Resources for Parents: Understanding Your Child's Difficulties
Return to Index of Resources for Parents

It is important that you understand your childís learning difficulties.  There is no substitute for your own first-person understanding of the challenges your child faces in learning.  If you donít understand what your child needs, how can you advocate for them? Although you can get information from your childís school and teachers, remember that they are accountable to district and state education bureaucracies, so their goals are different from yours.  You need objective, scientifically based information as a counter-balance so that you can advocate for your childís specific needs. 

You wonít be able to become an expert on all on all the challenges your child might be facing so begin with getting a good understanding of your childís top 1 or 2 difficulties.  You will learn more about what your child needs as interventions begin and you learn what works and doesn't for your child.  In addition to reading articles and books, one way to experience a little of the difficulty your child struggles with is to go through the simulations at Misunderstood Minds

Question/Issue Index:

Understanding Learning Difficulties
Understanding Your Child's Experience
What Kid's Say About Having LD

Specific Skill Disabilities/Difficulties

Executive Function Deficit
Problems with Memory

Social Consequences of Learning Disabilities

Question/Issue: Links to resources:
 Understanding Learning Difficulties



Types of Learning Disabililties
Learning Disabilities: Signs, Symptoms and Strategies
Most Common Signs of Learning Disabilities
Summary of Successful Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities
Understanding Your Child's Experience
Dyslexia  simulation toolkit
LD simulation
Reading issue simulations
Writing issue simulations
Attention issue simulations
Math disability simulations
A day in the life of a dyslexic high school student
Dyslexia expert watches dyslexic student go through the day, noting where a dyslexic student would be expected to have difficulty.  Very informative. Suggestions for using technology to work around issues.


What Kid's Say About Having LD
The LD Journey: A College Student Looks Back
What Kids Say About Living With Learning Disabilities
Research Trends: LD From the Inside - Children's Voices
Specific Skill Disabilities/Difficulties

Reading Disabilities / Dyslexia
Math Disabilities / Dyscalculia
Writing Disabilities / Dysgraphia
Emotional and Behavioral Aspects of Learning Difficulties

Executive Function Deficit
Executive Function: A Quick Look
What are executive functions?
Executive Function Fact Sheet

Executive Function: A New Lens for Viewing Your Child
Problems with Organization

Problems with Memory
Common Concerns about Memory and Learning
Brief overview of the several types of memory problems that can cause difficulty for children in school.
Problems Some Students Have With Memory
Provides some details about how memories are encoded and retrieved. 
The Wires Of Memory: Connecting, Crossing, Humming
This article by Priscilla Vail introduces the complexity of memory and shows how different tasks and differing expectations affect children in school.
What Students Can Do to Increase Memory
Strategies for older students, middle school and up. Strategies could be adapted by teachers for use with younger students.
Social Consequences of Learning Disabilities
Teaching Social Skills to Students with Learning Disabilities
Social Acceptance of Students with Learning Disabilities

Note: This section of the website is a work in progress that is intended to be a guided introduction for parents who are new to learning disabilities and child advocacy.  Links included for individual topics provide basic information for the uninitiated; they do not provide comprehensive coverage of those topics.  We did not write the articles linked to; we collected links to existing information and arranged them so they can be used as resources for your learning.   As such, we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information or liable for how you choose to interpret or use it. Only you can decide whether the information is appropriate to your child's situation. 

Special thanks to volunteer Sami Moran for assembling this information


There is no substitute for your first-person learning.

