Testimonies Adjusting to Learning Disabilities in Children

Congratulations on recognizing that your child was having difficulty learning and getting him or her tested. That alone is not easy for some parents to accept. After all, don’t we all want “perfect” children? Is there such a person? As you have discovered, there is not. Everyone has some “thing” about which they are not satisfied. As for learning disabilities, there are many types, which will not be addressed here. However, most parents have little, if any, understanding of these different ways of channeling knowledge. Adjusting to learning disabilities in children is challenging, requires patience and compassion, and it means that you need to be an advocate for your child. I should know, as we were blessed with three daughters, each having a very different learning disability (“LD”).

If you are reading this, you have probably adjusted to the reality of living with a child who is not like most of his or her classmates. Chances are your child is not singled out in the classroom, as more children are being diagnosed with learning problems. You are past the stage of wondering, “Why my child?” You’ve stopped emotionally beating up yourself over what you could have done to cause your child to be labeled “LD.” Your situation is what it is and nothing will change it. The best you can do is to learn all you can about how your child processes information. Attend parent education classes, especially those that create the learning situation your child faces, so you can experience your child’s frustration, confusion, anger and perhaps embarrassment.

By learning how your child’s brain functions, you can help your child to best compensate in order to fit in with others. In this way, he or she will grow into an adult that appears to perform or work like others. In the meantime, treat your LD child like the rest in your family. For example, if that child has chores to do, use the tools you have discovered will make performing chores more understandable to that child. We had a child, who could not grasp the concept of how to set the table. With her help, we prepared a picture that she could refer to for placement of the eating utensils, dinnerware and glass. She was proud of her achievement when we sat down for dinner.

As for aiding your child to handle the cruelty of peers, the first thing is to encourage pride in himself or herself. Perhaps you can point out that some children wear glasses, braces, use a crutch or wheelchair, or have some other impairment, but they are just as good a person as everybody else. Encourage recognition that all children are special in their own way. Rather than argue or fight with ignorant children, if yours develops a positive self-image, there will be no need for him or her to respond to them.