Do you remember a particularly ‘slow’ child who was chastised and mocked by certain teachers every time? You might remember them not by their names, but by their notebooks littered with glaring red marks and poor grades. And unfortunately, you might remember laughing at them for being too slow and stupid.
Now fast forward to your life, twenty years hence the events at school. You’re a proud parent to a robust child. However…your child is that slowpoke at school now. You’re exasperated. Exhausted. You’ve tried every trick in the book to diagnose why your child inverts all their Ps and 9s. But to no avail. You’re in a tizzy and feel helpless that you’re not able to bring up a ‘normal’ child. You’re thinking about Karma, maybe. And you curse it. But how will it help your child conquer the massive hurdle their school education has become?
The Curious Case of Learning Disorders
Every child needs love, support, and encouragement in anything they are doing or are trying to do. The need becomes greater in the case of children with learning disabilities.
Frankly speaking, even though learning disorders in children are not uncommon, but the social stigma against them survives to this day. Feel free to blame society’s obsession with instantaneous results, accuracy, and achievement. You might remember accepting defeat with regards to your child’s future. However, while your reaction is normal enough like other parents who encounter learning disorders in children, you must learn to tilt towards breaking the pattern.
It’s about time we learn to accept that maybe, our ideals of a trophy child are not high and perfect. Learning disorders like dyslexia, ADHD, dyscalculia, processing deficits require due patience and care to overcome them. Things might be testing for both children and parents while they navigate this ultra tricky terrain. Remember, impatience, frustration, and sadness are quick to strike while you are on your way to face learning disorders.
Despite depictions in media like Taare Zameen Par, sensitivity about learning disorders hasn’t been able to permeate society’s thick skin. Children might feel discouraged due to peers’ comments and their own helplessness- however, it’s time to support them when they need it the most.
There isn’t a cure for learning disabilities but ways to manage them which helps children learn and thrive in life. Therefore, Podium School wishes to extend support towards parents and children. What parents need to do is not find ways to “cure” the disability but help their child with the necessary tools to work through the challenges they are facing. Overcoming a challenge would only make your child grow stronger and resilient to any adversities that may arise. Read on to find out how can you help your child conquer learning disorders.
What Can Parents Do to Help Children Through Learning Disorders?
Keep things in perspective
We all face obstacles every day, some greater than others- and learning disorders are the same. It’s up to the parent to teach the child to not get discouraged by those obstacles and move forward. While we begin the efforts to assess learning disorders, things might be difficult to sustain. However, be there with your child- understand that they are as clueless as they can be and it’s not their fault.
Positive reinforcement can help kids to be motivated. It should come down to the parent to provide the child with something to hold onto during difficult times so that it does not get them down and they do not lose hope. Hope is the light we hold onto when times are dark. Keeping things in perspective also means not rushing into things. Conquering learning disabilities will require patience and perseverance. You may also seek help from certified child counselors and therapists. In case, you’re skeptical, here’s how to be more open to child therapy.
Be an advocate for your little one
A child would always look up to their parents. Therefore, it becomes supremely important to be a proactive and indulgent one. When children suffer from learning disabilities, it is important to put a great deal of effort into working on your communication skills.
It will become imminent and a necessity to speak up time and again for the betterment and getting special help for your child. It might be frustrating at times to repeat certain processes over and over to help your children. However, imperative to stay calm, empathetic, and composed to get through. This in turn would bring a positive change in your child.
Research Well on Learning Disorders
Keep yourself updated with all the new developments happening in the field of learning difficulties. There are several child therapy programs, online and offline support groups, and educational techniques for children with disabilities. It will always be more tempting to look outside for the solution to your child’s difficulties but that isn’t where we should look. Before looking out, we need to look at our own relationship with children for solutions. A parent is a foremost friend to their child, so take charge and find out the tools which would help your child grow into a confident and strong adult.
Your Own Influence
Your child will follow your lead no matter what. A child takes their first step in the step of their parents. Therefore, if you look at learning disabilities with an optimistic approach your child is bound to do the same. If you take the challenges coming your way with a fun approach, hard work, and humor your child is more likely to embrace the perspective, instead of running the other way screaming.
It would be like a speed bump on the long road to success. Focus your energy on learning what works for your child and what doesn’t and implementing the one’s bringing out the best in your child. Combatting with learning disorders works best when you focus on the strengths rather than the weaknesses.
If the strengths are helped to flourish, it would outweigh and obliterate the weaknesses to a point where we don’t even notice them. A learning disability represents one area of weakness, whereas there are multiple areas of strength in a person.
Make Time for Your Child to Combat It Together
A child with a learning disability is ‘more work’, but that is no excuse. A parent must find time to spend with their child to support them through the challenge. Manage your time in such a way that you have plenty of time to spend with your little one, in the mornings and at night.
A loved child is a happy child. There is nothing worse than a child feeling neglected and unloved. Spending time with your child would lead to him finding the strength in combatting their learning disorders.
Communicate with Your Child’s School
Communicate with the school authorities and teachers and clarify your goals, making them understand your requirement. School success isn’t the final goal, however, a supportive school experience will definitely play a huge role in shaping your child’s self-esteem and worldview.
Make sure they understand this and adjust their pedagogy to fit your child. Feel free to engage the student counselor and special educators at school to assist your child through learning disorders.
You’re Important Too
Finally, take care of yourself well. Usually, we do not assess the toll of learning disabilities on parents while we concentrate on how they are unable to bring up their children normally. The obsession with being ‘normal’ always finds a finger to point out the ‘imperfect’ human experience- which is not a bed of roses as people might claim to be.
It’s quite easy to get caught up in the needs of your child while forgetting your own. If you don’t take care of yourself, there is a risk you would burn out. It’s important to tend to your physical and emotional needs to be in a healthy space for your child. A stressed-out, exhausted, and emotionally depleted parent is of no help to a child. Your friends, family members can be supportive teammates if you find a way to include them and ask for help when needed.
Battling learning disabilities is not an easy route. Moreover, it doesn’t have immediate solutions. Therefore, it is required that parents and teachers take the ‘slow and steady’ way to tackle things. We have shown you the way, however, to traverse it wisely is solely your initiative. With your support and patience, not only will your child be able to develop confidence, but they will also learn to consider you as a true friend, philosopher, and guide.
We also understand that the role of a parent can not be surmised in the above thesis-like acknowledgment. Parenting is a hard job. But once you are invested in the process, it is rewarding to see your child be a confident, happy person- and maybe, a good parent themselves lest they face such challenges. Thus, be patient and build the foundation of a relationship on empathy, love, and support.
Don’t forget to check out our other related articles on helping your child become independent and How to Help Your Child Through Learning Disorders?. Keep coming back for more updates on Parenting and find the newest and the best content recommendations for children, right here on the Podium Blog.