If you’ve ever seen the movie Ground Hog Day with Bill Murray you might identify with it if you are a teacher of a child who struggles in school. Every morning is a brand new day and everything you did the day before wasn’t “right” and now you have to start all over again. But every good teacher knows that repetition is the key and so you plug away trying different methods, sequences, and tactics until one day you “wake up” three years later and realize your child is still unable to consistently recognize letters of the alphabet or match them to the sounds even though he is six.

In my case my child can copy any letter of the alphabet I give to him but still can not associate it with the corresponding letter. I am finally beginning to accept something I’ve denied for the last year. My child has special learning needs. (I will not ever refer to this as a disability because that implies that my child is “not able.” My child IS able if I learn and inspire him in different ways then my other children. Lord willing, He will give me the wisdom in this area.)

Most of the websites I have found address the “warning signs” for parents to look for in their children. I think there are “parent” behavior warning signs to look for as well. Such as…

  1. Are you becoming frustrated beyond your normal limits trying to teach your child in a certain area?
  2. Do you find yourself teaching the same concept  longer than it is normally expected to learn it?
  3. Do you have to reteach and reteach something that you thought was conquered previously?
  4. Do you find yourself leaving the room throwing your hands up in the air and silently saying “What in the world is wrong with that child?”
  5. Or maybe you said, “I am not teaching this right or as often as needed, or I’m not drilling enough…” etc. etc.

I suggest if you find yourself in this predicament that you may need to assess if your child is a struggling learner. HSLDA has a really great place to start for information on the struggling learner. Do put it off another week, month, or year thinking things may improve – take a look and see if it describes your child who is struggling to learn. Overview of struggling learners at HSLDA.

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