Discovering your child has a learning disability can be a shock to many parents – but remember, everyone goes through struggles and faces challenges, this just happens to be the one you and your child are facing. Every parent wants the best for their child, so this New Year’s, make a resolution to help them succeed, whether at school, or in a career. Here are just a few ways to encourage your child’s prosperity.
The best way to help your child is to first understand what challenges they are facing, so you can learn the best learning methods for them. Thanks to the increased awareness of learning disabilities, there are plenty of tools out there to help parents better understand their children’s disorder.
- Go online and do a quick Google search about your child’s learning disability. In order to help them, you need to first understand the disorder itself. Keep up with changes or new developments in learning disability programs, therapies, and educational techniques.
- Attend workshops at your child’s school and learn what teaching methods will be used this year. Do not be afraid to be a strong advocate for your child either. Be open to suggestions, but if you know he/she learns well with one method, make sure the teacher understands that.
- Talk with others in the same situation. Meet with parents, either online or in person, and learn what has and has not worked for them. Above all, provide support and encouragement to one another.
Learn His/ Her Strengths
Does your child focus more at the beginning or end of the day? Are they a visual or oral learner? Does your child love music or dance? Knowing and understanding your child’s strengths will help you incorporate them into his/her daily routines.
- Encourage creativity in work and play. People with learning disabilities tend to be more creative and understand things visually. If you are working on math, use small objects to represent numbers and other abstract concepts.
- Utilize physical activity when learning. Children who have a hard time focusing often want to get out of their seat and walk around, so instead of fighting it, encourage it! Ask study questions while walking around the neighborhood, or take Jumping Jack breaks every 15 minutes.
Increase His/Her Confidence
- Praise the little things your child does throughout the day. If they finish their homework quickly or read a book on their own, make sure they know this is a big accomplishment. Then, use that moment to point out that a few years or even months ago that activity was difficult for them, now they are doing it successfully.
- Give them positive role models to learn about. Make sure your child knows they are not alone by teaching them about other successful people with learning disabilities. Director Steven Spielberg, who has ADHD, has often said that he had a hard time focusing in school and was frustrated with himself, until he realized his love of movie making and turned his attention in a more creative direction. Even Abraham Lincoln was believed to have a behavioral disorder and look at what he achieved! Encourage your child to think, “If they can do it, so can I.”
- Envision a future career for your child and talk about it with them. Consider your child’s strengths and teach them about careers that may suit them. A child with ADHD who does not like sitting at a desk all day might thrive as a police officer, or a child with dyslexia might want to consider a career in art or graphic design.
Are you or someone you know looking to find your path on the way to success while having a learning disability? Debra Solomon, Asperger’s and autism life and career coach helps young adults with autism and other learning disabilities identify their strengths and weaknesses to help find a job that best fits them! For more information about Debra Solomon’s coaching practice, visit her on the web.