Forty-one percent of American school children who receive special education services have learning disabilities, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. If your child is one of these 2.4 million kids, continuing their education at home is key to their progress at school. Games that focus on sensory play, physical movement and academic learning can boost your child's confidence and help her to stop struggling.
There isn't just one way to learn. Just because your child has a learning disability in one area doesn't mean that she's shut down across the board. Sensor games provide opportunities for kids with learning disabilities to expand the ways that they acquire information and experience the educational world in different ways. For example, if your child is struggling to identify sounds with letters, try a game that stands out in a sensory-rich way. Create letter cards that feature touchable pictures -- such as a silky snake for the letter S. Say the name of the letter and have him make the sound out loud, while he touches the alphabet shape on the card for reinforcement.
Let's Get Phsyical
Some children are kinesthetic learners, or learn best through movement-based activities. If your child falls into this category, help him to master developmental and academic tasks by getting up and hands-on. If your child is having trouble learning his letters, play alphabet body charades. Have him "act out" the letter by creatively forming it with his body. For example, he can make a Y by standing straight up and holding both arms over his head at slight angles. You can try a similar game for mathematics, replacing letter body shapes with numbers.
While video games as a whole may seem entirely noneducational, the American Psychological Association notes that some of these tech-based activities can actually help children with learning disabilities. This doesn't mean that every video game has educational merit for kids who are struggling in school. However, video games that are specifically made for children with learning disabilities -- such as the "Fast ForWord" video training program for dyslexic kids -- can build skills such grammar use and the ability to distinguish sounds.
Board Games and Classics
Some of the tried-and-true board games that you remember from your youth can also help your child with a learning disability to understand basic academic concepts. A simple board game such as Chutes and Ladders can help kids with number recognition, counting and sequencing, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities in the article "Fun Activities to Help Your Elementary School-Age Child Build Math Skills". Likewise, a good old-fashioned game of Go Fish can also help with number recognition and counting skills.
- National Center for Learning Disabilities: Learning Disability Fast Facts
- Able Play: The Benefits of Sensory Play for Children with Disabilities
- Helpguide.org: Helping Children With Learning Disabilities
- American Psychological Association: Undoing Dyslexia via Video Games
- National Center for Learning Disabilities: Fun Activities to Help Your Elementary School-Age Child Build Math Skills