All you want, is for your child to be happy and healthy. Every day, you get up and take care of them. Every day, you provide love, safety, and encouragement. Every day, you try to be the best parent that you can be.
But there’s one thing in your child’s life that you’re not sure how to deal with yet — their learning disability. It’s a complex thing that requires careful consideration and plenty of patience. Your approach to it is crucial.
We’re here to help you make the first steps that will ensure your child grows into a confident, capable, and happy person that they are meant to be.
Putting Learning Disabilities in Context
Your child is not stupid or lazy, no matter what malicious people tell you. They’re not worse than other kids, they’re not going to be miserable, and if you’re there to help them, they’re not going to have a hard life.
So, what does it really mean for your child to have a learning disability? It means they’ll need extra support to accomplish certain tasks. Some children will need a little extra support, some will need a lot. You will need to be patient and kind. You will need to have relentless, unyielding faith in your kid.
But the goal here isn’t for you to always be there to step in — the goal is to make sure your child learns the skills they need to thrive. Being able to do things on their own is the first step to building kids’ confidence.
Easing anxiety around education
There are many cultures around the world that place emphasis on education, but they do it in a different way. In Germany, children spend more time learning through play. In Sweden, visual and interactive lessons are slowly replacing old school teaching methods. In Asia, learning is a cultural thing — for example, modern education in China starts very early on, and children are encouraged to keep working on their personal growth since preschool.
What this means is that there are more ways than one to approach education, and it’s up to you to figure out which approach works for your child. People with learning disabilities usually find standardized schooling difficult not because they’re stupid, but because they simply have different needs. As a parent, it’s important to consider several methods and teach your child to see learning as a joyful thing, not a nightmarish chore.
Talking to Your Child
The first and foremost thing to do is to explain to your child what learning disabilities are and what this means for them. It is essential that you are realistic and factual. Do not try to hide it from them, but also do not make it more than it is.
Having a learning disability can be very difficult on a child, especially due to the hard times they might experience in school. Their grades will most likely suffer and there is a great chance that their peers will be less than understanding about their learning disability.
This is why it is essential that your child understands their learning disability does not make them stupid or less valuable. They are simply a tad different. They might actually be more intelligent than children who do great in school.
Make sure they are aware of this. Make sure they are aware that their learning disability should not limit them in any way or fashion.
Reaching Out to Experts
Depending on when you notice that your child might have a learning disability and when they are diagnosed with it, you will want to approach experts who will do everything they can to help them.
For instance, some children are diagnosed even before they go to school and in such cases, enrolling a child into an early learning centre can be the best thing for them. There, they will interact with experienced professionals who will know how to approach a child with learning disabilities and how to guide them in a direction where they will feel appreciated and valued. Moreover, in such centres, children with disabilities can adopt certain practices that will help them in their future education.
It is, of course, far more likely that your child will be diagnosed in school and the good news is that there is no shortage of people to turn to if this is the case. Pretty much everyone involved in education is well-trained and equipped to work with children with learning disabilities. This means that your child will get every support and help they will need to overcome their learning disability and help them learn everything they need and want to learn.
The most important thing is to remember that you are all in it together and that you all have your child’s best interest at heart.
We live in an age where learning disabilities are finally seen in the right context and where children who have them are not automatically ostracized or labelled as less worthy.
And that is a huge thing.
Lilly Miller is a Sydney-based graphic designer and a passionate writer. Loves everything about home decor, art history and baking. Shares home with two loving dogs and a gecko named Rodney.