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13 Things Children with Learning Disabilities Need You to Know

13 Things Children with Learning Disabilities Need You to Know

The simplest way to explain learning disabilities is to say they are an entire classification of behaviors and functions that prevent learning in a “typical” way. Learning difficulties impact a person and make the learning experience difficult for a host of factors from many different areas of life. When these types of issues are not explained by developmental or neurological disorders, or by vision or hearing loss, or motor skill disorders, but they significantly interfere with a child’s academic achievement or activities of daily living, then a diagnosis of learning disability follows.

Learning Frustrations

    Typically, when a child shows persistent difficult learning how to read, or write or in mathematical reasoning during formal years of schooling, they are suffering from a learning disability. They may demonstrate symptoms such as slow or effortful reading, poor written expression with little or no clarity, difficulties remembering facts, or inaccurate mathematical reasoning. Their testing shows difficulties in academic skills of various types, and they present a range of scores that are well below average.

    Most learning disabilities are diagnosed when a child has been in school for a year or two. If a child shows persistent difficulty in academic skills such as struggling to remember number facts or mathematical reasoning, inaccurate or slow reading even with great effort, or a tough time clearly expressing themselves in writing, they are more than likely dealing with some type of learning disability. There are some learning disabilities, however that manifest themselves earlier on in a youngster’s life.

    Learning disabilties poster

      Experts in developmental studies tell us that there are age appropriate times for certain achievements to occur. Babies are expected to begin walking at a targeted time in their development. The same can be said for showing that they understand what is being said or for having the motor skills and ability to turn themselves over independently. These time-sensitive achievements are called milestones. When developmental tasks fall significantly outside the range given to developmental milestones, this could be an indication of some type of learning disability.

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      Although there are a lot of things we already know about learning disabilities, as neuroscience continues to expand its research, we are learning more about them all the time. There still is much to learn and perhaps one of the best places to start is to walk a mile in the shoes of a child who experiences a learning disability.

      Here are 13 things kids with learning disabilities would like you to know:

      1. We are not our disorder

      This is facing the problem square on, right from the start. Having a disorder is one component of a person, and must not be considered more than one single component. So often, people allow the disorder to take on what seems like a life of its own in which it takes shape and hold of not only the person with the disorder, but that person’s loved ones as well. In other words, many times, people allow disorders to take over and control everything about that person entirely.

      Most likely, this is because of all the other emotions that attach themselves to the situation, strong, negative emotions such as frustration, anger and fear. Once these heavy-duty emotions take over, the road back is hard to find. It serves everyone well to be able to keep it all in proportion even if that means taking a step back and letting go of something we feel may be overwhelming.

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        2. Our difficulties aren’t anyone’s fault

        Of course, it is not a good thing to blame anyone or to treat a kid with a learning disability like they’re doing anything wrong, but it is also just as important to make sure as a parent to not blame themselves. Learning disabilities are disorders like diabetes, acne or any other. As such, it can be worked with and its negative effects dealt with and lessened with proper attention and care. Reminding ourselves it is not anyone’s fault is a great way to remember that nobody wins if we look for someone or something to blame.

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        3. Our feelings count too

        Having a learning disability does not in any way connect to any type of emotional disability or delay. Ignoring a child’s emotional well-being is detrimental. This applies not only from other children or teachers who ridicule and respond negativity to them in school, but more importantly by siblings and even parents, or caregivers at home. If anything, they are more emotionally vulnerable and in a position to be scarred for life emotionally by the harsh way they are treated.

        4. Yelling or punishments won’t makes us learn any faster

        Although we may not yet fully understand the connection between the two, anger seems to follow frustration quite often. And as caring parents who want to see their children excel, they sometimes let our disappointment and frustration in watching them struggle. If they let their feelings get the best of them and lose sight of the one who is really feeling the effects, they may give into our anger and actually try to strong arm the outcome they would prefer to see.

        Needless to say, this would be a total lose-lose scenario and only make things worse all the way around.

