How To Talk to Your Child About His Learning Disability
Children with learning and attention issues often pick up on ways they differ from their peers and struggling with schoolwork can be a blow to self-esteem. Talking to your child about his disability can prove to be very useful.
It is also useful to let the other children in the household understand the challenges that his or her sibling might be facing. They can help to encourage the challenged child if they understand the problem.
Here are some tips on how you can do so.
Challenges for All
Let your child know that we all have strengths and weaknesses, and give specific examples. This can make it easier for him/her to embrace his/her learning differences. Talk about how he/she learns differently, but try to keep the focus on strategies rather than on the challenges themselves. This can help empower your child to overcome or work around weaknesses.
No Labels Necessary
Early on, focus on finding ways to talk comfortably about your child’s learning challenges and behaviours. Diagnoses, clinical terms or more detailed discussion may come later, when more appropriate.
Once Is Not Enough
One conversation is just the beginning. Children’s level of understanding changes over time. Opening a dialogue with your child about learning challenges lays a foundation for trust, problem solving and self-acceptance.
Listen To Your Child
Take the time to listen—really listen. Heed the proverb: “Listen twice as much as you speak.” Focusing on what your child says and does may lead to deeper, richer discussions about obstacles and solutions.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the challenges your child is facing. Don’t forget to build on your child’s strengths and successes. Praise your child’s strengths, but use specific examples whenever possible, and don’t overdo it. Even young children can spot insincerity.
CEOs, celebrities and professional athletes often talk about how they have handled their learning differences. Their stories may help your child feel less stigmatized and even boost his/her self-esteem.