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Games for Kids With Learning Disabilities

by Christina Schnell

The term "learning disability" is as broad as the term "physical disability." Learning disabilities affect some children's sense of space and counting, others have difficulty reading, still others struggle with appropriate social skills and reading facial expressions. Some struggle with all or several of the above areas. Playing games with your child to hone the areas where she struggles can make developing the necessary skills more fun and less punishing, according to the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

Categorizing

Categorizing is the ability to look a group of several different objects, words or numbers and group them by similar characteristics in different ways. According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America, categorizing is an important skill for everything from reading to math. Have younger children help categorize groceries as you're unpacking in the kitchen and make a game of seeing how many ways she can categorize them, by food type, by color and by size. Play this same game with small toys or even different bowls of candy or food.

Tangible Numbers

Understanding numbers as tangible concepts can help build math skills in kids with math-related learning disabilities, according to the Learning Disability Association of America. Games such as dominoes or Connect Four help kids visualize quantity and identify patterns, as sequencing games that require putting objects in order of biggest to smallest. For electronic apps, Common Sense Media recommends games that show the quantity of blocks and emphasize sequencing, such as Montessori Math or Shapes and Puzzles by Pirate Trio.

Integrated Reading

Many children with learning disabilities might be able to recite and recognize the letters of the alphabet, but have tremendous difficulty blending sounds and recognizing complete words. Write several rhyming words on separate note cards and underline the rhyming portion of each word. Ask your child to help you match all the words that rhyme and say them together as you collect the cards. When reading a picture book, ask your child to see how many times he can count a certain word that appears frequently. For electronic app games, try Smiley Sight or Phonics Genius, according to Common Sense Media.

Fine-motor Skills

Fine-motor integration is another area where many children with learning disabilities struggle, according to the Learning Disabilities Association of America. Cut narrow letters from soft sandpaper, and with her eyes closed, guide your child's fingers over the sandpaper and have her guess which letter she's feeling. Make a game of writing secret messages in pans of rice or shaving cream so that she experiences more tactile feedback than just writing on a piece of paper with a crayon. Electronic apps for fine-motor development, consider, Dexteria or A Writer, according to Common Sense Media.

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