first consider the two physical senses that
impact learning: vision and hearing.
A child needs good vision. Even with
corrective eyeglasses, remember that some
reading difficulties result from weak visual tracking and may require therapeutic
treatment. Please note, however, that “
vision therapy” does not “cure” “dyslexia,
a neurological condition associated with
how the brain processes sound-to-symbol
It is also important to have your child’s
hearing checked, because adequate language development depends upon the
child’s ability to clearly hear, speak, and attend to spoken language. Even with normal
hearing, a child may not have the ability to
process mentally what he has heard.
An undiagnosed language or communication processing deficit spills into every area
of your child’s world—especially schoolwork
since language comprehension and usage are
essential for success in reading, listening, remembering, following directions, and even
thinking through math problems!
A student with language comprehension
or processing deficits may display unprovoked outbursts, frustration, or inattention.
There are three primary forms of language-based learning disabilities:
Expressive language delays make it hard
for the child to retrieve a particular word,
or to put ideas into words, oral or written.
Receptive language delays make it hard
for the child to acquire new information
or to understand what he reads or hears,
so he cannot remember new information.
Although that child may seem disobedient
or forgetful, his language-based disability
makes him unable to process (or recall)
what he heard!
Finally, there are non-verbal learning disabilities where a student who has average-to-above average intelligence struggles to
interpret non-verbal cues such as body language and/or facial expressions.
Do any of these problem areas resemble
your child’s difficulties?
If you suspect a language-based delay,
look up a symptom checklists online. It is
important to seek outside help or diagnos-
tic testing promptly! Many homeschool
families choose to “wait for the struggling
learner to mature.” Research shows that
early interventions consistently generate
better long-term learning outcomes. Time
you spend waiting to help your child cre-
ates lost opportunities for learning!
To help yourself understand why your child
is struggling, use the questions in this article to begin an objective inventory of your
child’s present strengths and weaknesses—
subject by subject. Focus primarily on oral
and written language, math, and reading.
Describe specific academic behaviors or
deficits causing you particular concern using your objective inventory.
If you choose to seek professional help,
find a homeschool-friendly educational
consultant or professional who will do comprehensive diagnostic testing. They will interview you about your child’s educational
and medical history, emotional traumas,
early learning behaviors, and social skills.
Remember that small “insignificant” details
help to uncover the true root of the child’s
difficulties. Once they administer the diagnostic tests, the professional will prepare a
report. Ask for the Lord’s wisdom to interpret and use those results.
As you considered the possibilities causing your child’s struggles, are you closer to
solving the mystery of your child’s failure
to progress? If so, you can begin to make
changes that will help your child learn.
Editor’s Note: The strategies above are but a
small sample of teaching tips in my new book,
Teaching a Child with Special Needs at
Home and at School. See www.Amazon.com.
Judi Munday, M.A., M.Ed. has been an
educational consultant for seventeen years
helping families homeschooling children
with special needs. Visit Judi’s website www
. helpinschool.net to see more. Judi has a
heart to equip families to meet their child’s
special needs! Check out her newest book:
Teaching a Special Needs Child at Home
and at School on Amazon to learn simple
but effective instructional strategies that really work for students with learning disabilities in reading, math, and writing, language
delays, and high-function autism.
www.TheOldSchoolhouse.com Special Needs Homeschooling • Fall 2017 127
Be equipped to defend your
faith and help others do the
Small “insignificant” details help to uncover the
true root of the child’s difficulties.