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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 January 3, 2020

              The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

              The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

              Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

              The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

              1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

              Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

               I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

              To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

              And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

               2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

              Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

              3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

              Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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              4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

              The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

              5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

              Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

              6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

              Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

              7. Positive people smile a lot!

              When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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              8. People who are positive are great communicators.

              They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

              9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

              One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

              10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

              Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

              How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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              I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

              Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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