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Aug 29, 2019

Healthy Living Looks at Early Assessments & Interventions for Learning Disabilities

By Monday, all children across the country will be back in the classrooms, getting ready to start a new academic year. Naturally, parents get nervous about the success of their child at the school. Last week, clinical psychologist Deshane Gutierrez explained why parents should focus on their child’s effort versus grades. In tonight’s Healthy Living, she explains why parents need to pay attention to signs of a struggle in school and the benefit of early intervention.


Marleni Cuellar reporting

It’s an unfortunate situation that happens all too often. A child struggling in school that unbeknownst to the parents may be suffering a learning difficulty or disorder. For this reason, clinical psychologist Deshane Gutierrez urges parents to pay attention to their child’s progress in school.


Deshane Gutierrez, Clinical Psychologist, Buttonwood Bay Medical Center

Deshane Gutierrez

“It’s important that parents, one: are cognizant of their child’s learning style. Knowing what are their strengths and what are their weaknesses. Asses where your child really is. You know what is the child struggling with. Is it just a particular topic? Is it a subject or is overall your child is struggling with reading then remedial will be the best option.”


It’s common for parents to use the measuring stick of older siblings or their educational journey to gauge the success of one child. But comparing children can have detrimental effects on a child who is struggling.


Deshane Gutierrez

“Your first child was getting 90s and hundreds. And then your second child is coming with 70′s and 80′s, “ih di scrape, ih no di do good enough. Because Charlie or Henry did it or it was much easier.” So then they’re younger child then becomes pressured that they are not good enough because they are comparing them. And feeling like I’m not doing as I should because mom isn’t happy or” or dad isn’t happy with the grades I have.”

One way to understand why your child is struggling is by getting them a screening assessment.


Deshane Gutierrez

“An assessment doesn’t have to be formal; it could be very informal just to see what really the child is struggling with. A child can be assessed for a pre-requisite for a learning disability for as young 4. Four years old, they’re early learning skills will help to develop a learning disability or having reading challenges so if you noticing when the child is reaching preschool the child is having difficulty with rhymes, difficulty with the sounds. Then those are already indications that okay. While some children learn differently, some faster than others, you still want to keep a relationship with the preschool teacher to see what they’re seeing within the child within the classroom setting as young as four years old. As young as four you can be assessed and get intervention so that you don’t have to wait until the child is standard five standard 3 or even in high-school to get the services that the child needs.”

Learning difficulties and disorders prevents a child from learning and using a skill effectively. Common learning disorders affect a child’s abilities to read, write express themselves, do math or their nonverbal skills. If undetected, it creates a gap in the child’s educational foundation and continues to negatively affect their performance as they age and move through school. To avoid a compounded problem at a later age, Deshane recommends early detection and intervention.


Deshane Gutierrez

“Imagine if you miss infant 1, infant 2, those basics. And now you’re in standard five it will take a longer time not impossible, but it just means that you’ll spend more financially because then they have to go to normal school then you have to pay for a tutor. You’ll want a tutor that is specialized in helping children with disabilities because that way they can develop a personalized plan based on that child’s needs. If your child has difficulty with reading for example, or if they have difficulty with some of the basics or basic concepts in language or for maths then that child may need remedial rather than just helping with just assignments at this point. Figuring out what does your child really need.”


If you suspect your child may have a learning disorder, then you must get a professional assessment. Luckily, in Belize, there are professionals like Deshane that offer these types of tests.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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