The Parent Journey

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Be A First Responder For Your Child

 

Core to our value system here at Park Century is listening to our current parents, anticipating the journey for new parents and providing a support system that makes the discovery a little easier.   This is an overwhelmingly difficult time with endless information resources, and the decision for how to support your child's learning differences can be daunting.  If we could distill down the essentials we have learned as educators and parents, to give this process some clarity, here's what we'd like to share with you:

Image by Kim Cafferky

Trust your gut.

You know your child better than anyone else so listen to yourself. You may have your current school encouraging you to "wait & see" or you might be listening to others about the stigma of a special school. Trust your instinct that your child may need additional support and act on it.

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Act early.

The time your child has spent struggling with schoolwork and putting in the hours to barely keep up is slowly chipping away at their self-esteem and creating immeasurable stress on the family. The earlier you act on getting them the education they need to thrive, the sooner you can get your family back on track to joy.

Image by Hal Gatewood

Get a neuro-psych test.

This is probably the most valuable companion to your determination and decision for your child's educational needs.

A neuropsychological evaluation looks at how a person’s brain works,  measuring things like attention span, memory, and language skills. PCS requires this test with an application.  Book this test early because it can take time to get in and then get results.  Learn more.

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Your child does not need to be "fixed".

They are uncommonly bright and learn differently, with gifts and strengths worth celebrating.  Learning disabilities or differences are lifelong conditions that require remediation, accommodation, an awareness for developments in these differences, and the necessary support systems. With the right support, your child will gain the grit and resilience to self-advocate for how they learn.

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Get your child into a school where they are seen.

Your child learns differently. They are no less intelligent than any of their peers in mainstream school, they just have a unique learning DNA that doesn't respond to a one-size-fits-all teaching approach. Getting them into a specialized school, like PCS, will have them alongside other exceptionally bright kids and with teachers who teach them in the ways they need to learn and grow.

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Be kind to yourself.

The journey to discovering and dealing with  your child's learning differences can be emotionally draining and extremely stressful on the whole family. Parents can feel guilt and shame over why their child is not learning at grade level. Honor yourself for even starting this journey, and know you will find a supportive community of like-minded parents and an environment where learning differences are celebrated.

Common signs that your child may have learning disabilities/differences include the following*:

  • Problems reading and/or writing

  • Problems with math

  • Poor memory

  • Problems paying attention

  • Trouble following directions

  • Clumsiness

  • Trouble telling time

  • Problems staying organized
     

A child with a learning disability also may have one or more of the following:
 

  • Acting without really thinking about possible outcomes (impulsiveness)

  • “Acting out” in school or social situations

  • Difficulty staying focused; being easily distracted

  • Difficulty saying a word correctly out loud or expressing thoughts

  • Problems with school performance from week to week or day to day

  • Speaking like a younger child; using short, simple phrases; or leaving out words in sentences

  • Having a hard time listening

  • Problems dealing with changes in schedule or situations

  • Problems understanding words or concepts
     

*These signs alone are not enough to determine a learning disability. Only a professional can diagnose these.

Learning Disabilities & related disorders defined

Dyslexia


A specific learning disability that affects reading and related language-based processing skills. Dyslexia is characterized by deficits in accurate and fluent word recognition. Individuals with dyslexia struggle with word recognition, decoding, and spelling. To read more on Dyslexia, vist Understood.org.




Dysgraphia


A specific learning disability that affects a person’s handwriting ability and fine motor skills. It impairs the ability to produce legible and automatic letter writing and often numeral writing, the latter of which may interfere with math. Dysgraphia is rooted in difficulty with storing and automatically retrieving letters and numerals. To read more, visit Understood.org.




Dyscalculia


A specific learning disability that affects a person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts. Dyscalculia is associated with weaknesses in fundamental number representation and processing, which results in difficulties with quantifying sets without counting, using nonverbal processes to complete simple numerical operations, and estimating relative magnitudes of sets. To read more, visit Understood.org




ADHD


A disorder that includes difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior and hyperactivity. Although ADHD is not considered a learning disability, research indicates that from 30-50 percent of children with ADHD also have a specific learning disability, and that the two conditions can interact to make learning extremely challenging. To learn more, visit Understood.org




Processing disorders


These fall under 3 types: auditory, language, visual. An auditory processing disorder (APD) interferes with an individual's ability to analyze or make sense of information taken in through the ears. Language disorders make it hard to use and understand spoken language. A visual processing, or perceptual, disorder refers to a hindered ability to make sense of information taken in through the eyes. Learn more at Undertood.org




Executive Functioning


Affects, planning, organization, strategizing, attention to details and managing time and space. Although not a learning disability, different patterns of weakness in executive functioning are almost always seen in the learning profiles of individuals who have specific learning disabilities or ADHD. To learn more, visit Understood.org




Dyspraxia


A disorder that is characterized by difficulty in muscle control, which causes problems with movement and coordination, language and speech, and can affect learning. Although not a learning disability, Dyspraxia often exists along with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia or ADHD.





Next Steps

 

Once you receive your child's test results, you'll then determine where your child is going to need additional support in their learning programs. You could choose to piece together a team of outside specialists to supplement their current learning program or explore schools like Park Century that will tailor the curriculum to each child's individual needs and will have many of these specialists all under one roof. The trained staff at PCS can assess your results to determine if the school is a good fit, and guide you in your next steps.

Top Resource Links
Developmental milestones by grade*:

 Kindergarten

 1st Grade

2nd & 3rd Grade

4th & 5th Grade

Middle school

High school

*understood.org

Learning Disorder vs Learning Disability?

Specific learning disabilities" (SLD) and "learning differences" are terms used interchangeably to describe children who learn differently.

Diagnostic testing

Identifies how learning differences affect students.
 

Evaluates best ways to approach a student’s learning style.

 

Recommends effective learning programs and testing accommodations.

 

Test early, and explore both private testing and through your school.

Neuro-psych
test

Considered the most comprehensive type of assessment and  completed by neuropsychologists

 

Provides an in-depth assessment of skill and ability linked to brain function.

 

It also includes a review of medical and other records, interviews with the child, and the administration of tests .

 

PCS requires this test.

Park Century & testing

The specialists at

PCS can review  and will guide our parents honestly to the best education fit. 

We also look at results of a psychoeducational evaluation, the WISC V (Wechsler Intelligence Scale)  and a student’s IEP (Individualized Education Program). 


 

Visit our testing page for more details.

 

Park Century School does not discriminate in its admissions policies on the basis of race, sex, color, creed or national origin.

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