LEARNING DISABILITIES

From the rising sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:3

Lord, am I fearfully and wonderfully created?

In working with many who have learning disabilities, when challenges arise, even though we know God makes no mistakes, we begin to doubt if we are really "perfectly created by God as it states in Psalm 139:14. Focus in on what is weak, and individuals with needs from very young to the very mature find themselves feeling alone, and different. The "key" to battle the mind is faith in knowing God speaks only Truth. He has fashioned all of us with strengths and weaknesses so that we can glory him in our strengths as well as our weaknesses. There is not one who God has fashioned without weakness, for we all "fall short of the glory of God." Unfortunately, we often focus on our weaknesses, which are even encouraged at times by our beloveds from a young age. Parents might say, "Let's not worry about that subject because you are doing great! We instead, need to work on where you need help." Although it sounds reasonable, even that, is not in balance. The apostle Paul learned to delight in his challenges and disabilities because they brought the blessings of God upon His life! (2 Corinthians 12:9) g

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Formal testing allows the public, private and county schools the ability to determine if their student qualifies for services provided at the school district, under state and federal law, but private testing allows for adults to determine if challenges in learning are severe enough for a recognized disability. But testing relies upon who tests, and interprets the combination of tests, or if their observations are accurate. Learning disability symptoms are not cleanly and easily categorized, and therefore accurate assessment is vital, and the results can be life transforming.

It is my professional opinion that if a parent or adult is seeking formal testing to determine if they or their child has any type of learning disabilities, should be done to allow information for those having challenges. Having accurate information will allow individuals to better navigate life and situations. We recommend early intervention. Waiting can prolong confusion over one's abilities, which can result in lower self image, withdrawal or anger or depression. Testing is recommended as follows:

1. Testing is done by a professional team of medical, educational, psychological and parental input are critical. Expertise in these areas are necessary to the child and adult to fully understand where their weaknesses lie and why. Medically, doctors understand the body, and health concerns that might be a contributing factor. Educationally, teachers and experts from the school have knowledge of curriculum, how teaching is administrated, and where your child is as compared to his every day output and peers. Input from parents and beloved close to the one being tested can add information from their roles and relationships, but also because family is aware of the dynamics that could be contributing to learning problems.

2. Testing should be done with cross-cultural understanding and standardization. Tests should be updated versions and provided as directed. Parents and adults must advocate and have every right to ask questions.

3. A quick test, might provide a quick result, but speed is not a factor for accuracy. Formal testing should be in an environment that is comfortable and not distracting. The length of the formal test, might need to be individualized to the attention, and focus of one's restlessness, and need of breaks.

4. Parents of young children might need to wait in the waiting room, and the first few times of testing might require "establishing rapport". For adults, because the adult is seeking testing, it might be helpful to share how long you feel you can attend without tiring, or if you have a need to take a break. Regardless, diagnostic formal assessments require the brain to rest, and testing should never occur in one sitting for many hours without rest, or a breaks. e

If formal tests are not available there are clues to informally discover your or your beloved's "strengths and weaknesses". It takes no credentials or formal training, but an honest narrative, from what you observe in your child or yourself. This should be dated and kept for documentation. On the chart below are some questions that can bring greater insight to investigate what might be contributing to one's learning challenges, and to help informally make awareness for those involved in the testing process.

130 Accommodations for Specific Academic Subjects

WHEN TEACHING READING: Make reading aloud in class a voluntary activity. Provide opportunities for choral reading. Allow parents, aides, etc., to read lessons to students who have difficulty with decoding. Directly teach specific skills. (i.e. main ideas vs. details, inferences etc.) Investigate Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexics. (textbooks on tape) Build comprehension in reading

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