I remember the day I realized my oldest son was “different.” He came home from school feeling completely dejected and humiliated. The cause? His teacher had arranged for the little girl who sat next to him to pack his backpack for him every day before they were dismissed. Apparently, the disorganization I had grown used to with him was becoming an obstacle to his learning.
As time went on, his troubles at school began to pile up. Before I knew it, I was called in for a meeting to discuss the possibility of retention because his reading level was not where it was expected to be. I refused to allow him to be held back.
How could the articulate and intelligent child I knew possibly be struggling in school? At 3, he was able to give the correct name for every single snake he came across in books, even to the point of differentiating between a puff adder and a European adder. At 4 and 5 years of age, people used to be shocked to learn how young he was because of his extensive vocabulary and excellent conversational skills.
Yet here we were, at a table discussing retention, Title 20, and a possible IEP.
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It wasn’t until years later that I discovered he was a likely candidate for both ADHD and asyncronyous learning.
Fast forward several years. This time, my third child – and second son – was officially diagnosed with ADHD and given an IEP. Seeing the similarities between him and his older brother, I can’t say I was surprised. A pattern had clearly been established.
Very quickly I began to see that school wasn’t a good fit for him. Fortunately, I had met some amazing families who were homeschooling and decided to do the same with my children.
I wish I would have had this book from the very beginning.
(I received this book for free and was compensated for my time in writing a review. All opinions are entirely my own.)
Being a parent of a child with both ADHD and language-based learning disabilities can be challenging. Being a homeschooling parent of a child with both ADHD and language-based learning disabilities carries the weight of even more responsibility.
For years, we struggled trying to find a method that worked for us. After many changes and many tears, we finally settled into a routine that involved a lot of assistance from me. Although I was aware that people would frown on this, as independent learning seems to be the holy grail in both traditional and homeschooling circles, I pressed on and did what was right for us.
Let’s Talk About Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities
Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities, by Daniel Franklin, PhD, was honestly a pleasant surprise for me to come across. While I knew it would contain information to help with learning differences, I expected it to repeat the expectation that children be pushed to work on their own, and that too much parental assistance is akin to helicopter parenting.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Dr. Franklin has over 30 years experience working in education as a teacher, consultant, and administrator, and it shows in the way he understands struggling students. Having a background as a former struggling learner himself, his genuine empathy shines through in the caring approach he takes towards helping children, teens, and even young adults to overcome obstacles that have previously overwhelmed them.
Time and again, he stresses that what children who have learning disabilities need more than anything is one-on-one assistance. It doesn’t matter how old they are or what grade they’re in. Expecting these children to do what they are not developmentally equipped to do – work alone – will only hold them back even more. Not only does he consistently emphasize this point, but he shares numerous creative and effective ways to do it.
Throughout this book, Dr. Franklin shares anecdotal stories from his experiences with his students. These examples prove to be invaluable in giving glimpses into practical applications for the tips he provides. They add a personal touch and clearly exhibit how important relationship is when it comes to helping children with learning needs.
I cannot agree with this more. This is what relational homeschooling is all about.
What I Love About Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities
One of the things I am most passionate about when it comes to homeschooling is the fact that all children are different and have different needs when it comes to their education.
A true education doesn’t come in “one size fits all.”
Some kids need extra help with reading. Some with writing. Some need a little boost in their math skills. Some just soar through seamlessly. No matter where a child is at academically or how they need to approach learning, they are worthy of respect and dignity.
Dr. Franklin echoes my sentiments beautifully.
Besides ADHD, some of the other learning differences addressed are:
- visual and auditory processing disorders
One thing I learned from this book is that kids like my sons who have ADHD often struggle with other language-based learning disabilities. I had no idea. Yet, instinctively, it seems, I’ve realized that our entire approach to education has fit perfectly into Dr. Franklin’s suggestions.
As I read, I was often cheering myself on because I was already doing so many of the things he advocated for, and not only with my son with ADHD, but for all of my kids. And they have all clearly benefited from it.
I especially loved this quote from the section on dysgraphia:
“…don’t force your child to write beyond his or her capacities. For many struggling writers, their first draft is their final draft. We want writing to have a playlike quality so that your child will write more often without worrying about grammar. In time, your child will acquire the skills needed to improve punctuation and sentence structure.”
The first time I read it, my heart skipped a beat, and I thought, “Yes!!!!” This is exactly what I have been saying about writing for years. Kids who are struggling with writing, even those without learning disabilities, need to be given the chance to learn to enjoy writing before you pull out the dreaded red pen!
This entire book has given me the confidence and the confirmation I needed to continue on our homeschooling journey just as we’ve been doing – taking advantage of the freedom of a truly individualized education. I encourage every parent who cares about their child’s education to read this book – learning delays or not.
For a chance to win one of five free copies of this book just for reading my blog, enter here! Afterwards, be sure to watch this video provided by the author: