How do we identify the special educational needs of children?
At different times in their life kids might exhibit special educational needs. In some cases, it can be a temporary issue that they overcome with the right guidance, in others, it might take a while for them to get a grasp of what needs to be done. Now it is very important for both parents and teachers to identify when this period occurs and to act appropriately. Ignoring it, or attributing it to laziness or lack of trying can have devastating consequences on a child’s self-esteem.
So in order to help identify some of the signs that your child has special educational needs we have made a list of tells you can use.
Monitor their behaviour carefully
This is an integral part of identifying if a problem exists. On a lot of occasions, your child might act out due to the frustration that comes from having learning difficulties. And more often than not parents attribute such behaviour to age, hormones and simply don’t read much into it. But it is essential to get to the root of the problem and to see where the frustration is coming from. This will take time and patience, especially because a child might be ashamed to admit that they are experiencing any type of learning difficulties.
In these situations it is important to encourage them to talk about it, and to explain that it is a solvable issue that many go through and that there is no reason for them to feel self-conscious. As soon as a child understands that they will be able to tackle the problem, ask for help and the frustration and acting out will be long gone.
Be in contact with their teachers
The process of identifying the need for special education for your child should be a joint effort for you and the child’s teacher. Teachers are trained to recognize certain behavioral patterns that might serve as a red flag for learning problems. This is why staying in contact with them and consulting them is so important.
Now, there are different causes of learning difficulties, from sensory and physical development issues to concentration and communication problems. And a good teacher can help determine which one you are dealing with, advise you on what type of special educational needs your child has and you can work on the correcting the problem together. Depending on your child’s age you can find an ideal playgroup where they can play and learn and you can see whether or not additional help is required. It is important that your child is exposed to the right educational approach if they are exhibiting learning difficulties so as to be able to overcome them in a faster and more effective way.
Stay on top of their curriculum
Apart from monitoring their behaviour, their school achievements can also serve as a great indicator of whether or not your child has special educational needs. If you see that your child is struggling to get good grades despite the fact that they are putting in the hard work and actually spending time studying, you definitely intervene.
Some learning difficulties like dyslexia can be diagnosed early on. If you suspect that your child has dyslexia, you should contact your pediatrician immediately, they will be able to carry out a series of test to determine whether or not that’s the issue, and then direct you towards a specialist. There is no ‘’cure’’ for this condition, but if caught on time and with the right educational approach it will is manageable and your child will be able to lead a normal life. Catching this and other learning difficulties might take time, but if you monitor your child’s academic progress and address any issues that might arise you will be able to make an assessment and act on it sooner rather than later.
Now, these are just some of the ways you can identify whether or not your child might have special educational needs. The key is being present, that way you can spot any changes in behaviour, drops in grades or mood swings. And more importantly, don’t attribute it to their age or personality, try to get to the root of the issue, enlist the help of their teachers, counselors and even their physician. That way you can be sure you have done everything in your power to level out the field and give your child the opportunity to get the education their need that is in accordance to their abilities.