10 Tips for Helping Children with Learning Difficulties
12th September 2014
Being told your child has a learning disability can, at first, be rather hard to accept. We all want our children to do well at school and come out with the best grades they deserve, but when you are hit with the news that your child struggles academically more than others, there suddenly becomes a shift in what is important. The happiness and well-being of your child is now far more significant in life than the grades that are printed on paper.
With the right kind of support and encouragement, your child can learn essential skills to carry with them as they grow and develop, but you must first learn how to offer this support and guidance in the best way possible…
1) Your job is not to “cure”
You should first realise that your job is not to help your child overcome their disability. This is simply not the case. You should accept that it is part of them and help them find ways to work through the challenges and obstacles they will find themselves up against throughout their life.
2) Emotional and moral support
Give your child plenty of love and emotional support. If they are emotionally younger than their age, make sure you continue to shower them with love and affection, even when they would usually have grown out of this. Also, you should find and focus on your child’s strengths. For instance, they may not be the best mathematician in the world but they might be great at art, so you should always encourage what they are good at.
3) You know your child best
Obviously, take on board what the teachers, doctors and therapists tell you, but at the end of the day, only you know your child best. So make sure you come forward with ideas to help your child get the most out of their learning. Take the time to realise what works best for your child e.g. if they’re a visual learner, then hone in on this and use it to your child’s advantage.
4) Be Proactive
Do your own research and try to keep in the know of new developments, programmes and therapies that could help your child’s learning and development. Don’t just sit back and wait to be told about them, as they could pass you by.
5) Speak Up
To get the best for your child you will have to be hands-on and speak up from time to time to make sure your child is receiving the best possible care and attention throughout their development. That doesn’t mean you have to go in with guns blazing though. Remain calm but stay strong and firm in your beliefs.
6) You are their role model
Your child will inevitably follow your lead in many things. They will more than likely take on the same perspective and views that you have, so make sure you are setting the right example for your child to follow.
7) Be as clear as possible
Try and avoid using long and complex language when speaking to your child. Keep everything as clear and concise as possible, so they stand the best chance of understanding and following exactly what you say.
8) Encourage Play
Playing is fantastic for a child’s progression. It helps them develop creatively, using language, interaction and social skills. They could paint or draw, act and sing or play actual games such as ‘catch’.
9) Physical Activity
It’s a well-known fact that physical development helps aid mental development for everyone. Children with learning disabilities may struggle with things we would take for granted, such as passing objects from one hand to the other, reaching for things, using our hands to model and mould things, etc. These can all be developed properly with the right physical activity, which can be recommended by an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist.
10) Emotional Growth
This can be a tricky one as it often develops a lot later in children with learning disabilities. Don’t be surprised if your child is showing maturity levels a lot younger than their actual age. The most important thing is to remain consistent. If they are being naughty, don’t let them off by trying to negotiate with them (like you would with someone their age). Act like you always do and even if you’re in public and feel embarrassed, reprimand the same as you would do if you were in the home.
The most important thing is to spend time with your child and find out what works best for them. Once you have established this, you can implement it into their daily routine in the best way possible. The skills you can help them learn will give them confidence and self-worth that will stay with them and be taken into their life, whichever path they choose to take.
If you’re searching for nurseries around the Mansfield and Basford areas and want to know that your child’s needs are being paid attention to, then please feel free to get in touch with us here at Tiny World. Our fully qualified team are dedicated to the care and wellbeing of every child, and any special requirements will be acknowledged and catered for.