Uncovering Learning Disabilities

Dear Dr. Linda,

In kindergarten our daughter, Sally, was tested by the school because her teacher was concerned that she wasn’t picking up reading. At the time, her testing placed her in the gifted range. As the years went on she had some good years and some bad. It seemed to depend on the teacher. She’s now finishing up fifth grade and she is not doing well in any subject. The school just tested her again and she scored below average in everything. How can that be when she scored in the gifted range in kindergarten? The minute she gets off the bus, she doesn’t stop complaining about school and by the time we finish the homework and she’s going to sleep, she’s in a total meltdown. This happens every day! Any ideas on how this happened and what we can do about it?

Samantha and Tony

Sign Up for E-News

Dear Samantha and Tony,

Somewhere along the way, somebody dropped the ball, and it wasn’t your daughter. When children struggle in school, they don’t know what’s happening. All they know is that they’re not able to do the work their classmates are doing, they’re embarrassed, and so—thinking like the children they are—they begin to lie, avoid, hide papers, act out or cry. Those are signals. It would be wonderful if they said, “Mom, Dad, I think I’m having trouble learning how to read, or learning how to write or learning to do math. Help me.” But they don’t know how to explain what’s happening, except to say, “I hate school.”

Why wouldn’t they? What used to be a joyful experience isn’t anymore. It’s drudgery for them. As I’ve said before, I’ve never met a child who doesn’t want to see 100 percent on his/her paper. Every child wants a gold star and if they can’t get it, there’s a reason. It’s up to the adults in their lives to find out why they’re struggling. Thinking they’re lazy or they’re just not that smart and acting accordingly only compounds the problem.

So, what happened here? The kindergarten teacher was on the ball—she saw that something might be wrong and recommended that Sally be tested. But when they saw how well she scored on those tests, the interpreters probably chalked it up to the fact that Sally was only in kindergarten. Most kids don’t learn to read or read well until they’re in first grade. And even then, there might be a slight developmental delay that will go away on its own.

Make an appointment with the teacher and school psychologist who did the testing. Talk to them about the possibility of Sally having a reading disability (dyslexia), a writing disability (dysgraphia) or a math disability (dyscalculia). Talk about the possibility that Sally may have ADHD without the H (hyperactivity), which is often associated with boys. Many girls have ADD and just have trouble staying focused on what is being taught. I call them the “hearts, flowers, unicorn” girls because they drift off into their own little worlds and miss what is being taught.

What often happens is that over time, they become stressed and anxious. Again, why wouldn’t they be? If you’re upset about something, how well do you pay attention to what’s going on in the room? The anxiety alone affects attention and memory.

Years ago, before neurologists, psychologists, and the educational community understood what was happening with these children, many of them dropped out of school by the eighth grade. A variety of reasons were given, but whatever they were, they masked how unhappy they were. But it doesn’t have to happen.

Have your daughter evaluated by someone who is skilled in diagnosing learning disabilities and understands that no conclusions can be drawn about what’s really happening until the anxiety is under control. You can’t remedy a problem until you know its source and you won’t know until the pressure is removed and learning becomes fun again.

Dr. Linda

Dr. Linda is co-author of “Why Bad Grades Happen to Good Kids,” and director of Strong Learning Tutoring and SAT/ACT Test Prep. Send your questions to Linda@stronglearning.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

What Is Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica is a research organization. Apparently, it is funded by the Mercer family, second only to the Koch brothers on the liberal hit list. Both, through their philanthropy, spend millions on various needy organizations like hospitals. What makes them liberal targets is their funding of various conservative think tanks and candidates. I digress.

Cambridge Analytica used Facebook ...

‘Sister Act’: A Musical Like Nun Other

Of all the Broadway musicals I’ve seen over the years at Westchester Broadway Theatre, only a handful have elicited the noisily enthusiastic audience response I observed at the recent opening night of “Sister Act.”

There were outbursts of applause in the middle of some numbers, and several clever turns of phrase sprinkled in the dialogue landed squarely, to the delight of big ...

Seen Any Good Ol’ Movies Lately?

As I become more, uh, mature, I find myself enjoying older movies more than newer movies. The trio of films presented here for your consideration are three of my all-time favorites. They share great stories, great screenplays, great directing, great acting. They also have in common ratings in the 90s on Rotten Tomatoes, and a place of distinction in the National Film Registry, a highly selective ...

Privacy? LOL!

Author’s Note: Mom + Pop Culture are a couple of real characters. They could be you and me. Or not. Every so often, I eavesdrop on their conversations. Let’s listen in on what they’re saying right now about how Facebook fans are shocked—shocked!—that their privacy has been compromised, prompting them to rise up and exhort oppressed social media users everywhere to ...

Cleaning the Empty Nest

Part of the shock of being a part-time empty nester is when the kids come back to visit and I have to watch my house transform overnight from a pristine haven of OCD goodness to a place that looks like an explosion happened at Forever 21.

After my kids moved mostly out, I put away whatever tchotchkes they chose to leave behind and then I put on a hazmat suit and cleaned their rooms until they ...

Tipping the Scales in My Favor

As I was settling into bed one night, I happened to catch my husband out of the corner of my eye.

He was getting on the scale.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I yelled at him. He jerked his head around and looked at me with alarm.

“What? I’m weighing myself.”

I jumped out of bed and yanked him off the scale. 

“You can’t do that now!” I ...

Doing Time in the Big House

“So, what did the doctor say about Dad?” I asked my mom over the phone.

“He has an incarcerated hernia,” she replied.

“INCARCERATED hernia?” I repeated.

“Yes.”

“Why is it incarcerated? Did it rob a bank?”

“What? No.”

“Unlawful entry? Obstruction? Insider trading?” I ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, May 19, 10:00 AM

FDR State Park, Yorktown Heights

BluePath Service Dogs 2nd Annual Walkathon

Giving Back

Sun, May 20

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park , Yorktown Heights

2nd Annual Northwell Health Walk at Westchester

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Health & Wellness

Thu, May 24, 6:30 PM

Mahopac

College Admission Webinar

Education

Houlihan Lawrence in Yorktown Welcomes Three New Team Members

April 10, 2018

Zef Camaj, brokerage manager, recently welcomed three salespersons to the team.

Marco Nogueras is an enthusiastic and dedicated professional who uses technologically advanced marketing techniques bringing the real estate experience to a new level. He values customer service and will ensure your goals are met while keeping you updated on current market conditions. Marco has spent the majority ...