Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Special Needs Help: 3 Steps
By Dr. Jim Forgan
Your child struggles. It worries you so much that you may even awake during the night thinking about his or her learning or social difficulties. You dread when Sunday night comes and Monday’s stress lurks nearby. This is your baby and you are searching for advice and how to best help. Like you, I’m a parent and understand your concerns. Based on my parenting and professional experiences I recommend you consider these 3 steps to help you find the right help for your child.
Step 1. Identify the most important problem.
Have you ever thought, “My child is a wreck? If so, you are not alone. Our kids with learning, attention, and processing problems often have multiple needs that interfere at home and school. At times your child’s needs may overwhelm you. When this happens try to take a step back because you are so close to the struggles. You sit there with your child and endure the battles and tears. One parent told me their family did not leave the house for two weekends in a row because of the amount of homework her child had and how long it took him to get it done. This mom was frustrated and looking for answers about her child.
If you want to help your child then prioritize where your child needs the most help. If you have never had your child complete a thorough psychoeducational testing evaluation then this can be very helpful in identifying what is truly going on within your child.
Dyslexia, ADHD, and learning disability evaluations can be pricey but they provide an excellent way to obtain a glimpse of what’s happening inside your child. Think about yourself and if you were having chest pains you’d want your doctor to order an MRI or run tests to find out what is occurring inside you before prescribing treatment. It’s similar for your child because you don’t just want to start general tutoring and hope that it fixes the problem because you could be doing the wrong type of tutoring and end up wasting your valuable time and money. That’s why testing helps identify your child’s problem and then you know how to target the most effective treatment.
If you’ve never completed a plan for your child I recommend using the Dynamic Action Plan from my book. It guides you through identifying your child’s most pressing needs. Then the action plan helps you link your child’s needs to the types of supports.
Step 2. Prioritize the support.
If you’ve had your child tested then the psychologist should have provided you with a written report that explained the testing and offered recommendations. Some psychologists simply provide a laundry list of generic recommendations and then it’s up to you to sort through them and decide what to try first. A laundry list of general recommendations is not that helpful so what I try to do is look at your child through my eyes and consider the question, “What would I do if this were my child?” I want to help you select support that will get you the biggest result for your investment. In my Forgan Parent Support System I have a video about the BEST money I ever spent on my son and if you buy my system you’ll see that in Module 3-9. You can bet that money was not spent on a toy!
Step 3. Use the right support for the right intensity and duration.
Now that you’ve had your child tested and identified the right support you must find the right person to help you and your child. Additionally you have to stick with that person and/or program for the right amount of time. Let’s say your child needs tutoring using the Lindamood-Bell program. First off, your child must have a good relationship with the tutor or he or she will not work for that tutor. Next, you can’t do the tutoring once a week and expect great results. You must be intense about doing the tutoring AT LEAST twice a week and more is better. Finally, if you see good results in three months, don’t quit just because your child is getting better at their skill.
If you are serious about helping your child overcome their dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, or learning issue, they must stick with the support for 1-3 years. They can’t overcome their problem in one short summer. If the program is working, prepare to stick with the tutor for the long haul.
Here’s a summary of my advice. Complete the testing to figure out what makes your child tick, identify the best support, select the right person to work with your child over time. You child will be in a much better place a year from now if you can follow through with these three steps.
Call or fill out my contact form above if you want to discuss your child with me.