1. Own your differences.
You can't take appropriate risks if you don't accept the strengths and weaknesses of your brain. You may need to use the term "learning disability" to determine the details of your weaker areas and to access important accommodations, but you can rely on your learning
difference to be a key element of who you are as a member of our diverse community.
2. Accommodations are not cheating.
We are living in the age of
cognitive diversity, and this means we have to be ready, willing, and able to provide a wide range of accommodations and to err on the side of accommodations for all as a way to level the playing field. Consider "
asset-based accommodations," that highlight what your student does best. "Accommodations do not alter the content of assignments, give students unfair advantage, or, in the case of assessments, change what a test measures. They do make it possible for students with LD/ADHD to show what they know without being impeded by their disability (
Thinking Differently, p. 145)."
3. Find your people.
Learning differences can be isolating because they aren't visible; having a group of like-minded thinkers provides support, suggestions so you can make informed decisions, and the relief of knowing you are not alone.
4. Ask for help.
While you can learn from mistakes, learning how to ask for help is better. Don't wait until you fail to ask for help.
5. Learn something new.
Have your child show what process she uses to learn something new. Notice the choices she makes and what catches her attention. This will help you and your child develop insight into her metacognition. You may learn history best by making flash cards, but your child may learn best by debating the ideas aloud.
6. Monitor progress.
Cultivate the ability to monitor progress and employ strategies to self-correct.
7. Don't lower expectations.
Learning differences don't limit your ability to think. Support students by listening and providing the tools that allow them to work smarter.