44 answers

Kindergartener with Possible Learning Disabilities

My youngest (turned 5 in Dec.) has just finished his first week of Kindergarten. I got a call from his teacher tonight with some concerns. She feels he is not on the same education level as the other kids in his class. He has had speech issues/delays and has been getting speech therapy for that since he was 3. I guess my question is...how do I help a child that possibly has a learning dissability? He does not know his alphabet...can not identify his letters by name...has no clue what sounds the letters make..etc. He gets easily mixed up on his colors as well. I feel like he just learned how to say these things...where the other kids have been able to say them longer and therefore he struggles with it all. Did I make the wrong decision to send him? I really wanted to wait a year but his preschool teacher felt he was ready and he would be so much older than the other kids in his class if I would have waited a year. I don't know...I am just so worried and feel so bad for him. I want to help him and don't want him to have to stop going or to have to repeat kindergarten. I am worried that the other kids will always think he is not smart...which he truly is a bright and intelligent boy...it just comes slower and harder for him. I just feel like crying and i feel so helpless...what do I do?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

At only a week in, I think that it might be very early to tell how he will do. I'm a huge proponent of music (as a music teacher) because not only does it teach the stuff they need in a way that will remember - but listening actually wires their brain for learning. Videos are good, but it's actually better to have more music that the can focus on just sound - especially for recognizing sounds of the letters.

My son's pediatrician is concerned about my 2yr old so she referred me to the Center for Child Health & Development. They do evaluations & therapy. You just call & get some forms to fill out then they call you back & set up an appointment. Their number is ###-###-####. They work with kids with learning & behavioral problems.

Is there a reason you can't pull him out and let him start kindergarten at age six instead of five?

Give him another year of speech therapy, and do some heavy home-schooling in the meantime ????

More Answers

Hello S.! I have a 21 year old that has a learning disability, and now, looking back on it, I wish that I would have been wise enough to challenge the school system early on to get him the help he needed at a younger age; he received his diagnosis in 6th grade. While I had asked 2 years earlier, because he also had a DX of ADD/ADHD, everyone saw that behavior and let that cloud the issue of the Learning Disability. Getting him help early, while you can impact things like his attitude toward shcool, getting the school to help him according to his learning style (not everyone learns in the same way!) etc. can make things better for him in the long run. I also work at the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Resource Center which is a part of the Institute for Human Development at UMKC. We have information on learning disabilities, connections to resources, and even trained mentor parents that can listen to you, provide emotional support, and share experience. All of these are provided free of charge. Please feel free to contact the MODDRC at ###-###-#### (out of greater KC? Call 800-444-0821) or feel free to e-mail me at ____@____.com.
Sincerely, J. Hatfield-Callen

3 moms found this helpful

Hi S.,
As a former kindergarten teacher and current special education teacher, I would first say give him just a little more time in the classroom. Keep in touch with the teacher to see what you can work on at home. It is possible some of his speech delays have affected other areas of his learning as well, but not necessarily. If the concerns continue after you feel he's really had solid time to adjust to his new classroom, teacher, friends, school, etc. then you can also request to have him evaluated. You can check with his teacher about that, but I would first just give him some adjusting time. Good luck. M.

1 mom found this helpful

You have got some great responses here! I will ditto what a lot of others have said and tell you not to stress out! Take your time and follow your heart, you know him best. I have always been told you are your child's first and best teacher. Try incorporating these things into your daily routine. (You may already, and he will "get it")
I don't know if you chose to watch educational TV or DVDs with him, but I loved the Baby Einstein series. One thing though, I always sat and watched it with my now 4 year old and still do with my 17 month old. It shows them lots of everyday stuff and gives you a great opportunity to explain and explore the world in the quiet of your home.
A great DVD for the alphabet is Leap Frog's Letter Factory! I highly recommend this one, my daughter knew the sounds the letters made before she knew how to sing her ABCs! She still loves watching it, thankfully as I would love for the littlest one to benefit from it as well!
Again, I say follow your heart and no matter what boost that little guys confidence!
Best wishes, J.