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Dr. Grover (Russ) Whitehurst  Director, Institute of Education Sciences, Assistant Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education
Dr. Jack Shonkoff Chair, The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child; Co-Editor: From Neurons to Neighborhoods
Dr. Edward Kame'enui Commissioner for Special Education Research, U.S. Department of Education; Director, IDEA, University  of Oregon
Dr. G. Reid Lyon  Past Director, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Dr. Keith Stanovich  Canadian Chair of Cognitive Science, University of Toronto
Dr. Mel Levine Co-Chair and Co-Founder, All Kinds of Minds; Author: A Mind at a Time, The Myth of Laziness & Ready or Not Here Life Comes
Dr. Alex Granzin  School District Psychologist, Past President, Oregon School Psychologists Association 
Dr. James J. Heckman Nobel Laureate, Economic Sciences 2000; Lead Author: The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children
Dr. Timothy Shanahan President (2006) International Reading Association, Chair National Early Literacy Panel, Member National Reading Panel
Nancy Hennessy  President, 2003-2005, International Dyslexia Association
Dr. Marilyn Jager Adams Senior ScientistSoliloquy Learning, Author: Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print
Dr. Michael Merzenich Chair of Otolaryngology, Integrative Neurosciences, UCSF;  Member National Academy of Sciences
Dr. Maryanne Wolf Director, Center for Reading & Language Research; Professor of Child Development, Tufts University
Dr. Todd Risley  Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Alaska, Co-author: Meaningful Differences
Dr. Sally Shaywitz  Neuroscientist, Department of Pediatrics, Yale University, Author: Overcoming Dyslexia
Dr. Louisa Moats  Director, Professional Development and Research Initiatives, Sopris West Educational Services
Dr. Zvia Breznitz Professor, Neuropsychology of Reading & Dyslexia, University of Haifa, Israel 
Rick Lavoie Learning Disabilities Specialist, Creator: How Difficult Can This Be?: The F.A.T. City Workshop & Last One Picked, First One Picked On
Dr.Charles Perfetti Professor, Psychology & Linguistics; Senior Scientist and Associate Director, Learning R&D Center, U. of Pittsburgh, PA
Arthur J. Rolnick Senior V.P. & Dir. of Research,  Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis;  Co- Author: The Economics of Early Childhood Development  
Dr. Richard Venezky  Professor, Educational Studies, Computer and  Information Sciences, and Linguistics, University of Delaware
Dr. Keith Rayner  Distinguished  Professor, University of Massachusetts, Author: Eye Movements in Reading and Information Processing
Dr. Paula Tallal  Professor of Neuroscience, Co-Director of the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University
Dr.John Searle  Mills Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Language, University of California-Berkeley, Author: Mind, A Brief Introduction
Dr.Mark T. Greenberg Director, Prevention Research Center, Penn State Dept. of Human Development & Family Studies; CASEL Leadership Team
Dr. Terrence Deacon  Professor of Biological Anthropology and Linguistics at University of California- Berkeley
Chris Doherty  Ex-Program Director, National Reading First Program, U.S. Department of Education
Dr. Erik Hanushek Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Dr. Marketa Caravolas Director, Bangor Dyslexia Unit, Bangor University, Author: International Report on Literacy Research
Dr. Christof Koch Professor of Computation and Neural Systems,  Caltech - Author: The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach
Dr. Guy Deutscher Professor of Languages and Cultures of Ancient Mesopotamia, Holland; Author: Unfolding Language
Robert Wedgeworth  President, ProLiteracy, World's Largest Literacy Organization
Dr. Peter Leone  Director, National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice
Dr. Thomas Cable  Professor of English, University of Texas at Austin, Co-author: A History of the English Language
Dr. David Abram Cultural Ecologist and Philosopher; Author: The Spell of the Sensuous
Pat Lindamood and Nanci Bell  Principal Scientists, Founders, Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes
Dr. Anne Cunningham  Director, Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education, Graduate School of Education at University of California-Berkeley
Dr. Donald L. Nathanson  Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Jefferson Medical College, Director of the Silvan S. Tomkins Institute 
Dr.Johanna Drucker  Chair of Media Studies, University of Virginia, Author: The Alphabetic Labyrinth
John H. Fisher  Medievalist, Leading authority on the development of the written English language, Author: The Emergence of Standard English
Dr. Malcolm Richardson   Chair, Dept. of English, Louisiana State University; Research: The Textual Awakening of the English Middle Classes  
James Wendorf  Executive Director, National Center for Learning Disabilities
Leonard Shlain Physician; Best-Selling Author: The Alphabet vs. The Goddess
Robert Sweet  Co-Founder, National Right to Read Foundation


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The Children of the Code is a Social Education Project and a Public Television Series intended to catalyze and resource a social-educational transformation in how we think about and, ultimately, teach reading. The Children of the Code is an entertaining educational journey into the challenges our children's brains face when learning to read. The series weaves together archeology, history, linguistics, developmental neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, information theory, reading theory, learning theory, and the personal and social dimensions of illiteracy. 




Copyright statement:  Copyright (c) 2012, Learning Stewards, A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization, All Rights Reserved. Permission to use, copy, and distribute these materials for not-for-profit educational purposes, without fee and without a signed licensing agreement, is hereby granted, provided that "Children of the Code -"  (with a functioning hyperlink when online) be cited as the source and appear in all excerpts, copies, and distributions.  Thank you. (back to top)