5 Common Techniques for Helping Struggling Students

Teachers know that students walk into their classrooms with a wide range of abilities. But teachers try to find ways to meet the needs of all students, including those with learning and attention issues. Here are five common teaching methods.

1. Differentiated Instruction

With this approach, teachers change and switch around what students need to learn, how they’ll learn it, and how to get the material across to them. When a student struggles in one area, the teacher creates a plan that includes extra practice, step-by-step directions, and special homework. Find out more about differentiated instruction.
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Identifying Struggling Students

Early and accurate identification of learning disabilities and ADHD in schools can set struggling students on a path for success. But identification can be influenced by many factors—and too often is not happening early enough.

Not all children with learning and attention issues are identified in school as having a disability.

Students who are identified by schools as having a disability may qualify for one of two types of assistance. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) provides specially designed instruction, accommodations, modifications and related services such as speech-language therapy to students who qualify for special education. A 504 plan provides accommodations and related services to general education students who are identified with a disability but who do not need special education.

Students with IEPs or 504 plans are protected from discrimination. Schools are also required to report certain data on students who are identified as having disabilities, such as how many repeat a grade, receive out-of-school suspensions or graduate on time.

But many of the 1 in 5 children with learning and attention issues are not formally identified with a disability. When these children receive the right interventions and informal supports, many can succeed in general education. Without enough support, however, children with unidentified disabilities may not reach their full potential and risk falling behind and having to repeat a grade. This could lead to other problems, including dislike of school, absenteeism and dropping out.

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Does ADHD Raise the Risk of Mental Health Issues?

Children who have ADHD are more likely than other kids to experience other mental health problems. A recent study followed kids with ADHD from the age of 8 into adulthood. It found that those with ADHD are at greater risk for behavioral issues, learning issues, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and self-injury. Adolescence is when kids with ADHD are most at risk of developing another issue.

Knowledge, though, means power. Learn what behaviors and symptoms might develop and how to spot them. Then you can take action early. This will result in a much better outcome for your child.

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Advice for Parents of Kids With Learning Disabilities

Was your child recently diagnosed with a learning or attention issue, like dyslexia or ADHD? Would you like some advice from parents who are farther along in the journey?

As part of Understood.org’s Real Parents, Tough Topics series, Understood has brought together four parents of kids with learning and attention issues. Watch their conversation as they each share “What I wish I’d known sooner” about their children’s issues, working with schools and more.


I’m Concerned My Child Might Have Learning and Attention Issues

Are you wondering if learning and attention issues are causing your child’s challenges in school or at home? If so, you wouldn’t be alone. One in five kids have learning and attention issues. And with the right support, they can thrive in school and in life.

This article from Understood.org provides steps you can take to determine if your child has learning and attention issues, and where to go from there.

1. Know the skills learning and attention issues can affect.

The term “learning and attention issues” covers a wide range of challenges kids may face in school, at home and in the community. These lifelong, brain-based difficulties can cause trouble with reading, writing, math, organization, concentration, listening comprehension, social skills or motor skills.

They’re not just “kids being lazy.” And having these issues doesn’t mean a child isn’t intelligent. Read about what learning and attention issues are and what they aren’t.

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The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5

Building on NCLD’s 40-year history as the leading authority on learning disabilities, The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5 report uses recently released data for the 2015–2016 school year and other field-leading research to shine a light on the current challenges and opportunities facing the 1 in 5 children who have learning and attention issues such as dyslexia and ADHD.

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Metacognition: How Thinking About Thinking Can Help Kids

When kids hit difficult problems — the seemingly insurmountable English essay, a math test that takes on epic proportions, social struggles that leave them feeling frustrated — it can be tempting to give up and resort to four words no parent ever wants to hear: “I can’t do it.”

Kids need to be able to make the transition from ‘I can’t’ to the proactive ‘How can I?’

In order to thrive, kids need to be able to make the transition from the negative “I can’t” to the proactive “How can I?”

To do that, they need to think about why they’re stuck, what’s frustrating them, what they would need to get unstuck. They need to think about their own thinking.

There’s a word for that, and it’s metacognition.

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The State of LD: Understanding Learning and Attention Issues

1 in 5 children in the U.S. have learning and attention issues

Children with dyslexia, ADHD and other kinds of learning and attention issues are as smart as their peers. But without the right support, many fall behind academically and struggle socially. They’re more likely to repeat a grade, get in trouble at school or with the law, drop out and struggle as adults to find work. But this downward spiral can be prevented.

This data-intensive report form NCLD provides insights into the challenges facing the 1 in 5 as well as specifics on how to improve outcomes in school, work and the community.

NCLD’s The State of LD: Understanding Learning and Attention Issues is available online at http://www.ncld.org/the-state-of-learning-disabilities-understanding-the-1-in-5