The journey of parenting is long-winded: one that is not only joyous, fulfilling and enriching, but also full of twists and turns. Challenges come and challenges go, each with its own set of nuances and complexities. At the end of each day, you as a parent have one wish: that your child is happy. However, watching your child struggle to overcome a difficulty that pervades almost all aspects of his/her life is indeed painful to watch.
Learning disabilities, in simple terms, are those that make learning difficult. They may pertain to specific learning areas such as mathematics, language(s), reading or writing, and may also interfere with a child’s ability to organize, remember, pay attention and make decisions. This means that the child may have to face challenges in several aspects of life, the biggest one being his/her school life. On average, a child spends a majority of his/her life at school, thus making a learning disability one of the most emotionally challenging life events for the child.
When facing a learning disability, your child may be experiencing feelings of fear, anxiety, helplessness and worthlessness. Their self-esteem may take a hit: they may feel that they are good-for-nothing, and have immensely disappointed their parents. This is why your role as a parent is the most crucial one in your child’s life. You are probably the only source of emotional support your child has.
However, on hearing news that your child may have a learning difficulty, you may feel confused, angry, scared, sad, guilty and very helpless. It is completely normal to go through the whole range of emotions, but it is important to remember that learning disabilities can be helped, and that your child will still succeed in life!
- First and foremost, support your child emotionally during this difficult time. Do not point fingers, blame or resent your child for having a learning disability. Instead, offer comfort by assuring them that you will help the child through this journey.
- Become aware of the disability your child is facing. Talk to an expert in the field, or read reliable online articles. Equip yourself with all the knowledge necessary about the learning disability, so that you can make an informed decision on how to help your child.
- Help your child understand what he/she is facing, in a simple way that is not scary or discouraging. Tell your child how the remedial process is going to be. Encourage your child to give his/her 100% ability, and most importantly, remind your child that it is not their fault.
- Reach out to experts in the field; get psychological assessments done for your child, in order to identify the exact intensity of the learning disability, and to understand which method of treatment is the most suitable for your child. You could consult with your child’s teachers, or other professionals such as special educators, clinical psychologists, counselors, psychiatrists, speech and language therapists, etc.
- While it is important to keep your child’s progress in mind, try not to dwell on the fact that he/she is facing a learning disability. Instead, encourage your child’s various talents; for example, playing a sport or an instrument, singing, dancing, acting, art, etc. It is important for your child to know that the learning disability does not define him/her!
- Keep the conversation going rather than sweeping it under the carpet. The more openly you communicate with your child about the problem, the more comfortable you and your child will become, and the more strength you will gain in this journey together. Shying away from the topic or denying it could make matters worse, and also cause feelings of guilt in your child.
Without a doubt, learning that your child suffers from a learning disability is one of the most difficult things to hear as a parent. You may wish it to be untrue, so that your child does not have to face the difficulty anymore. However, it is important to remember that your child is going to be fine, and that he/she will simply learn in different, and more unique ways than others! Our experts at Parenting on Demand have had experience in helping children with such difficulties, and can be your emotional support system through this challenging phase. So be a proactive parent and reach out for help, as it will ultimately benefit your child as well!