The Emotional Side of Learning Disabilities

How can you support someone with a Learning Disability?

A diagnosis of a learning disability helps explain the difficulties your child is having with learning. But it is not just learning difficulties where children need help. They need to talk about the feelings and negative self-image that comes with not being able to learn as others do.

Talk with your child

  • Be understanding. See the world through your children’s eyes.
  • Communicate with respect. Don’t interrupt or put them down; answer their questions.
  • Give your undivided attention.
  • A disability is only one part of a child.
  • Talk about their strengths and interests.

Help your child be part of explaining Learning Disabilities 

  • Help them overcome the fear of having others know about the learning disability.
  • Everyone has strengths and difficulties.
  • Help them fi nd comfortable ways to talk at home and with school personnel.
  • Try to protect your child from humiliation, but don’t hide their learning disability.

Build your child’s confidence

  • Accept and love children for themselves. This will allow them to feel more secure in reaching out to others and learning how to solve problems.
  • Give children a chance to contribute. This communicates your faith in their abilities and gives them a sense of responsibility.
  • Treat mistakes as learning experiences.
  • Emphasize their strengths. A sense of accomplishment and pride give children the confidence to persevere when they face challenges.
  • Avoid telling children what to do. Let them solve problems and make decisions.
  • Discipline to teach. Do not discipline in a way that intimidates or humiliates your child.

Talking with your friends and extended family about your child’s Learning Disability 
Sometimes other people – even friends or relatives – may unknowingly add to the negative emotions when they think a child is lazy or not trying hard enough. But you know how even simple tasks can become hurdles and well-meaning comments can prove hurtful and demoralizing.

  • Explain how your child learns.
  • Replace harmful labels with terms that are positive and accurate.
  • Describe your child’s talents as well.
  • Include siblings in your network.

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