Psychological Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents

Archive for the Learning Disabilities Category

Published on: November 7, 2013  

Parent-Teacher Communication

We’re a little over two months into the school year, which means that school conferences are being held right about now. Parents, you’re probably anticipating this conference with your child’s teacher and wondering what the teacher(s) will say about his performance so far this year. Did you know that school-to-home communication has been linked with increased academic and behavioral performance in children? Here are some things to keep in mind during this season of conferences.

If you expect that your child’s school year is off to a great start, that’s wonderful! Take the opportunity at the parent-teacher conference to find out more about what your child is currently learning.

  • You might ask questions about the curriculum and how you can supplement your child’s learning at home.
  • You’ll also want to know what’s coming up next in the curriculum so you can prepare to help your child if they need it.
  • If it is in fact true that your child is meeting academic standards and performing well behaviorally, you might ask for specific examples of ways that your child is succeeding. Not only is it nice to hear as a parent, but it would also serve as a great basis for giving some specific praise and rewards to your child.

If you suspect that things are not going so well for your child this year, bring some specific questions with you. Your child’s teacher(s) are having this conference to share information with you, so don’t be shy when it comes to determining the details.

  • Talk to your child before you attend this conference. Ask your child how they would “grade” himself or herself, if they were the teacher. What does your child expect the teacher to say?
  • If a teacher tells you that your child is struggling academically or behaviorally, ask to see some data. Teachers have been collecting information for the last two months. If they have tried any interventions or new strategies to help your child, ask to see the data from those interventions, so you can see if it truly is working.
  • Ask the teacher if they have suggestions for how you can help your child at home. Determine what strategies the teacher is already using in class that you can also implement at home.
  • Consider implementing some kind of school-to-home communication system so that you can stay on top of your child’s progress. You might ask if the teacher can send you weekly emails, or if the teacher could send home a daily note about your child’s performance.
  • Ask the teacher if more intensive intervention needs to happen. If things don’t get better with some supports in place at home and school, what will you have to do next? For example, what are the teacher’s thoughts on an Individualized Education Plan or Section 504 Accommodation Plan for your child?

If things have not been going well for your child for some time now, but the parents and teachers have already made some accommodations/adjustments to your child’s school program, your family may need some more help.

  • Parents have the right to request a special education evaluation to determine if more individualized instruction is necessary for their child. Ask the teacher about the school’s procedures for requesting a special education evaluation.
  • Ask the teacher, counselor, or other school professional about additional resources at school and in the community that might help, such as after-school study halls or tutoring services.
  • Consider bringing the child to a psychologist, who would be able to conduct a full evaluation to determine your child’s specific academic and behavioral needs. Then, and more importantly, the psychologist should be able to give you some recommendations on how to proceed, and may even be able to provide some treatment for your child and the family.

We know that it can be difficult to navigate a school’s many systems. If you are concerned about your child’s performance in school or at home, consider talking with one of our Child and Adolescent Psychologists here at Gyro Psychology Services, Inc. We can help you determine what your child needs to succeed academically, behaviorally, and emotionally. Please give us a call – we are here to help.

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services

Lacey, Washington


Health Disclaimer

Published on: October 24, 2012  

Tips for Students with Learning Disabilities

Having a learning disability can be stressful, but there are things you can do to try and lessen the stress school causes.



Tips for students with learning disabilities:

  • Get organized. The better organized you are the less overwhelming homework and projects will be.
  • Plan and budget time. If you know math homework takes you longer than other homework, give yourself adequate amount of time to finish it. This way, you won’t be stressing out when it’s due.
  • Use a planner! Keep track of when things are due.
  • Think small. Break up larger, long-term assignments into small, manageable chunks.
  • Take breaks. Get up and walk around, get yourself a snack, do something to give your mind a little time to rest.
  • Double check your work. Before you turn in anything, look over it for errors.
  • Take advantage of resources. Go to teachers, tutors, or your parents if you need extra help or clarification.
  • Know what time of day you study best. Plan your study time around then.
  • Try to develop a study routine. Pick a preferred time and place that you study best in. Be flexible with this of course, but it’s always good to know what environments you work best in.
  • Learn to cope emotionally. Dealing with a learning disability can cause you to feel anger, frustration, and sadness so it is important to know how to cope with these emotions so they don’t hinder you. Manage stress with relaxation techniques, deep breathing, and exercise.

Please take a look at the Resources section on our website for more information about learning disabilities & special education.  Give us a call if you suspect your child might have a learning disability, 360.236.0206.  We’d be happy to help!

Best Wishes,

Gyro Psychology Services, Inc.


Health Disclaimer

Published on: October 10, 2012  

I Think My Child Has a Learning Disability? What Do I Do?

