Understanding what learning disabilities feel like

Special web tools and videos to help you and your family understand your child’s challenges

By Kathy Kuhl

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. It’s also ADHD Awareness Month. And with just a few days left, I didn’t want you to miss the special opportunities you have to learn more about challenges your child may face, challenges you also may face.

Sarah Entine was in graduate school in social work the day she realized how learning disabilities shaped her family across generations. She created a documentary about how learning disabilities affect family dynamics. Her film, Read Me Differently is available for viewing free this month here.  You can download this viewing guide free to help get the most out of watching the film with your family. I’ve reviewed it in an earlier post. 

Several organizations have posted special resources to help you understand learning disabilities this month. LDOnline created a calendar of activities. (I love the fact that LDOnline was developed by Dale S. Brown, who has learning disabilities). More calendars are resources are posted by Reading Rockets, and the Learning Disabilities Association of America, all to help you understand learning disabilities better.

At Understood.org, “Through Your Child’s Eyes” is a customizable video presentation for PC users that helps you hear from a child with yourchild’s challenges, play a simulation to see how it feels, and listen to an expert explain how it means. It won’t work on Apple products, alas. Understood is a website developed by a consortium of nonprofits dedicated to helping parents help kids with learning challenges.

On Youtube, I follow Dyslexic Advantage, who produce many encouraging videos about bright people with dyslexia. The encouraging, intriguing snippets here will introduce you to a few of these experts.

Richard Lavoie’s pioneering F.A.T. (Frustration Anxiety, Tension) workshops (described here) help parents and teachers see what it feels like to have learning disabilities. You can purchase them here. 

ADHD awareness month

Another consortium, including ADDA and CHADD, banded together to promote ADHD Awareness month. They offer stories and information here.

I’m a fan of ADDitude Magazine, which also features helpful articles for parents of kids with ADHD and for adults with ADHD. Since it runs in families, parents often find both aspects of their website helpful. Their ADHD Expert podcasts feature many interesting topics.

CHADD, Children and Adults with AD/HD, also created a calendar of activities and resources for this month. They also sponsor the National Resource Center on AD/HD. 

One great holiday idea from Viki Gayhardt

On the Autism Harrisburg site, singer, songwriter, and autism advocate Viki Gayhardt is credited with writing a great model letter for families to send their relatives before the holidays, a simple primer on what to expect with this kid and why.  Any parents of a child with special needs could adapt this for their child and family.

What are your favorite resources to help a friend or relative understand your child’s learning challenges?

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