Children who learn that they have a learning disability upon starting school will inevitably go through a grieving process.  As they compare themselves to their peers, it becomes startlingly clear to them that their learning pathway will be more challenging than that of their friends.  

For a child with a learning disability, great care must be taken to protect his emotional and mental health; this is critical for him in order to be able to come to terms with the learning road ahead.  As a parent, it can also be emotionally taxing to support your child while learning to deal with the experience yourself. Knowing how to support and encourage your child through his learning challenges will give you a sense of accomplishment and healing as well.  Here are some simple things you can do to protect and preserve your child’s mental and emotional health:

Accept your reality; encourage your child to do the same

No one signs on for a learning disability; quite often there is a period of adjustment while you as a parent mourn the situation you and your child are in.  Your child is experiencing the same emotions, and probably even more intensely than you. Coming to terms with what will be your reality and looking for the silver lining will teach your child that there are things to be grateful for, and it will inspire him to do the same.  Together, the two of you can conquer any obstacle in your way.

Keep the lines of communication open

Having a child with a learning disability is not an unusual occurrence; the more you share your story, the more you will find that others struggle with some of the same challenges the two of you face. Opening yourselves up to having conversations with others might pave the way for you to learn about additional resources and solutions you hadn’t previously known about.  In addition, trading stories with families, teachers, and practitioners will provide you with social and emotional support that you may be needing at difficult times.

It is important to keep the lines of communication open between you and your child as well.  Children feel supported when they know that they can share their feelings and frustrations in a caring and nurturing environment.  Providing them space to share their struggles with you will draw you closer together and give you a place from where to start if you find yourselves facing a challenge together.

Be positive!

Your child is looking to you as a source of support and encouragement–be positive!  Look for ways that you can teach your child to be grateful for who they are and the unique talents that they do have.  Accentuate the positive,  and work on the areas of concern that your child finds uniquely challenging.  As you model a positive and upbeat attitude, you not only provide support, but you become a wonderful role model for looking at the sunnier side of any problem.

Work to find strengths in the learning process

If your child has a flair for the artistic, turn a math lesson into a poem, painting, or song.  If he loves puzzles and logic problems, find ways to incorporate those activities into his common core activities. Using your child’s unique interests and strengths to make challenging content more engaging is one way to make learning come alive.  

Praise your child for taking risks in learning

Growth only happens when challenges are tackled.  Quite often, with a track record of frustration and disappointment behind him, a child loses their desire to push through challenges and overcome them.  It is important to catch your child in the act, encouraging him to take risks in learning and to emphasize that even making mistakes indicates growth and change.  Model risk taking yourself, and praise him every time you see this taking place; with every experience, your child will become more and more confident in his learning ability.

Encourage social development to build self-esteem

Making friends and fostering positive relationships is another way to build self-esteem and improve mental and emotional well being. Teaching your child kind words and phrases to use when interacting with others, and modeling socially appropriate interactions with other people in your life will teach him that having quality relationships is desirable.  Having a support system of friends and family members around you is a wonderful way to bolster your mental health; children who know that they are liked and loved by others have a higher regard for themselves.

Teach your child to ask for what he needs

A child who knows how to ask for help and support will get it when he needs it most.  A child that is unable to articulate and ask for what he needs will quickly become angry and frustrated, and this will isolate him in his disability.  Knowing how to ask for help in simple yet effective ways will ensure that you, and others, are able to answer the call when it becomes necessary to step in and support.

Does your child have a learning disability?  We can help!

At My Multiplication Magic, we are passionate about learning.  We know that your child’s success at school and in life are very important to you.  With our innovative approach to learning and memory retention, we reduce struggle and stress associated with having a learning disability.  If your child is struggling to find learning exciting and fun, let us help you reignite a passion for learning within him! Visit www.mymultiplicationmagic.com today for more information.  A more joyful learning experience awaits you!

References

Bridgman, Sue. “Succeed with My Multiplication Magic.” My Multiplication Magic, 2018, www.mymultiplicationmagic.com/.

Dune, Jerry. “Ten Tips for Parents with a Child with a Learning Disability.” Mental Health Foundation, 30 Nov. 2015, www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/ten-tips-parents-child-learning-disability.

PainAssist, Team. “Children With Learning Disabilities: Tips to Help Them.” EPainAssist, 29 Mar. 2016, www.epainassist.com/mental-health/children-with-learning-disabilities.

Johnson, Stacia. “Parents.” Learning Disabilities Association of America, 2017, ldaamerica.org/mental-health-and-learning-disabilities-why-a-higher-risk/