Advertising
Advertising

So You Think Your Child Has a Learning Difficulty? Top 10 Things That You Should Do Next

So You Think Your Child Has a Learning Difficulty? Top 10 Things That You Should Do Next

You’ll always remember the day you brought your bundle of joy home for the first time. Your heart and your head were full of wonderment and delight at this whole new person, all shiny and new and full of the promise of the life he or she would lead and of the person he or she would become.  Brain surgeon, lawyer, artist, writer, comedienne, self-help guru extraordinaire.  All these things were possibilities for the amazing masterpiece you somehow managed to create.  Many parents will remember the first smile, the first step and the first real words uttered as this tiny little person makes his way in life.  There are literally thousands of moments that a parent can look back on with pride as their own little creation moves from baby to toddler to child and even on into adulthood.

But what happens when there is a glitch somewhere along the developmental trajectory? What happens if your little bundle of joy is not sailing through her early childhood development?  What happens when your child’s classmates are ahead in school while your little one struggles in the classroom?  What happens if he does not grow out of it? What happens if your child has a learning difficulty? This is no longer just about school systems or lofty ideals of a pedagogical nature.  This is no longer about medical discussions on brain health you read on some self improvement forum years ago.  This is not about government policy on educational funding you heard about in the news and only half listened to.  This is much closer to home now.  This is your baby we’re talking about.

Learning difficulties and learning disabilities in children can be neurological in origin and can make it very hard for kids in the educational arena as well as in learning new skills in other domains. Having such a difficulty does not just impact on intellectual development, but it can also have negative implications for social and emotional development. However, if you suspect that your child has a learning difficulty and even though this difficulty may be biological in nature, this is not a life sentence. Here are some top tips from educational professionals on some concrete things that you can do to help.

couple talking

    1. Talk to your partner

    Or other relevant family member who has known your child since birth.  Sound out your fears with someone who knows your child well and loves them as much as you do (if that’s possible).  Check out whether or not what you are seeing and worrying about is being noticed by the other carers in your child’s life.  Perspective is everything and you should get more than one.  And while these perspectives may be somewhat biased, they are long term and they reflect your child’s entire history, not just what is happening right now in the classroom or on the playground.

    Advertising

    teacher and child

      2.Talk to your child’s teacher.

      While you may know your child better than any other person in the world, remember that your child’s teacher has a very unique perspective.  He or she may have as many as 20-30 same age peers to compare your child to.  And while you may not like some of the comparisons, it is useful to have this perspective too.  As parents, we may often compare our child to a sibling three years older or to a cousin whom you see at holidays or to a neighbor’s child who stands out for some reason or another.

      But we very rarely get to be a fly on the wall when our child is standing beside 20-30 kids his age being presented with a whole host of educational, social, moral or even athletic challenges which are pitched at his level.  Indeed, it is very likely that we only know what a child his age is ‘supposed’ to be able to do when he fails to do it and it seems that every other child on the planet did not.

      doctor button

        3.Talk to the experts.

        If you have engaged with your child’s teacher and if you have put in place some extra supports to remediate some difficulties and still your child is struggling, you may need to go one step further. You may need to book an appointment with the special education teacher at your child’s school.  If that is not sufficient, you may need to seek out an educational psychologist for consultation.

        IQ by raiseyourIQ

          4. Get all the facts.

          If you have had consultation with an educational specialist at your child’s school or with an educational psychologist, and still you are unsure of how to best support your child, you may need to go down the formal assessment route.  People think that getting a psycho-educational assessment or IQ testing done is scary, but it is not.  Getting an assessment done is extremely informative and it is not painful in any way, shape or form.

          Advertising

          Many kids enjoy the assessment process as IQ tests are set up as a series of games and tasks which are broken up into short segments.  Many involve your child looking at puzzles or pictures and figuring out what goes with what or what comes next in a pattern.  Some items are verbal and some are spatial.  Some are tests of memory and some are more related to verbal comprehension or even to understanding of social and moral norms.  The IQ test is usually followed by some tests of attainment which will likely look at your child’s ability to read, write and do arithmetic, but may be restricted to only the area of concern.  But at the end of this testing process, you will find out where your child’s individual strengths and weaknesses lie.  You will find out if they are stronger visual or auditory learners.  You may find out what their spatial skills or receptive and expressive language skills are like.

