Become the Best Advocate for Your Child

You are your child’s best hope for a brighter future and happier today. Children with special needs rely on their parents for more than the average child does. Whether he needs help physically, socially, in the classroom, or in a hospital setting, your child with a special need needs you to be his voice and his advocate until he is able to be one for himself. Here are some ideas on how to do best by your child and give him everything he needs and deserves to succeed and thrive. 1 Learn every detail you can about your child’s needs. … Continue reading

The Immeasurable Importance of Your Child’s Teacher

Parents, if your special needs child is struggling in school–if he or she is miserable, and if things have been rough academically, let me make a suggestion. Take a careful look at your child’s teacher. I believe your child’s teacher can literally mean the difference between a successful year or a failed one. I’ve often heard other parents of special needs kids talk about the ups and downs they faced in the public (or private) school system over the years, and there always seemed to be a correlation with whether the child “clicked” with his teacher. I’m not writing this … Continue reading

Have You Brushed Your Kid Today?

When my son Kyle, who has autistic disorder, was in preschool, his teacher gave me a little yellow brush with soft bristles and a sponge-like grip. I was told that it was for “brushing,” and that I should brush Kyle’s arms and legs several times each day. Can Autism, ADHD, and DSI be Brushed Away? I must confess, I tried it a few times, but eventually abandoned the whole concept. That’s because I had no idea what on earth I was doing. Secretly I thought this might just be somebody’s ridiculous idea or some new-fad treatment that wouldn’t amount to … Continue reading

Your Child Could be BOTH Gifted and Learning Disabled

Is your child bright and intelligent, yet still struggles in school? Are you often amazed at your child’s creativity and talents, but can’t figure out why certain things aren’t getting through academically? It’s not often understood that a person can be both gifted and learning disabled. We assume that a child who is gifted has no learning challenges, and a child with ADHD or a specific learning disability is “slow.” It’s hard to imagine that both conditions could exist at the same time. But they can. The classification is “Gifted and Talented/Learning Disabled” or “GT/LD.” These children require a whole … Continue reading

Seven Ways to Get the REAL Scoop on Your Child’s Homework

Children with learning disabilities and other special needs require a lot of parental involvement when it comes to homework. It may be difficult for these kids to keep track of assignments and deadlines, and they may be fearful to ask their teachers questions for clarification. And even when there really isn’t any tangible homework, there might be tests or quizzes scheduled for which your child should be preparing. Here are seven ways you can keep tabs on your child’s homework while still giving your son or daughter a feeling of independence and accomplishment. Meet with your child’s teacher(s) early in … Continue reading

Ten Ways to Help Your Child with Bipolar Disorder Succeed in School

Researchers are coming to the conclusion that a large number of children in the United States who were thought to have ADHD actually have early onset bipolar disorder. ADHD and early onset bipolar disorder are “look alikes” and can be misdiagnosed. There are many other ADHD look-alikes, which I will address in a future blog. The child with bipolar disorder can have difficulties in the public school system, for obvious reasons. Their mood swings, manic behaviors and depression can create obstacles to learning. A child with bipolar disorder should be in frequent contact with a caring child psychiatrist who can … Continue reading

What is Transition Planning?

I can still remember quite clearly the way I felt as a fourteen-year-old when I first walked the grounds of my new high school. It was overwhelming. The school seemed twice as large as my previous one, and I couldn’t quite make sense of the map of the campus. I was excited, nervous, and intimidated. I knew this was an important transition I needed to make, yet I was uncertain about my ability to succeed in this new, big place. Next year, my son Kyle will be starting high school. This means that soon he will be making an important … Continue reading

Four Roadblocks to Learning

Is your child struggling with school? Does he or she seem to be drowning in work without making much progress? Sometimes the real cause of a child’s failure to thrive academically is simply the teaching methods employed at school. Here are four “roadblocks” which can interfere with a child’s ability to learn effectively. As you analyze your child’s progress, watch for these barriers: 1. World of Worksheets. Chances are, if you examine an average classroom at a random time of the day, you’ll see children sitting at desks completing worksheets. Worksheets seem to come tumbling down from the ceiling, filling … Continue reading

Visual Dysfunction: More than Meets the Eye

I know what you’re thinking: My child can see perfectly. I can skip this blog. But there’s more to vision than just seeing. Children with sensory integration dysfunction often have problems processing visual information, even though they can “see.” (If you have concerns about your child’s basic ability to see properly, click here.) I often notice that my son Kyle will put objects close to his eyes when he’s playing or thinking. Kyle has normal vision but I believe he is under-sensitive to visual stimuli. That means he craves visual input, and so he watches video clips repeatedly, creates movement … Continue reading

A Necessary Dose of Mommy or Daddy: Visitation and the Special Needs Child

It’s a very difficult thing to do: packing your child up for a weekend, two weeks, or even a whole summer to spend time with his other parent. This is especially true if your ex-spouse is not willing to work agreeably with you as a parenting partner. A child with special needs is particularly hard to send away for any extended period of time. He or she may have certain challenges you’ve been working on, and you’ve just started to make some progress when it’s time for his departure. How do you see that your ex-spouse continues with the parental … Continue reading