6 Things Children with Learning Disabilities Would Like You to Know
If you’ve noticed your child struggles with persistent learning difficulties (writing, reading, mathematical reasoning, etc.) during formal years of schooling, they may be suffering from a learning disability. Symptoms like poor written expression with little or no clarity, struggling to remember facts, slow or effortful reading, inaccurate mathematical reasoning, or other academic skills with levels well below average are the first signs of one’s learning issues and should be addressed appropriately.
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Although advising with experts in learning disabilities is the first step towards helping your child live a happy, productive life, there are also a few more things you should consider when it comes to their development and a fulfilled life.
Here are 6 things kids with learning disabilities would like you to know:
They Are Not Their Disorder
What most parents take a long time to understand is that, if their kids are showing any signs of learning difficulties, they are not being nasty or doing it on purpose. For your child to feel accepted and loved, and develop a healthy attitude towards their limitations, you need to understand that a disorder/disability is a single component of a person, not the entire person.
Don’t ever allow your child to be defined by their disability, i.e., for the limitation to take control over everything in their lives. Instead, cultivate the culture of acceptance, understanding of what’s happening, and a culture of finding solutions.
It’s Not Your Fault
Scolding a child with a learning disability is wrong – and so is doing the same thing to the parent of that child.
Parents tend to blame themselves for anything that’s happening to their offspring which is neither productive nor necessary. Why? Because:
a) Learning disabilities are disorders like acne, diabetes, or any other and can be lessened or solved when approached appropriately
b) You, as a parent, did nothing wrong to cause your child’s disability
When you start feeling bad about the situation you and your child are in, just remind yourself that it’s not anyone’s fault.
Their Feelings Count, Too
If a child has a learning disability that doesn’t, any way, connect to any type of emotional disability or delay. Negating/ignoring your child’s emotions is detrimental. A healthy child’s emotional well-being is as equally important for their proper development as is their physical or mental being. Since, unfortunately, you won’t be able to control your child’s teacher’s behavior or the behavior of their peers, you can at least make sure their siblings support them at home, their family, and you – the parents.
Punishments (Verbal/Physical) Won’t Make Them Learn Any Faster
Every parent must understand that their children’s limitations aren’t intentional and therefore, they shouldn’t and cannot be treated as such. If your child is struggling, yelling at them or physically hurting them won’t change absolutely anything in their progress. If anything, it’ll only worsen the way they feel and perceive their limitations. It’s of utmost importance to be understanding and patient, as some things may take your child longer to learn. Reward them with gifts or praise, even for little things – it’ll mean a lot.
Little Accomplishments Mean a Lot to Them
Usually, what seems like a no big deal to adults can be a significant accomplishment to a child, particularly to a child who is struggling. You’ll help your child create bigger, greater accomplishments by noticing even the smallest ones. Make a big thing out of little achievements and watch your child grow with confidence. If you show them you believe they’ll succeed, then they will too. And, most importantly – even when things get super hard for your child (and you!), don’t give up on them.
Pets Can Be Super Helpful for Them
Pet therapy is a well-known method that not only helps children with learning disabilities but is also very beneficial for other disorders, diagnosis and mental difficulties such as depression, anxiety, etc. too. How exactly are pets helpful for a child with a learning disability? Aside from the pleasure in companionship and friendship, holding (and petting) a dog or cat has physical benefits of touch, and it helps a child’s overall sense of well-being. Knowing they are loved (by their pets), and that they’ve got a friend to lean to will mean the world to them.
Being a parent to a child with a learning disability is not easy and it may require more energy and patience than it normally would. However, with the right attitude, you can can organize things in a way that everyone enjoys your child’s childhood, and make the best of it.