(WTYV) — The pandemic has impacted every area of life, especially for families with kids who have a learning disability since schools have changed from in-person to remote to even hybrid to accommodate for COVID’s effects.
A local doctor and state advocates explained how you can help your kids juggle changes in schooling and a learning disability.
“It’s a group of disorders that can hold back or hinder a child’s ability to learn,” said Dr. Mike Sevilla with Family Practice Center of Salem.
According to advocates with the Learning Disabilities Association of Ohio, 12% to 15% of children in your school district have a learning disability.
Dr. Cheryl Chase with Learning Disabilities Association of Ohio broke down the different types: “The traditional ones, the classic ones that we know about are disorders of reading, disorders of written expression and writing and disorders of mathematics.”
Chase said there are others that can also get in the way of your child’s education.
“But they may have to do with slower processing speed, of slower working memory which are major processes in the educational process for students. They have to get information through quickly and hold information while they are processing it,” said Chase.
Navigating those things can be hard, especially during these times when schools are having to constantly adapt to changes caused by the pandemic.
“Many of the students that I serve are coming back in because maybe they slipped further of how to get their children to focus on a computer screen for 6 hours a day or 5 hours a day. It often involves increased parent supervision,” said Chase.
Sevilla said that he’s also helping families navigate these times.
“I have a lot of parents come to me and say hey how do we story this out. It’s really something from a medical standpoint or something from a learning standpoint. So my role is to kind of try and help parents navigate through that and say what’s really my area and what’s really in the educator’s area,” said Sevilla.
Learning advocates said there are signs parents can look out for.
“That’s the first sign for parents is seeing that discrepancy and the ability to do well on tests even though they know they know it,’ said Holly Roe, also with Learning Disabilities Association of Ohio.
If your child has a learning disability experts say the line between the parent and school needs to be open and consistent.
“That’s where a lot of the breakdown comes with a lot of parents. A lot of parents struggle with trying to help at home. They don’t know what to do,” said Roe.
Dr. Chase said if you feel like your child may be falling behind, don’t wait to get help.
“What is often told to parents is just give it a little more time and let’s just wait. Pursue it and stay on it if your gut says there’s something not right here,” said Chase.
Learning Disabilities Association of America has a list of resources for you and your family.