          Remember that while an IQ score is just a number, it represents a composite of different skill sets that your child presents with and this number is ranked in relation to what would be expected for your child’s age group.  So knowing which areas your child is strong or weak in will enable you to help them to learn better.  In the same vein, knowing that your child’s decoding skills are much weaker or stronger than their reading comprehension skills are will enable you to tailor their literacy support, if indeed that is where the difficulty lies.  At the end of this process, you should also get a whole list of recommendations for what you should do next to best support your child’s needs. So my opinion is that this process is an empowering one, not a limiting one.

          man doing research on IQ

            5. Do your own research, but only use informed scientific sources.

            Your psychologist will often refer you to certain websites or literature based on the outcomes of the assessment.  So you may be looking at books on general intellectual difficulties or developmental disabilities.  Alternately, you may need to make contact with your local Dyslexia Association or other specific learning difficulty experts.  But the point is that you should only use informed scientific sources.  Googling your child’s diagnosis is fine, but there is no “weed out” process on people’s blogs and some of the stuff online is downright scary and often incorrect.

            Many other sites online may be aiming to sell you something and you need to be very careful to not get sucked in to hoaxes and promises of cures by pseudo-scientific self help gurus selling snake oil about improving your brain health without having any scientific support for their methods or products.  So do your research, but be careful. There are very real and powerful scientific innovations which can help your child to make progress.  Just make sure you can separate the scientists from the charlatans.

            Advertising

            friends talking about IQ

              6. Talk to your friends for support, but remember, most of them are not clinicians.

              If your child has a genuine learning difficulty– whether that be related to, for example, weak general language comprehension, lower than average overall intellectual skills or a specific learning difficulty in some area of attainment—she will not grow out of it and it is not a phase.  No amount of hugs and love or equine therapy will make a learning difficulty disappear.

              That is of course, not to say that you don’t give plenty of hugs and love and have pets if you so choose, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people try to make their friends feel better by telling them that their child’s learning difficulty is not real or that the child will grow out of it.  Certainly the quality of education matters significantly, but without targeted intervention, there may be skills that your child will not learn incidentally.  So while you should always seek the emotional support of your friends and loved ones, please remember that most of them are not clinicians, specialist teachers or psychologists.  So do not let them make you feel guilty for accessing appropriate intervention and do not let them talk you into bizarre and unscientific strategies for “fixing” your child.

                7. Do not panic.

                There are hundreds of thousands of people walking around, leading meaningful lives, while having some level of learning difficulty.  Some of them may have borderline intellectual impairments.  Others may have severe reading or spelling difficulties.  Others may have social skills or working memory deficits.  But the fact of the matter is that many of them continue to go undiagnosed and many around them will never know the difference.  However, the damage that can be done to a person’s sense of self worth or self efficacy by thinking they are stupid is infinitely worse than knowing they have a language difficulty or a reading difficulty and importantly knowing that there is help out there. So don’t panic.  Get your facts straight first and then decide what you need to do next.

                woman planning

                  8. Come up with a plan of action.  

                  Once you have determined the nature of the difficulty, it is time to come up with a plan.  This plan of action should be informed by the teachers and by the educational psychologist.  The plan should identify your child’s areas of strength and weakness.  It should identify tangible goals and realistic time frames for meeting them.  It should contain concrete strategies for attaining those goals and these strategies should be evidence based.  So if it is Dyslexia support group or a brain training course you are sending your child on, make sure the strategy is evidence based, put it into your plan and make sure that it is consistent with the overall goals of the plan.  This plan should then be reviewed at regular intervals to determine which strategies are effective and which need to be amended/improved.

                  Advertising

                  teacher providing learning support

                    9. Get learning support.

                    Most modern schools have some level of learning support available within the school system.  So you may need to see a reading or a mathematics specialist teacher at the school.  You may also need to access various professional therapies like speech and language therapy if your child’s difficulty is related to weak expressive or receptive language difficulties.  You may have to see an occupational therapist if your child has some difficulties with fine or gross motor co-ordination.  You may need to seek follow-up support with an educational or clinical psychologist if your child has not yet acquired age appropriate social skills or emotional regulation skills.

                    picking peaches

                      10. Love your child anyway.

                      Irrespective of whether or not your child winds up with a diagnosis.  Irrespective of whether or not your child has a general learning difficulty, a specific learning difficulty or is just a little bit behind in some area of academic or social and emotional/development.  This is still your baby.  This is still the same bundle of joy that you first brought home and loved with all your heart and protected with with all your might.  So your expectations may have changed somewhat.

                      Well, I suspect you know by know that that was going to happen anyway, no matter where you live or who you are.  Life is never quite the way we imagined.  It is much more difficult, much less Hollywood, and infinitely more interesting and exciting than our parents ever told us about.

