Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs from Parents Regarding Learning Differences

The term “learning difference” is new to me. What exactly does that mean?

About 20% of all children struggle with school-related skills like reading, mathematics, spelling and writing. They also often have difficulties associated with organizational skills, paying attention, studying independently, and following directions. Despite being smart, capable, and motivated, these particular children learn differently and need to be taught differently.

What are some examples of learning differences?

Some of the more commonly diagnosed learning differences include dyslexia (reading, spelling, and comprehension), dyscalculia (mathematics), dysgraphia (written expression and organization of work on paper), and ADHD (attention). Almost all of these challenges include difficulties with time management, self-regulation when working on tasks, and remembering important concepts and facts.

How early can I tell if my child is struggling with a learning difference?

It’s now possible to identify “high risk” characteristics as early as kindergarten ages. At 5 or 6 years of age, students can already begin showing frustration with schoolwork, with learning the alphabet and reading basic words, and with using a pencil, crayons, or scissors with good coordination. Social skills can be under-developed and ability to keep up with others in class can be sources of concern to Moms and Dads.

My 2nd grader has fallen behind in reading and we’ve been told he’ll “catch up” eventually. When?

Sadly, too many children with a diagnosed learning difference won’t catch up. By the time they reach 4th grade, they may be two or more grade levels behind their classmates in key skills such as reading. Schools typically don’t teach basic reading skills after early elementary grades, so “catching up” is unlikely… unless a proven specialized intervention is provided.

My child’s frustration with schoolwork is starting to affect her behavior. What’s happening?

It’s unfortunately the truth that struggling students can begin acting out, and their distractibility and disorganization can cause them to “get into trouble.” Remember, children like your daughter are intelligent, and she can recognize that she’s falling behind her friends. That can be quite unsettling to children who know how important school success is.

So, what should I do if I think my son needs a teaching difference?

We encourage you to visit The de Paul School and tour our school. Let us be a resource for your family, whether or not your child enrolls at our school. We will show you our specially-designed and calm classrooms, designed to meet your child’s needs. We will show you how our carefully developed teaching methods are presented by a wonderful faculty of instructors. We’ll also share information which documents our successes in changing children’s – and families’ – lives.