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Does Your Child Need a Tutor? Have Learning Disability? Have a Reading Disability? Ten Signs to Watch For.

By Ann Dolin, M.Ed, President of Educational Connections, Inc.
Ten Signs your child needs a tutor:
  1. Parent can no longer assist with content (seen especially in high school)
  2. Inability to read a grade level book (for example, the classroom books brought home weekly)
  3. Teacher or counselor brings up declining grades, concerns, missed homework, acting out, misbehavior, inattention, sleeping in class, avoidance, anxiety
  4. Student does not seem confident with abilities or performance in school, loses interest in learning, exhibits negative self talk
  5. Shows signs of being an advanced learner, or a gifted/talented student and needs enrichment instruction
  6. Shifting attitudes at home during homework and study time—increasing conflicts at home between parent and child over school work, performance, etc.
  7. Borderline grades and/or standardized test scores
  8. Your child seems to have an intense fear of failure and criticism from peers and teachers, a fear that may lead to extreme reluctance to go to school
  9. You want to perform well on high stakes tests, such as the SAT, ACT, SSAT, etc
  10. Teacher mentions that your child is not meeting his or her abilities
Ten signs your child might have a learning disability:
  1. Your child consistently does not meet developmental milestones for language, reading, writing, fine and gross motor skills, and social skills
  2. Your child is inconsistent in completing tasks in the allotted time given by teachers, caregivers, or other professionals—tasks are incomplete and inaccurate
  3. You notice your child continues to transpose letters, numbers, and symbols past the fourth grade
  4. Your child consistently avoids reading, math, writing, socializing, etc…this is often a sign that it is significantly difficult for them
  5. You child seems confused by directions and seems to have difficulty remembering information presented verbally and visually
  6. Your child has difficulty remembering basic facts, tasks, processes, and perquisite skills
  7. Your child has an unstable pencil grip, illegible handwriting, weak spelling, and the inability to understand grammar and it's use
  8. Your child has poor coordination, awareness of physical surroundings, understanding of body language, facial expressions, and social cues.
  9. Your child has consistent difficulty with the organization and expression of thoughts in writing or other assignments
  10. Your child can not effectively organize materials or space, frequently loses or misplaces assignments, can’t break down tasks into manageable pieces, and has difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next (especially out of routine).
Ten signs your child might have a reading disability:
  1. Your child has difficulty rhyming in pre-school
  2. Trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors, shapes
  3. Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
  4. Confuses basic words (run, eat, want)
  5. Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home)
  6. Even though the student can perform math functions, the child can not interpret word problems
  7. Reverses letter sequences (soiled/solid, left/felt)
  8. Slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other spelling strategies
  9. Avoids reading silently and/or orally
  10. Trouble summarizing and open-ended questions on tests

Ann Dolin, M.Ed is the director of the tutoring company Educational Connections, Inc.She speaks on the topic of organization and study skills, and consults with parents on various educational topics. You can reach her at:703-934-8282 or

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


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