How To Help Your Child with Learning Difficulties
Learning difficulties are not just a challenge for kids – they can be challenging for parents, too. When my oldest daughter was in 4th and 5th grade, we both struggled with her learning disability. I didn’t know what she needed. She felt stupid and we yelled a lot. I still feel guilty sometimes for how badly I handled it, but we did get help and understanding was the biggest part of that help. Is there anything you can do to help your child succeed in school? Here are some strategies for concerned parents for helping their children with learning difficulties do well in school.
Here are some strategies for concerned parents for helping their children with learning difficulties do well in school.
There is no Cure
As a parent, it may be tempting to try and make the learning difficulty “go away.” While there are things you can do to minimize your child’s struggles, the fact that he or she has a learning difficulty is not going to go away. This is all the more reason to learn coping strategies. Your child needs to be taught how to work with his or her disability, not ignore it.coping strategies. Your child (and you) needs to be taught how to work with his or her disability, not ignore it.
Learning Disability Happens Everywhere
When you help your child with homework, read books with him or her, and generally engage your child to help his or her learning, you are setting your child up for success beyond school. Children who understand their difficulty and have learned how to confront and deal with it may be more likely to succeed than those children who see themselves as helpless victims of an unfair challenge.
Shame or Acceptance?
Well-intentioned parents may try to keep a child’s learning difficulties secret. After all, they don’t want their child to be “labeled,” or they may want to avoid the possibility that their child will use the difficulty as a crutch or excuse. However, some experts believe that keeping the learning difficulty secret may send a message of shame and inadequacy. It’s said that the best approach is to honestly accept the difficulty, face it, and help your child understand and accept it also.
You can help your child overcome his or her learning difficulties by providing the healthiest lifestyle possible. In fact, experts have pointed out the direct impact that diet and exercise can have on a child’s developing brain. So look into giving your family whole, organic foods, providing playtime and exercise, and practicing the principles of fitness and health.
Limit Screen Time
There have been multiple studies showing the negative effect on the brain that excessive exposure to screen-based media (television, computer screens, etc.) can have. Limiting the time your child spends watching television, DVDs, YouTube, or playing computer games helps get his or her brain in the mode to learn.
How We Got Through It
In 5th grade, she was diagnosed with ADHD and we started learning what that really meant. Now, as a junior in high school, she does online classes with partial local interaction with teachers. Understanding how her brain works best has been the rout to her getting better grades and improving her self-esteem in general. Rather than believing that she was unintelligent and unworthy, we both worked with the school system to find an alternative. See how we made the decision to do online school here: Your Teen Wants to Drop Out of School?