Tips on how to help your child manage a learning disability in the classroom
(NC) Finding out that your child has a learning disability can be stressful. We all want the best for our kids, but when you don’t know how to help, panic can set in. The first step is to take a breath, then learn as much as you can about your child’s strengths, weaknesses and needs. Then, get involved. There are things you can do to support them and help them succeed.
Be an advocate. Work with the school to create a supportive environment that caters to children with a learning disability. Provide information and direction to authoritative resources. Don’t be afraid to “be the expert” on your child.
“Having an invisible disability such as dyslexia can be difficult to explain and make others understand,” says Christine Staley, executive director of Dyslexia Canada. “Knowing that someone is in their corner can greatly improve a student’s self-esteem and performance.”
Keep it positive and focus on strengths. Parents should help children stay positive. Encourage children to participate in activities that showcase their strengths, remind them that everyone has things they are good at and not so good at. Find solutions to classroom struggles using these strengths. “If a student is being asked to do a research project, instead of submitting it in writing, they could do an oral presentation, submit a poster board, create a video – wherever their strengths lie,” says Staley.
Self-Advocacy. At some point, kids will need to explain what they need without their parents’ help. Help kids learn to explain their disability to others. Have them practice in front of family members. Teach them to ask for help and understand what support they are entitled to.
Offering children and families support in navigating the challenges that come with having a learning disability greatly increases their chances of doing well both in school and in life. To get more information related to dyslexia and the signs to watch out for, check out dyslexiacanada.org.
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