Discover and Nurture Your Child's Learning Strengths

Father and son playing musical instruments
Morsa Images / Getty Images

If your child has been labeled learning disabled, he is probably not performing well in school. Learning to read is difficult, and he continues to struggle with poor reading skills in the upper elementary grades. Perhaps the difficulty is in Math. He just can't seem to get it, and so he has been tested and declared LD in this area. As the LD child faces a continuing cycle of school failure in each grade, you can see the erosion of his self-esteem and confidence.

You dread the teen years because you know the consequences of poor self-esteem are often depression and substance abuse.

As a parent, you must intervene to build and maintain your child's self-esteem. LD children often get the message that they are not smart or capable. This is far from the truth, but how do you convince them when they feel like failures at school. LD children need to understand that they have strengths as well as weaknesses. Parents and children need to become the experts on how the child learns best. Then, their strengths should be valued and prized by parents, teachers, peers and themselves.

Identify Your Child's Personal Learning Style

The first step in recognizing your child's strengths is to identify her Personal Learning Style. You will find a nice Personal Learning Style Inventory on the Web at The Center for New Discoveries in Learning. Try it out. It's fun and very useful.

You and your child also need to be aware of and knowledgeable about The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Multiple intelligence was researched and defined by Howard Gardner of Harvard University, though earlier researchers such as Guilford and Meeker also conceptualized and defined intelligence as consisting of many discrete factors.

Basically, these theories say that humans have several ways of processing and analyzing information. Each individual has unique strengths and weaknesses in each of eight types of intelligence. Learn more about these types of intelligence and guide your child to recognize and use his strengths to learn more effectively and, more importantly, to feel capable and successful as a learner.

Recognize Strength and Weakness Patterns

Help your child recognize his strength and weakness pattern by completing the Multiple Intelligence Inventory at Learning to Learn.

The shift to teaching for multiple intelligences is a difficult one for schools and not without controversy. If you are lucky enough to live in a city where this type of education is available I encourage you to investigate it for your LD child. If your child is in the upper elementary grades, don't be discouraged by the current research on the importance of the first three years of life for future learning. Marian Diamond illustrates through brain research that learning takes place at any age. Concentrate on building your child's thinking skills through the modality that is strongest for her. Use computer technology to enhance your child's learning strengths.

Continue Reading