Spotting Problems

Early Treatment

It can be a very difficult task to identify problems in your child, whether the problem is related to a learning disability or to a hearing or vision impairment. Sometimes parents lack objectivity and only notice there's a problem when a teacher calls for a conference. Be aware that early treatment is the best way to conquer a disability and meet it head on, starting with a talk with the teacher and a consultation with your pediatrician. Here are some warning signs that your child may need help:

Warning Signs

Frustration-The inability to communicate in an effective manner, organize thoughts, or recognize letters and numbers causes much frustration. If your child seems to have become cranky as the learning is cranked up, it's time to be concerned.

Antsy-Your child will have trouble sitting still, and may fidget or find excuses to stand up during storytelling or classroom time.

Disconnect-Your child may walk away or throw a tantrum when parents try to tutor them in letters or numbers. Hearing impairment may manifest in a blank look or lack of response during a review of old material.

Impatience-Your child seems to lose patience too fast when he is unable to express himself so that you understand his intent.

Difficulty making decisions-Small decisions such as what color crayon to choose seem to elicit a disproportionate response in your child.

Disorganized-Your child often loses things and never seems to come to school with all of the needed supplies and books.

Communication-Your child has difficulty articulating what he wants. Might say 'Free' instead of 'Three', or 'Wice' instead of 'Rice.' If you repeat the word with the same pronunciation, he may attempt to correct you, but his incorrect pronunciation remains the same.

Anxiety-Your child makes frequent requests to go to the school nurse with vague symptoms, such as a stomach ache. He often begs to stay home for minor aches and pains but feels better at the time school ends. He dreads going to school. He may attempt to hide test results, homework assignments, or report cards because he doesn't wish to disappoint you.

Underachieves-Teachers describe your child as a daydreamer, disruptive, disorganized, or not living up to his abilities.

Deflects blame-He may blame his poor performance on his teachers or on the other children in the class.

Depression-He seems to want to sleep all the time and begins to isolate himself from his peers. He doesn't seem to enjoy activities that used to be enjoyable.

Squinting-Have his eyes checked!