Parenting a child with a learning disability or learning disorder
As a parent, discovering that something may stand in the way of your child’s success can be unsettling and difficult. Whether or not your child has a learning disability, remember that the way you behave and what you do has the most impact on your child’s chances of success. Everyone faces obstacles and the most important thing you can show your child, apart from your consistent love and support, is how to deal with obstacles. A good attitude won’t solve the problem, but it can give your child hope and confidence that things can improve.
Your first task as the parent of a child with a learning disability is to recognize that there are many things you can do to help your child:
- Keep things in perspective – Try not to be intimidated by the news that your child may have a learning disability – all people learn differently. Your most important job is to support your child and to help them keep their self esteem in tact. Challenges can be overcome. Don’t let the tests, school bureaucracy and endless paperwork distract you from what is really important – providing your child with emotional, educational and moral support.
- Do your own research and become your own expert – Learn about new developments in learning disabilities, different programs and educational techniques that could make an impact with your child. You may instinctively look to others for solutions – schools, teachers, therapists or doctors – but you need to take charge when it comes to finding the tools your child needs to continue learning.
- Be an advocate for your child – You may have to speak up time and time again to get special help for your child. Embrace your role as a proactive parent and work on your communication skills. It may be frustrating at times, but your calm, reasonable and firm voice may make the difference in achieving what you want for your child.
- Remember that your influence on your child outweighs all others – Your child will follow your lead. If you approach the learning challenges with optimism, hard work and a sense of humor, your child is likely to embrace your perspective or at least see the challenges as a detour rather than a roadblock. Also, remember that the school situation doesn’t have to be perfect. Focus your energy on learning what works and implementing it in your child’s life the best you can.
In this age of endless budget cuts and inadequately funded schools, your role in your child’s education is more important than ever. Don’t sit back and let someone else be responsible for providing your child with the tools they need to learn. You can and should take an active role in your child’s education.