special needs and ncld

Special Needs Resources for Parents

Thank you to everyone who took time to give me feedback on my last sponsored post on Special Needs Resources for Parents from The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). Many of you left kind comments that this was useful stuff so I will continue to highlight resources from the NCLD.

As this is the holiday season, I thought I would start with some timely topics to help reduce the stress during this busy time of year.


How to Deal With Relatives Who Don’t “Believe” in Learning and Attention Issues

“She has such a hard time controlling that child.”

“Oh, it’s only a stage. He’ll grow out of it.”

If you hear frustrating comments like this, here’s some great advice from NCLD on how to respond:

When you get these kinds of comments, take a deep a breath and try not to be defensive. Instead, try to talk with your mother or whoever is doubting you. Keep in mind this person may be coming from a well-intentioned place and may not want to see flaws in your child. Sometimes generational differences can be a factor. Issues like ADHD may not have been as well known or as widely discussed when you were a kid. There may also be an element of denial. More here.



How to Help Your Child Pack for a Trip

Giving kids the responsibility to choose what to bring can fuel their excitement and help lessen anxiety about the trip. Use these tips for helping kids pack.

Help your child envision what the trip is going to look like

  • Where are you headed? Describe each destination in detail.
  • How are you getting there? What kind of transportation will you take?
  • What time of day will you leave and arrive?
  • What might you experience along the way? Discuss weather changes and particular sensory activities, such as sandy beaches, noisy amusement parks and cold ski slopes.
  • Who’ll be there? Are there relatives or friends your child will know? If you’re traveling to a theme park, will she see familiar characters?

Brainstorm Needs and Nice-to-Haves…Together

It can be hard for kids to anticipate what they’ll need in an unfamiliar place. Work with your child to make a list of must- and maybe-bring items, keeping in mind each phase of the trip. You can try separating the list into the following buckets:

  • Clothing: Encourage dressing in layers for comfort. Remember bathing suits and other extreme weather accessories.
  • Activities: Consider quiet, contained toys and games that entertain for long periods. These might include coloring materials, puzzles, books, non-messy crafts and electronic games. If you’ll be meeting friends or family, include a group activity.
  • Electronics: Think about packing laptops, tablets, iPods, headphones or cameras for the trip. (Don’t forget chargers and batteries!)
  • Comfort items: Bring favorite stuffed animals, a nightlight or flashlight, or a white-noise machine to dull loud spaces. (For kids who have trouble with transitions and new experiences, these comfort items are key.)
  • Toiletries: Try mini-bottles of the products you use every day. If you’re flying, remember that carry-on liquids must conform to Transportation Security Administration standards.
  • Medication: Include prescriptions, first-aid basics, sun block and bug spray. Keep them within easy reach throughout your trip. If you’re traveling abroad, be sure to check the Travelers’ Health page of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
  • Snacks and drinks: If your child has sensory processing issues that limit her diet, it’s important to pack what you know she’ll eat.

More advice here.

NCLD helping kids pack for a trip


Now that Common Core is being implemented in the United States, NCLD has some great articles. I chose this one since I know there is a lot of anxiety around the Common Core.

For students with LD who receive special education services, the widespread adoption of the CCSS is sure to accelerate a practice that links the development of a student’s individualized education program (IEP) directly to grade-level standards—a process known as “standards-based IEPs.”

According to Sharen Bertrando, Special Education Development Program Specialist at WestEd and co-author of the new book,Teaching English Learners and Students with Learning Difficulties in an Inclusive Classroom: A Guidebook for Teachers, “the Common Core gives us an opportunity to encourage widespread implementation of more effective practices, because the standards are so flexible, so broadly written, and they take an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to learning that is aligned to real-life application.”

The CCSS consist of what Bertrando calls “staircased” learning progressions, building students’ knowledge and skills with increasing sophistication year by year until they achieve college and career readiness. According to Bertrando, such an approach is particularly helpful for students with LD, because it is often difficult for them to understand things that are not real or concrete. “The more integrated, ‘real-life’ approach engendered by the CCSS tends to be more motivating for many of these students.”  More here.

Common Core and IEPs


What are your questions for the NCLD? They are listening and asking for your guidance. If you leave me a question as a comment below, I will forward it on to the nice folks at the NCLD and they might create an article just for you!

special needs and ncld

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Thanks for putting together an effective resource list for parents with special needs children who are so often confused as to where to turn and how to get information.

  2. This is such a great post. We have many families with special needs students who enroll in our programs, though we don’t have too many great resources for them. We will be sharing this with these families, thank you!

    • Thank you so much for sharing Scott!! And please let the families know that the National Center for Learning Disabilities is seeking feedback on what particular resources or questions families have. They will use this feedback to create more resources. So feel free to send them an email or contact them via social media or leave me a comment and I’ll be sure to let them know.
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