How to Support Your Child If They Have a Learning Difficulty I Oxford Open Learning
learning difficulty

How to Support Your Child If They Have a Learning Difficulty


While homeschooling for the first time, many parents will have seen how their children work first-hand.

Interestingly, our research has revealed that while overseeing their children’s learning, many parents spotted potential signs of a learning difficulty.

Nearly half (47%) identified symptoms of dyslexia (difficulty reading, writing and spelling), whilst more than one in four (29%) observed possible indicators of dysgraphia (impaired handwriting or spelling). Here are the top four potential learning difficulties spotted by parents:

  1. Dyslexia (problems with reading, writing and spelling) – 47%
  2. Dysgraphia (impaired handwriting and/or spelling) – 29%
  3. ADHD (inattentiveness and hyperactivity) – 21%
  4. Dyscalculia (persistent difficulties with numbers) – 19%

To help parents who now think their child may have a learning difficulty, we’ve put together a guide on how best to support them and what your next steps should be.

  1. Get your child diagnosed

If your child’s difficulties are having a significant impact on their learning, it’s a good idea to have them tested for a condition and diagnosed.

A diagnosis can open the door for your child to receive appropriate learning support in school. This includes allowing them extra time in exams and being supported by a teaching assistant, so it’s a good idea to look into this as early as possible.

If you’ve observed signs that your child may have a learning difficulty, you should speak to your GP, who can either make the diagnosis themselves, or refer the child for the appropriate tests.

  1. Speak to your GP

Once a child is diagnosed with a learning difficulty, you should consult your GP. They will then be able to recommend and refer you to an appropriate specialist for support1.

Specialists can include speech and language therapists, educational and clinical psychologists and paediatricians, among others.

  1. Make the school aware

Once you have an idea of the areas where your child is struggling, you will need to make their school and teachers aware of the situation.

This will allow the school to put extra support in place should your child require it. They will need time to consider how the condition might affect the child’s learning and work out how best to adapt their teaching.

  1. Talk to others

Many parents find it difficult to process the diagnosis of a learning difficulty and it can be a challenge to adapt to your child’s new needs.

Don’t be afraid to seek out the support of other parents who have experienced similar situations. There are many support groups and forums out there for advice, and you and your child can even build new friendships.

  1. Support your child

The important thing to remember is that you need to support your child, whether this is with their learning, or any other aspects of life that they struggle with.

Being diagnosed with a learning difficulty is by no means the end of the world and children with such conditions go on to enjoy rich and fulfilling lives.

You will need to be patient, and it may be challenging at times, but with the correct support system in place your child will be fine.

For information on the benefits of homeschooling for children with learning disabilities and special educational needs, head to this page: https://www.oxfordhomeschooling.co.uk/special-situations/

1https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/learning-disabilities/

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