As a parent or guardian you are the first to notice if something doesn’t seem right with your child. If you are concerned about how your child is progressing academically, look for some of these common signs:

  • Reluctance to take on reading or writing tasks
  • Weak memory skills
  • Slow work pace
  • Slow vocab growth
  • Consistent reading and spelling errors (e.g., letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), and substitutions (house/home))
  • Difficulty with math skills (e.g., transposes number sequences or confuses arithmetic signs)
  • Frequent misreading of information
  • Poor organizational skills
  • Problems forming letters or numbers
  • Easily confused by instructions
  • Reading comprehensions problems
  • Difficulty with handwriting
  • Poor grasp of abstract concepts
  • Trouble summarizing

It is normal to notice a few of these in your child, but if you notice several of them over a long period of time, it might be a sign of a learning disability.

How to Respond:

  • Collect information about your child’s performance. Meet with teachers, tutors, and school support staff to understand your child’s performance level. At home observe their ability to study and complete homework. Take note if you see them struggling in a specific area.
  • Have your child evaluated. You or the school can request to have your child evaluated for a learning disability at any time, but you have to provide written consent. School authorities will provide a comprehensive evaluation that can consist of: interviews, direct observation, reviews of child’s educational and medical history, assessment tests that evaluate areas of strength and weakness, and conferences with any professionals that work with your child.
  • Work as a team to help your child. If your child is shown to have a learning disability, they may be entitled to special education services. If eligible, a team of professionals will work with you to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for them. If your child does not qualify for special education, work with their teacher to develop an informal program to assist them.
  • Know your legal rights. You are allowed to request for an evaluation at any time and the school must comply within a certain period of time. If found to have a learning disability your child may qualify for an IEP or assistance under section 504. Look into the laws of your state regarding learning disabilities.

If you suspect a learning disability, it is important to respond quickly. Getting help for your child early can mean the difference between success and failure in school.

Please take a look at the Resources section on our website for more information about learning disabilities and special education.

Our October Blog series will focus on learning, school accommodations and other information to help your child improve their learning potential.

You can also find this and other information on our Facebook page.

Please give us a call if you suspect your child has a learning problem.  We’d be happy to help them reach their full potential!

Gyro Psychology Services, Inc.

Health Disclaimer

Published on: October 3, 2012  

What should you do if your child has a learning disability?

Happy October everyone! Most children have been in school for about a month. By now some of you may be starting to notice your child struggling in a subject area. Often these struggles can be addressed with a little extra help from the teacher or tutor, but it could also be a sign of a deeper problem, like a learning disability.

What are Learning Disabilities?

Learning disabilities are a group of neurological disorders that affect reading, writing, math and other skills needed to succeed in school. Children with learning disabilities often are of average or higher intelligence but have difficulty in a specific area. Difficulty with basic reading and language is the most common learning disability seen.

Learning disabilities should not be confused with other disabilities like mental retardation, autism or behavioral problems. Often attention disorders like ADD or ADHD and learning disabilities will occur at the same time but they are NOT the same thing.

While learning disabilities cannot be cured or “fixed,” with the right support and intervention, these children can succeed both in school and in the future.

Quick Tips for Parents:

  • Stay involved. Be in contact with your child’s teacher to stay up to date on their progress. Be a part of any and all changes made to their learning program and speak up if you feel like your child’s needs aren’t being met. You, the teacher, and the school support staff should be working as a team to help your child succeed.
  • Never lower your expectations. Often students with intellectual disabilities are given lower standards so it’s easier for caregivers and school staff to deal with them. This does more harm than good.
  • Learn about your child’s disability and try to put them in the most inclusive setting possible. Just because your child has a learning disability does not mean they need to be separated from others. When given the right resources, they can be just as successful as their peers. The school is required to provide education to your child in the least restrictive environment as possible. You are your child’s biggest advocate so don’t be afraid to standup for your child’s needs.
  • Be patient and understanding. Having a child with a learning disability can be frustrating at times. Sometimes it may seem that you’re trying extra hard to help with little success. Just remember it is not your fault or your child’s fault that they have this disability. If you need help, ask for it.
  • Work with your child at home. Show your child that reading and math can be fun. Read to them. Visit the library frequently. Play counting and word games. Integrate learning into your daily routine!
  • Encourage them. Give your child praise when they succeed and offer support when they are struggling. Help them with homework when necessary, but encourage them search for answers on their own.
  • Take time for yourself. While trying to help their children, often parents forget about their own needs. Set aside time to relax! You don’t need to be super mom/dad all the time.

Please take a look at the Resources section on our website for more information about learning disabilities and special education.

Our October Blog series will focus on learning, school accommodations and other information to help your child improve their learning potential.

You can also find this and other information on our Facebook page.

Please give us a call if you suspect your child has a learning problem.  We’d be happy to help them reach their full potential!

Gyro Psychology Services, Inc.

Health Disclaimer