Ways to Help Children with Learning Disabilities: Parent’s Guide
Learning disabilities are a lot more common than we think. Many of us were ignorant towards it till the movie Tare Zameen Par brought this issue into the light. The movie narrates the story of an 8-year-old boy (Ishaan Awasthi) who has dyslexia. The movie showed us that we need special interventions to help children with learning disabilities. So in this blog, we will tell how parents can help and support their children and make the journey for their kids easier.
This movie Tare Zameen Par was released in 2007 (almost 15 years) and there is a need to look back and see how far we have come.
Are we able to identify and recognize which child needs our special care and attention?
Are we creating opportunities for them?
How are we sensitizing our schools, teachers and other children?
What steps are we taking to become more inclusive?
Are we creating awareness about this crucial topic?
All these are very important if questions and we need to give attention to them if we want our country to be inclusive and our society thriving.
What is Learning Disability?
Learning Disability is an umbrella term used to describe a range of learning and thinking differences that arise because of information processing challenges. In children with learning disabilities, there is a gap between expected skills, based on age and intelligence, and academic output.
For example – a child with a learning disability may have trouble processing letters and sounds (dyslexia).
Or another child might have trouble solving basic math problems or face difficulty in backward counting, understanding the concepts like bigger vs. smaller (dyscalculia).
What causes learning difficulties?
It is said that the factors that cause learning difficulties can be genetic or environmental. Or both can become contributory factors but the exact reason is not known.
The risk factors– Premature birth, injury or illness during childhood, the mother suffering from depression, hypertension during pregnancy.
How parents can help children with Learning Disabilities –
As a parent, you know all the things your kids do in a day. They are around you so you get to observe all their activities. And you are the first one to notice when something is different about your child. When you see that pattern you should not avoid it. Acknowledgment of the fact and awareness about the topic is the first thing. The second is to consult a specialist without any delay.
We know that in this competitive world every parent wants their child to excel. They want their children to excel in every subject and every sport. But to put so much burden on the children is not fair.
Quite often the child might feel angry, frustrated and anxious because of the pressure to “conform” with the set norms in the schools or other places where they socialize. In such situations, you should ask yourself “how can I help the child learn to manage these emotions.”?
You can show them by your own example. Because children learn more from what they see than from what you tell them.
You can use positive affirming sentences like- “I can see that you are trying your best”, “I am here for you”.
When you find them crying or getting angry, saying “shut up, don’t cry” isn’t helpful. You can instead say- “I understand that you are sad/ angry can you tell me about it?”
Listen to them and validate their feelings because they must be going through a lot. Provide a healthy outlet for their emotions.
How you treat them is important
Children with learning disabilities are just as smart as everybody else. To label them as problematic, brainless is not kind. Shouting at them and punishing them won’t help either.
They just need more attention and as much love, support and respect as everyone else. Remember our children observe us and learn from us. They observe how and what you talk about them when you speak with others.
Give them time
You should understand that children with learning disabilities might take time to gain skills. You have to be patient with them. You should understand their behavior patterns and then create strategies for learning.
Keep them motivated and use fun activities to break challenging tasks into easier ones.
Praise them when they make an effort. Don’t judge them on the same scale as with other kinds of their age.
NOTE- Keeping the welfare of children with learning disabilities in mind the government has released guidelines for the development of special e-content. So keep yourself updated.
It is essential to be kind, loving, and supportive. Many people in society aren’t aware that some children might take time to learn things that are easy for others to learn. But just because they take time to learn, just because they are different doesn’t mean they are less worthy than the other children!
We should remember that every child is special and if we are not able to recognize this then we are losing out. We are losing the gifts they have to offer, we are losing a sizable population that could have become a great asset for our nation.
If you are facing problems you can talk to our expert. They will guide and support you through your journey.