Learning Disabilities – What Parents Need to Know

Parents helping children with homework

 

Children soak up information like a sponge soaks up water. They pull from their adult influences, their environment, and the peers around them. Until they reach school age, it can be difficult to monitor their learning capabilities, but once they are in an environment where projects and assignments are graded, it becomes clear where they fall in the learning line-up. In many cases, children are placed into one of three categories: above average, average, or below average. In the case that your child falls into the below average category, these are some things you should know.

A learning disability (LD) is described by Healthychildren.org as a range of learning problems that have to do with the way the brain gets, uses, stores, and sends out information. As many as 15% of children have an LD, which includes trouble with reading, writing, listening, speaking, reasoning, and math.

The cause of an LD is not always known, but common causes include genetics, low birth weight, prematurity, or childhood injury like a head injury, lead poisoning, or childhood illness like meningitis.

If you are concerned about your child’s slowness with learning, talk to their doctor and their teacher. Teachers are equipped to run certain learning assessments to better identify an issue, and they are also your child’s biggest advocate for learning. Their job is to share knowledge with your child and have them learn. The doctor can also run tests to determine if a vision or hearing impairment is to blame for slow learning, and these issues can be resolved medically to get your child back on track.

Ways for parents to help their children with LDs include focusing on the child’s strengths. Every child and individual in general has strengths and weaknesses. By focusing on strengths and promoting how to use strengths to help with and balance out weaknesses, the child’s confidence builds, and they are better equipped to learn in their way.

Other than focusing on strengths, it is important to aid in the development of social and emotional skills for your child. Learning disabilities can cause great frustration in your child and cause them to be withdrawn. As a parent, you can help by finding local extracurricular activities for your child to join that play on their strengths to draw them out of their shell. Also, it is important to acknowledge that learning is hard, and the child finds it extra hard because their brain learns in a different way.

All children learn, but they all learn differently. If your child is having trouble, talk to their doctor and their teacher to determine if a learning disability or some other cause is to blame. If a learning disability is part of your child’s daily routine, take the steps listed above to help them learn in their way.