Bodacity Podcast with Jannette Anderson

Topic: How parents can advocate for their special needs child

Date published: 8/7/23

Listen to the full podcast here

Dr. Levy appeared on this Bodacity podcast with Jannette Anderson to discuss how to build academic skills and self-esteem for students who struggle in school.

Children with learning challenges often have many gifts. Those with dyslexia may be brilliant artists. Individuals with ADHD may be incredible visionaries who go on to be successful leaders or business owners later in life. Getting through school, however, for these students, can be a challenge. You can help your child with learning challenges excel in school with the strategies detailed below.

Take action!

If you notice your child is struggling with a skill or set of skills, such as reading, writing, or math, or is having trouble staying focused, don’t wait to take action! Many parents don’t learn about their child’s struggles in school until parent-teacher conferences or sometimes even the end of the school year. If you notice your child is having difficulty in school, set up a time to meet with their teacher to discuss what you are seeing at home. Perhaps there are some techniques the teacher can use to further help your child, such as sitting them in the front row or checking in with them periodically to make sure they understood the directions for an assignment. If your child continues to struggle, you may want to seek a formal evaluation to see if there are any learning or attentional challenges. Special education tutoring to address their unique needs may also be beneficial.

Seek services

You as a parent should always be your child’s best advocate! Try to seek services to help your child thrive in school. Once an evaluation is completed and it is determined that your child has a disability, either an IEP or 504 plan is typically created detailing the services and accommodations your child should receive. Services may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or special education tutoring, depending on your child’s challenges. Accommodations may include preferential seating, extra time on tests, a scribe, modified tests, and many others. Always keep tabs on how your child is doing; certain accommodations may work at a given time but they may need to be tweaked as your child progresses through school. 

Try special education tutoring if necessary 

If your child continues to struggle academically despite receiving support in school, you may want to consider specialized tutoring outside of school. Children with dyslexia, for instance, typically benefit from Orton Gillingham tutoring to build their reading skills. If this approach is not offered at your child’s school, you may need to seek this help
outside of school. Children with writing, math, or executive functioning challenges may need similar research-based tutoring or executive functioning coaching outside of school. Learn more about how tutoring can help your child at Importance of Tutoring to Help Kids Struggling with Reading, Math, Allow Them to Catch Up with Their Classmates.

Many students with learning challenges struggle in school. However, with the right support, you can help your child thrive academically. 

Learn more at Learning disorders: Know the signs, how to help – Mayo Clinic.

Dear Dr. Levy, My son received an excellent report card. I can’t say enough good things about his EBL tutor. She has done a tremendous job helping him improve his reading and writing skills. Most importantly, she is wise and kind. She is always patient with him. Because of his tutor, my son writes with much more ease.
– Parent