How to support your child when they have a learning difficulty.
A learning difficulty can be described as a problem with processing. It can affect the way we learn to read, write, spell, reason, recall or organise the information around us, for example, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
People with learning difficulties are no less intelligent than their peers, they have a different way of processing and responding to what they are learning.
Feelings of self-esteem can be linked to social and academic success. Children with a learning difficulty are more likely to suffer from a lack of self-esteem.
How can you help your child:
- help them feel special and appreciated. Set aside 'special time' when they have your full attention and do something that they enjoy, so they can relax and have a chance to show off their strengths
- help them develop problem solving and decision-making skills. Try role playing to help them to come up with more than one solution to a problem
- avoid judgmental comments, frame what you say in positive terms. Children with learning difficulties do try hard, but still have difficulty. Instead of saying try harder and make more of an effort, try saying let's figure out a better way to help you learn. This also helps their problem-solving abilities
- be empathetic. Let them know you understand that they are finding it hard
- provide choices for them
- do not compare siblings. Highlight the strengths of everyone in the family
- have realistic goals and expectations. This helps them with their self-control, which in turn helps their self-esteem
- help them to understand the nature of their problem. Realistic information can help them understand that there are things that will help them.
Remember to look after yourself too. Recognise that there are some things that can be changed, and other things that can't.