Strategies to Interact with a Child with Learning Disabilities

Interacting Appropriately with Your Child with Learning Disabilities

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Sometimes it takes a great deal of patience for a parent to nurture a child with learning disabilities. While some parents may attribute the child's learning problem to laziness, this is not the case. Learning disabilities are rooted in actual differences in the brain's reasoning processes. Some children simply cannot learn the same way that most others can. It's not their fault, but parents, and other adults, sometimes can be cynical.

If you have a child with a learning disability, here are a few strategies you can use to interact, and other things you should avoid, to ensure the child remains happy and productive.

  1. Sarcasm - Many parents will use sarcasm to express their anger or frustration with a child. In some cases, the child is seen as an extension of the self, and to have others look down on the child because of learning disabilities can make parents feel inadequate. Don't use sarcasm as a weapon to your child because of your own insecurities. Many children with learning disabilities, especially those on the autism spectrum, do not understand sarcasm and will take such comments literally.
  2. Praise - Instead of bearing down on your child for doing poorly in school, praise the child when he or she accomplishes a goal. Children can develop feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt if the parent focuses on the negative. Simply giving praise for an accomplishment can make a great difference in how children will progress scholastically.
  1. Simplicity - Pushing children to be the best than can be can have a negative impact in the future. You don't want to set your child up for failure and then get angry with them if they do. Setting realistic goals for your child to accomplish can help boost self-esteem and build confidence.
  2. Encouragement - Children with learning disabilities need constant encouragement. It's bad enough that some children are ridiculed or bullied at school. It will lead to a severe psychological consequences if the child is ridiculed at home as well. Instead, offer an encouraging environment.
  1. Reinforcement - Every child has a special skill that they excel at. Whether it be a simple artistic ability or specific subject in school, remind the child to focus attention on the positives of that skill. No matter how bad things may seem in a particular area, remind the child of how well they excel at others.
  2. Competition - For multi-child households, competition and sibling rivalry are fairly common, especially if the ages of the children are fairly close together. A child with learning disabilities can become frustrated with the success of the siblings, and it could damage any future progress because of self-doubt. The resulting frustration could also manifest itself in violent behaviors and resentment towards the more successful siblings. You will need to keep this in check to ensure the behavior won't escalate.
  3. Interactivity - Schools offer special education programs for children with learning disabilities. As a parent, it is your responsibility to attend meetings with your child's teachers and counselors in order to devise a plan of action to help your child succeed. Being active in your child's scholastic career can also show the child that you are doing what you can to help, reinforcing his or her understanding that you care.
  1. Creativity - The Internet is full of information regarding any aspect of life. If a method to help your learning disabled child isn't working, look for help on parenting sites such as those on You'll find many creative methods to help your child succeed, or you can develop your own.
  2. Listen - Sitting your child down and having a talk about things that could be bothering him or her can help them feel reassured about what is going on. Weekly family meetings are a good way to get to the heart of problems. Listen to what your children have to say and realize that even though it may be small to you, it means a great deal to them.
  3. Understanding - You, as a parent, need to understand that the child is having problems and they will get their cues on handling them from you. Be patient with their progress and supportive in all aspects of their life.

Special needs children are high maintenance and may need a lot more of your time than children without special needs. We commit ourselves to making sure they have everything they need because we love them and want them to have a fair shake out of life. Being too critical of the child's learning process can be detrimental to the child and can have adverse effects. Be mindful of what you say or do and show them that regardless of how they learn.

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