Today's parents have it tougher than ever before. In addition to competing with traditional counterparts like friends and social schedules, today's parents must also compete with cell phones, the Internet, video games, and the host of other distractions at a child's disposal.
While this can be less of a problem during down times like summer vacation, for parents of the millions of school children suffering from learning disabilities, the school year can prove a true test of parental patience. Unfortunately, the number of children with learning disabilities remains alarmingly high. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), at least 17 to 20 percent of children have a significant reading disability. What's more, a signficant number of children from all social classes, races and ethnic groups have difficulties learning to read, proving that it's more than just non-native speakers of English who are suffering from reading disabilities.
What's arguably most alarming about such statistics is the connection between reading and all courses of study. A child's ability to read influences every facet of his or her education. Fortunately, there are steps parents of children with learning disabilities can take to help their child become a better student.
* Do your own homework. While it can be tempting to place the emphasis on a child's homework, parents of children with learning disabilities also have their own homework to do. When a child is diagnosed with a learning disability, parents should do the best they can to learn all about that disability, including which cognitive abilities are most affected and how exactly the disability makes it harder for a child to learn. Once a parent gets a better grasp of the disability, it can be easier to help a child understand his or her work in a way he or she won't find difficult.
Parental homework also makes for a more-informed parent when it comes to discussing treatments and services. Similar to patient learning all he can about an injury or illness in the hopes of being better prepared when it comes time to visit a physician, a parent who truly grasps the ins and outs of a child's learning disability can make more well-informed decisions about a course of treatment.
* Employ diet and exercise. A healthy diet and regular exercise is good for everyone, and has proven especially beneficial to children with learning disabilities. Learning involves both the body and brain, and a healthier body can help improve focus that aides in a child's learning process.
When tailoring a diet for children, be sure a child eats a healthy breakfast, and don't forget to include whole grains, fruits and vegetables in daily meals.
Equally as important to diet is a child's sleep patterns and exercise habits. A child who isn't getting enough sleep will end up being tired during the day, negatively affecting the child's abilitiy to learn as a result. In addition, regular exercise helps increase alertness while providing the added benefit of helping to reduce any stress that may be a result of the child's learning disability.
* Use what's at your disposal. While kids have plenty of distractions, many of those distractions can also be used to make it easier for a child to learn. For instance, computers today can be used for more than just surfing the Web and chatting with friends. Parents can install programs that help kids learn and even employ social networking sites to their advantage, setting up study groups with other kids and even teachers if need be.