                      Featured photo credit: Shannon O’Brien via shannonrosephotography.weebly.com

                      More by this author

                      13 Ways To Deal With An Angry Child Want To Boost Brain Power? Try Out These 10 Foods RaiseYourIQautisticchildren 20 Things Children with Autism Want to Tell You This Is How You Can Raise Your IQ And Improve Your Memory Top Tips to Increase Parent-Child Attachment

                      Trending in Health

                      1 Tasty and Healthy Weight Loss Snacks to Reach Your Goals Fast 2 11 Amazing Health Benefits of Garlic (Backed by Science) 3 10 Expert Tips for Computer Eye Strain Relief 4 What to Eat After a Workout? 10 Foods You Should Never Eat 5 How to Burn Calories Effectively (the Healthy Way)

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on November 18, 2020

                      50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

                      50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

                      If you’re like me and really into self-development, you’ve probably read many of the thousands of self-help books out there on the market. But also like me, you probably find all the information a bit overwhelming.

                      That’s why I wanted to do the self-less task of taking the most important, life-changing lessons I’ve drawn from these books and condensed them into 50 key points.

                      Here’re 50 habits of successful people you should learn:

                      1. Believe It to See It

                      Our minds tend to focus on what’s happening around us and refuse to see what could happen. Only when you trust in what’s possible and dare to dream big, big things can happen for you.

                      2. See Problems as a Wonderful Gift

                      While others only see problems and give up, successful people use the problem as a lesson to find improvement in themselves or the task at hand.

                      3. Keep Looking for Solutions

                      Even if they’re knee-deep in problems, successful people will still put all of their focus on finding solutions.

                      4. Remember It’s All About the Journey

                      Successful people are conscious and methodical in creating their own success. They don’t sit around doing the bare minimum, hoping success finds them.

                      5. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

                      There’s so much fear on the road to success, but instead of letting that fear control and limit them, successful people do a good job of just forging ahead regardless.

                      6. Always Ask Productive Questions

                      It’s all about asking the right questions. Successful people make sure they are questions that will elicit information for a more productive, creative and positive mindset moving forward.

                      7. Understand the Best Waste of Energy Is Complaining

                      Successful people know that choosing to see the negative side of things will only create a useless and unproductive state.

                      8. Don’t Play the Blame Game

                      Taking responsibility for actions and outcomes is a form of empowerment that you can build your success upon. While the act of blaming others or outside circumstances takes this empowerment away from you.

                      Advertising

                      9. Maximize Your Strengths

                      Not every successful person is simply more talented than the rest, but they do use what they know they’re good at to achieve more successful results.

                      10. Be in It to Win It

                      Successful people are busy, productive and proactive. Instead of sitting around over-thinking and over-planning a great idea, they just take a step towards it no matter how small.

                      11. Know That Success Attracts Success

                      People who are successful surround themselves and seek out like-minded people. They understand the importance of being part of a team and forge win-win relationships.

                      12. Actually Choose to Be Successful

                      Dreaming big is a massive part of being successful even if your dream seems impossible. Ambition is a mindset that needs to be a daily conscious choice.

                      13. Visualize, Visualize, Visualize!

                      You’ve got to see your success in your mind’s eye even before it comes. Successful people clarify and get that certainty about what they want their reality to look like rather than being mere spectators of life.

                      14. Be a One-Off Original

                      Successful people look for what’s working and then create a unique spin on it. Imitating only regurgitates other people’s ideas with no originality.

                      15. The Perfect Time to Act Is Now

                      Waiting for the right time to act is basically procrastination wrapped up in an excuse. Successful people know there’s never a perfect time so they may as well just do it now.

                      16. Keep Learning, Keep Growing

                      Continuous learning is the key to a successful life. Whether it’s academic, being a student of life or actionable learning, it’s all about expanding your knowledge and personal development.

                      17. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

                      Successful people have the knack for finding positive aspects in all people and circumstances no matter what.

                      18. Having a Bad Day? Do It Anyway!

                      We all have bad moods but it shouldn’t be an excuse to stop everything. Giving into a bad mood just stop-starts your life, slowing success way down.

                      19. Sometimes Risky Business Is Needed

                      Calculated risks are a must for success. It’s about weighing the pros and cons while moving forward with that element of trust.

                      Advertising

                      20. Accept Challenge All the Time

                      Dealing with problems head-on is a must to be successful. Successful people also face challenges in order to improve themselves.

                      21. Make Your Own Luck

                      In the mindset of a successful person, there’s no such thing as ‘luck’ or ‘fate’. They take control to actively and consciously create their own best life.

                      22. Ignite Your Initiative

                      While many people are reactive, successful people are proactive – taking action before they have to.

                      23. Be the Master of Your Emotions

                      Being effective at managing emotions is key on the road to success. That’s not to say successful people don’t feel like we all do, but they’re just not slaves to their emotions.

