As parents and educators, your job is to teach children the basic skills that will help them integrate into the world. They need support, dedication, and encouragement to develop the self-esteem and self-worth important for facing future challenges. Children with learning difficulties can benefit from this the most since it’s positive assistance to teach them to help themselves.
The way you approach this subject can determine your child’s future and aid in eliminating problems that come with learning disabilities. Discovering the right ways to deal with a kid that has learning difficulties is important so they can grow in a healthy and nurturing environment. Let’s begin with the basics.
Recognizing learning difficulties
The type of learning difficulty will determine the strategy to help your child overcome it. The most common one is dyslexia — the inability to recognize words leading to problems with reading. If you notice a child having a problem with mathematical operations, they may have dyscalculia. Dysgraphia is another difficulty with words, only this time the child will have problems to write properly.
Sensory issues, when a child with 20/20 vision and perfect hearing can’t understand what is spoken, is difficulty in auditory and visual processing. While children are not naturally still, being unable to pay attention and control behaviour may point out to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). An autism spectrum disorder may include difficulties for the child to control the mood and socialize, as well as require a unique approach.
Accept it – don’t reject it
You may be tempted to hide the child’s learning difficulty or ignore it exists, hoping it will go away. Unfortunately, that can only make things worse and hinder your child’s opportunities and success during future education. If you accept their learning difficulty, they won’t feel ashamed because they are different.
Providing a supportive and loving environment for the child can elevate some of the stress they are experiencing and give them a boost. It’s not an effortless journey, but with your support and understanding, a child can overcome or at least manage their learning difficulty.
The key to deal with a kid that has learning difficulties is to find out as much as you can about their ailment. A lot of information is available online through research and articles, as well as videos. However, another useful source of information is communication with other parents or people who dealt or still deal with this issue.
Local support groups, seminars, and other gatherings for parents, teachers, and guardians may provide contacts, recommendations, and informative presentations. If you are overstressed, it may be a good idea to talk to the psychologist and work on facing the challenges of the child’s predicament. Educating yourself on all the possible ways to help the child is a positive method to give them appropriate conditions for further development.
Talk to the child about their learning difficulty
Communication with a child is the foundation of building healthy surroundings for them to grow and become independent adults. Since they are young they can’t comprehend what is happening on such a complex level and may automatically think of themselves as failures.
Sit them down and have a talk with them about their learning difficulty and what it means. Use the words and explanations your child can understand and tell them all about the ways to deal with it. It might help if you mention famous figures who overcame their learning disability to inspire their dedication.
Patience if the key
Nothing can change overnight and not all children are the same. It will take time to beat all the obstacles, so you need to set an example of patience for the child. The whole process of overcoming learning difficulty is stressful for the child, and for you as well.
Since children can pick up on the negative feelings of adults, you need to be calm, positive, and enthusiastic. Although the results may not be coming fast — they will come, and any attempts to speed up this process may lead to far-from-desired outcomes.
Seek outside help
A child with learning difficulties needs family support and efforts, but it’s also okay to look for outside help. Enrolling a child in a school with a play-based curriculum, like Insight Early Learning, may help them to more easily accept and conquer their issue. Children feel more relaxed when having fun, which can encourage them to want to learn regardless of their difficulty.
More importantly, they will meet other children and socialize, which will allow them to be more comfortable with themselves. This is intensified if they meet others with learning difficulties, as that will show them it’s nothing to be ashamed of or hide from.
Therapies like developmental therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy can be beneficial for some children with learning difficulties. With so many families and children struggling to access the support that they need, companies such as Kinspire now work to match you with a licensed pediatric therapist to support your family and child anytime anywhere. Additional support like this can be life-changing.
Praise the child’s efforts
While you should react to any failed attempt with words of encouragement, you should also praise the child’s efforts. Children with learning difficulties may make more mistakes and get lower grades, but they still made an effort. If you notice that the current strategy isn’t working, try a different approach.
Examine the child’s work and see if they may need different methods, like using flashcards or detailed feedback on their past assignments. Since the child may feel frustrated and disappointed with themselves, praising their dedication to the task can offer additional stimulation. This way, the child will see that the work they put in is a good thing and they should continue being so diligent.
Work on their motivation
Building motivation can prove difficult if the child feels like a failure when it comes to a specific subject. To take care of this, go for topics interesting to the child, so they can get the hang of them faster. This is called intrinsic motivation and it makes your child an active participant in the learning process. Once they see that progress is possible, they will get a surge of inspiration to continue.
If you are considering a reward system, like giving candy and toys, it may be better to forget that thought. Known as extrinsic motivation, this type of approach can lead to a child doing things only for the reward and not for overcoming their problem.
Having a child with a learning difficulty is not a cause to worry, but to find the right methods to help them. Regardless of their problem, you can be a wonderful support and motivator if you use a positive approach to build their confidence and interest. It may take a while, but the results are life-changing and can improve the child’s future to some or full extent.