ALL children need love, encouragement and support.
For kids with learning disabilities, such positive reinforcement can help ensure that they grow up with a strong sense of self-worth, confidence and the determination to keep going.
In searching for ways to help children with learning disabilities, look for ways to help them help themselves.
Your job as a parent is not to “cure” the learning disability, but to give your child the social and emotional tools he or she needs to work through challenges. In the long run, facing and overcoming a challenge such as a learning disability can help your child grow stronger and more resilient.
Remember that the way you behave and respond to challenges has a big impact on your child. A good attitude will not solve the problems associated with a learning disability, but it can give your child hope and confidence that things can improve and that he or she will eventually succeed.
Tips for dealing with your child’s learning disability
- Keep things in perspective. A learning disability is not insurmountable. Remind yourself that everyone faces obstacles. It is up to you as a parent to teach your child how to deal with those obstacles without becoming discouraged or overwhelmed. Do not let the tests, school and endless paperwork distract you from what is really important, which is emotional and moral support to your child.
- Become your own expert. Do your own research and keep abreast of new developments in learning disability programmes, therapies and educational techniques. You may be tempted to look to others – teachers, therapists, doctors – for solutions. But you are the foremost expert on your child. Take charge when it comes to finding the tools the child needs to learn.
- Be an advocate for your child. You may have to speak up time and time again to get special help for your child. Embrace your role as a proactive parent and work on your communication skills. Remain calm and reasonable and you can make a huge difference.
- Remember that your influence outweighs all others. Your child will follow your lead. If you approach learning challenges with optimism, hard work and a sense of humour, your child is likely to embrace your perspective. Focus your energy on learning what works for your child.
Your child is not defined by his or her learning disability. It represents one area of weakness, but there are many more areas of strengths. Focus on your child’s gifts and talents.
Nurture the activities where he or she excels and make plenty of time for them.