How to talk to your child about their learning disability

One of the most disheartening things for a parent to learn is that their son or daughter has been diagnosed with a learning disability. Some parents faced with confronting this issue are wracked with guilt and grief, uncertain about the future prospects their child faces as he or she struggles with both the hardships and stigma associated with disabilities of this nature.

Other parents find the task of telling their child about their learning disability extremely difficult as they search for words of encouragement and hope when revealing the grim diagnosis. Although there are endless ways to approach telling a child that he or she has a learning disorder, a positive, yet honest approach works best, letting the child know that although they have a unique challenge, the battle can be won.

Parents should be truthful when talking to their child about his or her learning disability. Children should be presented with the facts and encouraged to ask questions. If parents cannot answer their children’s questions, arrangements should be made for the child to meet with a school counselor or other academic official that can answer any questions they may have.

Children who are told the truth about their learning disability tend to have a more realistic and positive approach towards their academic pursuits. They understand what they can handle and what they cannot and know that it is okay to ask for assistance or extra time when it is needed. Children may also feel relieved to learn that their struggles in school are not their fault; that their condition has a name, thus giving it more credibility.

Parents should keep in mind that although a learning disability is undoubtedly an extra burden on the child academically, it does not forecast the future failure or success of a child. Children should be told that they are not alone in their struggle with a learning disability.

Many other children are also dealing with the special academic challenges posed by learning disabilities and some are succeeding quite well. In fact, several important historical figures as well as famous celebrities also struggled with learning disabilities as children and have grown up to make a name for themselves in the world.

Finally, parents should view their child’s learning disability as a unique challenge that can be overcome with patience, dedication, perseverance, and hard work. They should tell their child that each small step forward is a big leap towards eventual success and mastery of their academic studies. Since children with learning disabilities have to try much harder than the average student, they should be rewarded often and encouraged to keep trying.

Parents should tell their children that the learning disability they possess can be overcome with a positive attitude and some extra effort. Parents shouldn’t view the disability in a negative light because the child is able to sense this feeling of negativity and may feel that they are a disappointment or even a burden to their parents. In short, parents should approach the subject of a learning disability to their child with the same enthusiasm, hope, and honesty as they would tell a child prodigy about their special gifts.

All children are different academically and these differences should be embraced and worked through, not singled out and assigned values based on whether they are considered good or bad.

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