        5. We’re not doing this to make you mad

        This follows closely on the heels of yelling and punishments because when parents do this, it is very likely that their child will feel as if their parents believe their lack of success is intentional and like they are holding them responsible not only for the lack of progress they are making, but also for doing it on purpose. Talk about carrying a heavy load! As adults, we need to stand back and again, realize who it is that is struggling here and offer a way to support, not tear down further.

        Einsteing on Learning Disabilities

          6. We’re still kids, so give us a break

          Hearing this means that parents are willing to step outside ourselves as parents or grownups even further and realize that to a child, it may not really be all that important in the first place. This is extremely important – it follows the old saying about ‘walking a mile in another person’s shoes.’ Although it may be a struggle for a child to try and keep up academically, they are still just a kid and sometimes (and this is in no way a bad thing) it may not seem all that devastating until adults make it that devastating.

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          7. Be patient, some things may take us longer to learn

          This is not an inability. So with patience and repetition, many times those who know how to work with this specialized population often move mountains. They may move slowly, but we know that slow and steady often times wins the race. Patience is key to helping a child become confident in their abilities, especially if they are compromised in some way.

          8. We’re just regular kids deep down

          All children need to develop a sense of belonging, stability and esteem in order to develop into healthy, productive adults. Having a learning disability doesn’t change that in any way other than possibly to make it even more important because of negatives that are flung at the child like targeted missiles. Yet, most people tend to behave differently toward a child with learning disability. Finding a mid-point, a type of balance and normalcy, is critical to helping a child develop and maintain healthy habits.

          9. Little acomplishments mean a lot to us

          Keeping the lens of the other person’s shoes in place, it is not a far leap to realize that what may seem like no big deal to adults, can be a major accomplishment to a child, especially when it is a struggle. By noticing little accomplishments and molding them, parents help create bigger, greater accomplishments and there may be nowhere to witness this more so than with a child with learning disabilities. Make a big thing out of little accomplishments and watch in amazement over what follows.

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            10. If you believe we will succeed, then we will too

            Children with learning disabilities are predestined for much more rejection and frustration in their lives than most. But, if they see that those people who matter most to them haven’t given up hope and have a positive outlook toward life’s challenges, they too, will pick up that winning attitude and stay motivated even in the face of adversity. Model the type of determination and grit that you know your child is going to benefit from throughout their life.

            11. Reward us with gifts or praise, even for little things

            Rewards don’t have to be costly. Sometimes a pat on the back means as much, if not more, as any gift might. Since success isn’t something that comes very frequently to children with disabilities, genuine, heartfelt praise is worth its weight in gold. The trick is to make sure it is genuinely from the heart, and make sure you don’t wait for what you might consider a major event. Remember how important little accomplishments are. Honor those events, even the little ones, because those little ones matter … BIG TIME.

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            12. Don’t give up on us

            When things are harder for us, the tendency to give up is greater. This applies with children who have learning disabilities even more because they are more likely to face difficulties and failures in every day events than others do. Teaching tenacity and determination and modeling how to fall down and get back up again, helps a child develop resilience, something they will benefit from tremendously throughout their lives.

            Pet Therapy

              13. Pets can be super helpful for us

              New studies can be found all the time, that tout the praises of how therapeutic a pet can be. This holds true for children with disabilities as well. From pleasure in friendship and companionship, to the physical benefits of touch in petting and holding a dog or cat, to the esteem building and overall sense of well-being pets bring, it is not surprising to learn about the successful statistics accompanying pets with children with disabilities, including learning disabilities.

              Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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              Last Updated on September 20, 2018

              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

              Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

              If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

              1. Breathe

              The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

              • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
              • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
              • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

              Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

              2. Loosen up

              After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

              Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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              3. Chew slowly

              Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

              Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

              Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

              4. Let go

              Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

              The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

              It’s not. Promise.

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              Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

              Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

              21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

              5. Enjoy the journey

              Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

              Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

              6. Look at the big picture

              The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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              Will this matter to me…

              • Next week?
              • Next month?
              • Next year?
              • In 10 years?

              Hint: No, it won’t.

              I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

              Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

              7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

              You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

              Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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              8. Practice patience every day

              Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

              • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
              • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
              • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

              Final thoughts

              Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

              Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

              Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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