilities in the US is currently 7%. That is a sobering number for parents to consider, especially in light of what is at stake.
Learning disabilities are disorders that make acquiring knowledge difficult and result in lower academic performance in relation to others the same age.
While learning disabilities are neurologically based and cannot be cured, the impact of a learning disability can be minimized and in some cases eliminated altogether if appropriate interventions are provided very early in life.
What is important to understand is that learning disabilities do not have an impact on intelligence and with the right support and interventions, individuals with learning disabilities can go on and have successful careers and live fulfilled lives.
Early Identification Is Critical To Success
Unfortunately, learning disabilities are often not identified or may be identified later in life after precious time has passed by and crucial learning opportunities have been missed. The key to minimizing the impact of a learning disability is to identify it early and provide specialized interventions to remediate the learning disability while providing necessary accommodations in the classroom. Learning disabilities can also vary in severity, making early identification difficult if he child does not demonstrate enough of a performance gap between themselves and their peers.
The sad reality is that many individuals go through their entire school career or lives with an undiagnosed learning disability. These bright, intelligent, and capable individuals never receive the interventions they need to overcome or compensate for their learning disability and as a result suffer tremendous consequences both in school and later adult life.
If your child is underperforming in school, it is important to try and understand what exactly is resulting in their underperformance. It is easy to dismiss the poor grades to a lack of motivation or insufficient studying, and while that may be the case, there may be other more serious reasons at play.
Individuals will generally make an effort for only so long before repeated failure will have them asking themselves if putting forth more effort is worthwhile. Consider that an underperforming child that demonstrates an apparent lack of motivation to do well in school is doing so because they have made an effort in the past but their undiagnosed learning disability has made academic success an exercise in futility and they have thus given up.
What To Do
If you suspect your child is underperforming in school due to a learning disability, share your concerns with your child’s school or have your child assessed by a qualified psychologist.
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