A Valuable Resource for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities

NYC Divorce and Family Attorney/Mediator, Susan Ingram, discusses her role in advocating for children with learning disabilities and provides a good resource for parents.

In addition to my work as a family and divorce attorney/mediator, I’ve been involved in the non-profit world for more than 20 years helping children and young adults who have learning disabilities (LD). As often happens with people, I knew nothing about this subject until it touched me personally – when my son, Scott, was diagnosed with dyslexia, the most common form of LD, at the age of seven.

As a strong advocate over the years, I was able to get Scott the help he needed. But I also wanted to help those who might not be able to advocate as well for themselves. Thus began my involvement with the Learning Disabilities Association of NYC, first as a board member, and for the past 5 years as its president.

I am delighted to share a wonderful online resource that has just been launched for parents of children with LD. But first – a few facts that might surprise you. This information is cited in the 2014 State of Learning Disabilities Report from the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). The study was based on research taken from over 2,200 parents.

  • One in five school-aged children in the U.S. (20%) has problems with reading, math, writing, focus or attention. That translates to 15 million children.
  • 2.4 million school-aged children (approximately 5% of the total enrollment) have been formally identified as having LD. That means that many children are not “officially” identified, and thus not receiving the help they need.
  • Learning issues and attention (ADHD) issues tend to run in families.
  • While ADHD is technically not a learning disability, ADHD can definitely interfere with learning. An estimated one-third to one-half of children with LD also have ADHD.

The website I’ve mentioned, www.Understood.org, was launched last week by a group of 15 founding non-profit organizations. The site provides parents with a wealth of information, in many different formats, to understand what their child’s learning and attention issues may be – and then, how best to address them. Information can be tailored to a child’s grade and specific issues. There are videos and simulations that enable parents to experience their child’s difficulties through his or her eyes, and practical tips in dealing with frequent challenges (such as managing feelings or doing homework).

It’s impossible for me to describe the many features of this website in this short article. Please go and take a look. The group has just launched a three-year public advertising campaign to raise awareness nationwide about learning and attention issues and to connect parents with the website. As a result, many more people will have access to this important information.

Kudos to all for this highly successful collaborative effort!

Do you have a child with learning disabilities? What strategies have you used to help your child?

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