1 mom found this helpful

To begin with, I would take a deep breath and relax a little. It has only been a week into the school year and I have seen children make remarkable progress by Ocotber. Each child is different and I don't feel one week is ample time to make an acurate judgement, especially in Kindergarten where the child is making a huge transisiton and adjustment. You need to trust your instincts as his mother. If you know that he is a child that needs extra time and practice, share that with the teacher and tell her you want to help as much as you can at home. Ask her to communicate what can be done to help at home. If your child's preschool teacher felt he was ready, then it is likely that it was a better choice then leaving him out a year. With speech and language delays, your child may know more than he is able to communicate. Look for ways to get information without speech suach as pointing out things. Many students enter Kindergarten with the same knowledge or less than what your child has by your description and do just fine. If your child is already receiving services then you can always discuss other concerns with those providing the services. Unfortunately, general learning diabilities are hard to get a diagnosis for at this age. Your best bet is to be an advocate for your child with the teacher and provide extra support at home to help him progress through the year. I know this is a lot but right know patience will be your virtue. I am a preschool teacher that helps parents make these types of decisions each year and look at how to best help my students prepare for kindergarten. My main concern...can they interact with other students and can they follow directions. The other stuff is nice but can come if they have the ability to do the other things first. Hope this helps:)

1 mom found this helpful

I am a former elementary school teacher, so I can provide advice from a teacher's perspective.

1. Most of the skills you mentioned are skills that your kindergartener should master by the END of the year. Yes, many children enter K knowing most of those things, but that is irrelevant. What is important is that he master those by the end of the year. You have a lot of time on your side!

2. If your child DOES in fact have a learning disability, being in school is the best place for him. Once diagnosed, he will receive individualized services.

3. Many parents with delayed children are in denial, so the teacher is most likely planting seeds early. She doesn't want to get to the end of the year and have you say, "I didn't know he was struggling." We hear that all the time.

4. If your son gets to the end of the year and needs to repeat K, it will not be the end of the world. It is harder on parents than kids at that age. He won't think it's a big deal unless you make it one. It would be much different if he was pushed along and then had to repeat 4th or 5th grade.

5. You are your son's best advocate. If you believe he has a learning disability, then have him evaluated. Speak with your child's teacher, the special education teacher, your child's pediatrician, and so forth. You didn't mention anything specific, but only physicians can diagnose ADD or ADHD. Teachers can provide feedback for the physician, but it is a medical diagnosis.

6. Support your child's teacher in all ways possible. If she asks you to practice certain skills with your son on a daily basis, then make that a priority. You are your child's best teacher. Speak to him a lot. Point out colors and shapes as you drive down the road or shop in the grocery store. Look for letters on packages or road signs. Have him help you count things as you pick them up or put them away. Find as many opportunities as possible to incorporate those skills into everyday life. Don't make it a "lesson". Make it a natural part of your conversations with him.

Hopefully, some of these suggestions will be helpful!

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter has always struggled in school. I felt helpless at times. I really fought for her at school and the district we were in at the time would not help me. They wanted her to be a year and a half behind before they would do any testing. We moved to KS when she was starting 3rd grade. We did a written request for testing and she's dyslexic. It effects her speech, memory, reading, etc. She now has an IEP and is doing well. My point is don't give up. Keep encouraging your son and working with the school to get him the help he needs. See a pediatrician, google his symptoms, and build his confidence. Do anything to help yourself feel equipped to help him in the best way you can. My daughter is very athletic and we keep her busy in sports to help with her self esteem and confidence. Good luck! You will get through this.

1 mom found this helpful

Keep in mind the school makes money off of each child they can classify as special needs. They tried to tell me my son needed speech therapy at five for sounds he should have mastered by age seven. I know there is a chance your son may need the special help, but don't let them totally freak you out, listen to what they have to say and listen to your heart as well before making any decisions on what to do. Good luck, R.

1 mom found this helpful

There is several things you can do keep up on the speech therapy and call your school district and ask them if they have someone to do an evaluation on your son I live in 501 district in Topeka I know there are several resources here and i'm sure where you live there is to they may be free of charge.This way you know what his needs are and can get him some more therapy.AS a mom it is hard to see your child struggle I have a 5 yr old since he isn't 5 yet till Sept. he has to wait to go into kindergarten he'll be almost 6 yrs old and that is ok with us he is ready to go but the rules won't allow him to.One more yr.for some it makes a huge difference.Help your son starting today go over the ABC's in the car sing the song over and over.A school store has ABC posters for really cheap buy one set it at eyelevel for him and go over the ABC's and sounds.If your childs teacher has concern ask her what you can do and if there is a referall she can give you to get him properly evaluated.Does your pediatricain have any concerns?SAHM of 2 and 1 more on the way

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