October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month and while not everyone may identify as having a disability, the more people learn about disabilities the more understanding communities become for those who do.
Disabilities including ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, and the like, may impact how one processes, writes, and reads words. Other disabilities may manifest in more of a social setting. For a child struggling with a disability, school may become a challenging environment filled with stress. The more support and kindness communities can offer, the more empowered they will feel to overcome obstacles and be successful in their academic lives. Educators provide support and modifications to students each day to create positive learning opportunities for all learners.
To bring awareness to disabilities and how they affect childhood literacy, we challenge you and your child to step into the shoes of someone who has a disability. If your child does identify as having a disability, they will benefit from these tips even more!
Dive into a book about a child with a learning disability.
Seeing children overcome obstacles and thrive is inspirational. Encouraging your child to read about characters who are different from them creates empathy and broadens their horizons, whereas reading about characters who are similar creates hope and relatability — lessons that are powerful and essential to a growing reader! For books with characters that have learning disabilities, we recommend “Clementine” by Sara Pennypacker, “The Alphabet War: A Story About Dyslexia” by Diane Burton Robb, and “Junkyard Wonders” and “Thank You, Mr. Falker” by Patricia Polacco.
Try a book with an added sensory element or create one!
Sometimes having an outside element that relates to the story can help your little one focus on the story itself. For example, if you’re reading a book about rabbits, try holding onto a plush rabbit for an extra level of understanding.
Read a book in an area with no distractions.
Turn off the TV, turn off any music, and just focus on the story with your child. Help them through difficult words and their definitions and practice sounding out words. Work together and take breaks if they get frustrated.
Regardless of if your child struggles with a disability, it’s always a good idea to bring awareness to these issues so we can offer support, discover that there are various ways to learn, and realize that achievement looks different to everyone.