Dyslexia and other Learning Disabilities can be hidden behind average (grade level) or even above average achievement. A Learning Disability is relative to the child’s own potential. While schools are oriented towards making sure that all of their students meet a common standard, parents must be advocates for their own child in light of that child’s specific cognitive and learning profile, his or her strengths and weaknesses. Parents need to look at, not only their child’s level of achievement, but also the intensity of effort that he or she must exert to reach that level of achievement. Children tend to want to do well in school and to seek the approval of their teachers. Homework battles and school resistance are generally signs that something is awry in the child’s educational experience; they are cries for help that should not be dismissed as signs of laziness or oppositionalism. Parents should listen carefully to their child’s voice and try to find out what is evoking the child’s negative reaction to schoolwork.
Next month, we will look at ways in which verbal and otherwise intelligent children mask Learning Disabilities, especially in the early grades.