                      24. Champion in Communication

                      Consciously working on effective communication skills gets anyone closer to success.

                      25. Plan Your Life Strategically

                      Successful people’s lives aren’t a clumsy series of unplanned events and outcomes, they methodically work at turning their plans into a reality.

                      26. Become Exceptional at What You Do

                      To become exceptional, you typically have to do things that most won’t. To become successful, hard decisions need to be made and acting on them is crucial.

                      27. Choose to Live Outside of Your Comfort Zone

                      While many people are pleasure junkies and avoid pain and discomfort at all costs, successful people understand the value and benefits of working through the tough stuff that most would avoid.

                      28. Live by Core Values

                      Successful people firstly identify their core values and what’s important to them, then do their best to live a life that reflects these values.

                      29. Realize Money Isn’t Everything

                      Money and success are not interchangeable and the most successful people understand this. Putting money on a pedestal and equating it to success is a dangerous mindset to have. Success comes in many forms.

                      30. Don’t Get Carried Away

                      Successful people understand the importance of discipline and self-control and as a result they are happy to take the road less travelled.

                      Advertising

                      31. Self-Worth Is Not Tied to Success

                      Successful people are secure. They do not derive their self-worth from what they own, who they know, where they live or what they look like.

                      32. Kindness Breeds Kindness (And Success)

                      Generosity and kindness is a common trait among long-term successful people. It’s important to take pleasure in helping others achieve.

                      33. More Humility, Less Arrogance

                      Successful people are humble and happy to admit and apologize for mistakes. This is because they’re confident in their ability. They are happy to learn from others and happy to make others look good rather than seek their own personal glory.

                      34. Change Opens New Doors

                      People who are successful are adaptable and embrace change, while the majority are creatures of comfort and habit. They are comfortable with, and embrace, the new and the unfamiliar.

                      35. Success Requires a Healthy Body

                      It’s not just how you think, it’s about how you show up for success. Successful people understand the importance of being physically well, not for vain reasons but because being in tiptop condition creates a better personal life for success.

                      36. Laziness Just Doesn’t Exist

                      Successful people are never considered lazy. Yes, they can relax when they need to, but working hard is their game.

                      37. Resilience by the Bucket Load

                      When difficulty strikes, most would throw in the towel, but successful people are just warming up.

                      38. Feedback Is Just Another Chance to Improve

                      How people react to feedback determines their potential for success. Being open to constructive criticism and acting on it to improve is most seen in those who are successful.

                      39. Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

                      If people are hanging out with toxic and negative people, then they need to take a look at themselves. Successful people hang out with others who are positive and supportive.

                      40. Can’t Control It? Forget It

                      Successful people don’t invest time or emotional energy into things which they have no control of.

                      41. Swim Against the Tide

                      Successful people are not people-pleasers and they don’t need constant approval from others in order to move ahead.

                      Advertising

                      42. Alone Time Is Valuable Time

                      More self-worth means being more comfortable with your own company. Successful people are more happy and see the value in spending time alone.

                      43. Self-Standard Is Higher Than Most

                      Everyone has a choice to set high standards for themselves. Successful people do this, which in turn produces greater commitment, more momentum, a better work ethic and of course, better results.

                      44. Failure Isn’t Rationalized

                      While many use age, health, lack of time, ‘bad luck’, or lack of opportunity to explain away their failure, the key to success is finding a way to succeed despite facing these challenges.

                      45. Down Time Is an Important Part of a Routine

                      Having an off switch and taking time to do things that make them happy is a common trait of a successful person. Take a look at here The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

                      46. Career Isn’t Who You Are, It’s What You Do

                      Successful people know their career isn’t their identity. They are multi-dimensional and don’t define themselves by their job.

                      47. Be Interested in Only the Path of Resistance

                      While most people look for the easiest way or the shortcut, successful people are more interested in the most effective way. They look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term.

                      48. Follow Through

                      Many spend their life starting things that they never finish, but successful people get the job done. Even when the excitement and the novelty has worn off they still follow through and finish.

                      49. Invest in All Your Dimensions

                      We’re not just physical and psychological beings, but emotional and spiritual creatures as well. Successful people consciously work at being healthy and productive on all levels.

                      50. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

                      To obtain success, it’s important to practice what you preach. Successful people don’t talk about the theory, they live the reality.

                      So there you have it, a summary of what I’ve learned from self-help books. But of course, you need to start taking actions so you will get closer to success too.

                      Bonus: 5 Bad Habits To Quit

                      More About Success

                      Featured photo credit: Juan Jose via unsplash.com

                      Read Next