Honest Helping Children with Learning Disabilities
All children need love, encouragement, and support, and for kids with learning disabilities, such positive reinforcement can help ensure that they emerge with a strong sense of self-worth, confidence, and the determination to keep going even when things are tough.
Overcoming a Learning Disabilities
In searching for ways to help children with learning disabilities, remember that you are looking 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 they need 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.
Always remember that the way you behave and respond to challenges has a big impact on your child. A good attitude won’t solve the problems associated with a learning disability, but it can give your child hope and confidence that things can improve and that they will eventually succeed.
Tips for dealing with your child’s learning disability
Keep things in perspective. A learning disability isn’t insurmountable. Remind yourself that everyone faces obstacles. It’s up to you as a parent to teach your child how to deal with those obstacles without becoming discouraged or overwhelmed. Don’t let the tests, school bureaucracy, and endless paperwork distract you from what’s really important—giving your child plenty of emotional and moral support.
Become your own expert. Do your own research and keep abreast of new developments in learning disability programs, therapies, and educational techniques. You may be tempted to look to others—teachers, therapists, doctors—for solutions, especially at first. But you’re the foremost expert on your child, so take charge when it comes to finding the tools they need in order 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. It may be frustrating at times, but by remaining calm and reasonable, yet firm, you can make a huge difference for your child.
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 humor, your child is likely to embrace your perspective—or at least see the challenges as a speed bump, rather than a roadblock. Focus your energy on learning what works for your child and implementing it the best you can.
Helping children with learning disabilities tip 1: Take charge of your child’s education
In this age of endless budget cuts and inadequately funded schools, your role in your child’s education is more important than ever. Don’t sit back and let someone else be responsible for providing your child with the tools they need to learn. You can and should take an active role in your child’s education.
If there is demonstrated educational need, the school is required by law to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that delivers some educational benefit, but not necessarily one that maximizes student achievement. Parents who want the best for their kids may find this standard frustrating. Understanding special education laws and your school’s guidelines for services will help you get the best support for your child at school.
Your child may be eligible for many kinds of accommodations and support services, but the school might not provide services unless you ask for them.
Tips for communicating with your child’s school:
Being a vocal advocate for your child can be challenging. You’ll need superior communication and negotiation skills, and the confidence to defend your child’s right to a proper education.
Clarify your goals. Before meetings, write down what you want to accomplish. Decide what is most important, and what you are willing to negotiate.
Be a good listener. Allow school officials to explain their opinions. If you don’t understand what someone is saying, ask for clarification. “What I hear you saying is…” can help ensure that both parties understand.
Offer new solutions. You have the advantage of not being a “part of the system,” and may have new ideas. Do your research and find examples of what other schools have done.
Keep the focus. The school system is dealing with a large number of children; you are only concerned with your child. Help the meeting stay focused on your child. Mention your child’s name frequently, don’t drift into generalizations, and resist the urge to fight larger battles.
Stay calm, collected and positive. Go into the meeting assuming that everyone wants to help. If you say something you regret, simply apologize and try to get back on track.
Communicate with family and friends about learning Disabilities
Some parents keep their child’s learning disability a secret, which can, even with the best intentions, look like shame or guilt. Without knowing, extended family and friends may not understand the disability or think that your child’s behavior is stemming from laziness or hyperactivity. Once they are aware of what’s going on, they can support your child’s progress.
Within the family, siblings may feel that their brother or sister with a learning disability is getting more attention, less discipline and preferential treatment. Even if your other children understand that the learning disability creates special challenges, they can easily feel jealous or neglected.
Parents can help curb these feelings by reassuring all of their children that they are loved, providing homework help, and by including family members in any special routines for the child with a learning disability.