Parents know their children best; however, the diagnosis of a learning disorder can make some feel like they might not have a total grasp on who their child is, or what makes them tick. Although having a child with a learning disability can be challenging, keeping the following things in mind will be helpful not only to parents, but their children as well.
Not All Learning Disabilities Are the Same
This is obvious, but often parents begin to see learning disabilities as one large amorphous issue. While it’s true that different learning disabilities can pose similar challenges, each learning disability (and the child affected by it) is unique.
Parents can become more intimate with their child’s learning disability by doing research online and talking with a specialist.
There Isn’t a “Cure”
Many parents new to the world of learning disabilities think that a learning disability can be “cured” like a disease. While learning disabilities can be overcome and even used to one’s advantage, they can never truly be cured.
Instead, learning “disorders” should be reframed as learning “differences,” a more accurate term. Once parents, and more importantly, children and students, begin to think of themselves as different instead of disabled, they will begin to feel more empowered.
There aren’t any quick or simple solutions when it comes to learning to live with learning differences—the faster you can come to terms with this, the better. However, being different is a good thing and not something that needs to be cured. Instead, differences should be celebrated and cultivated. More and more schools are beginning to adopt this philosophy, and subsequently the landscape of education is changing for the better.
Getting your child’s diagnosis can be overwhelming, although finally having a reason for why they have struggled so much can be a relief.
For parents who are just beginning to contend with the realities of the world of learning disabilities, it’s important to understand that help exists in many forms. In addition to school counselors and mental health professionals, a wealth of information and resources exists online. Knowing that a community of people facing similar challenges exists can provide a certain peace of mind.
Your Child Is Resilient
Some parents feel an immense sense of concern or guilt once they learn what their child struggles with. This is completely natural. Parents, after all, are hardwired to be concerned about their children. It’s important to remember that your child has made it this far, despite their struggles, and that knowing what learning disability plagues them will make living with it a lot easier.
While there are no hard and fast rules for helping your child live and cope with a learning disability, there are certain truths that can make the process of growing and adapting smoother for both of you. Parents should always remember that they are not alone and that more people than they might realize have dealt with or are dealing with a learning disability…talking about it is sometimes the best medicine.
Parents are the primary source of strength and inspiration for their children, even if their children live away at boarding school. Now, more than ever, is the time for learning differences to be celebrated instead of hidden or relegated to special programs. Parents and children should feel hopeful that we live in a world that embraces and rewards unique qualities and capabilities—things that are part and parcel of LD students.