Dealing with learning disorders can be difficult for children and parents. While the causes of learning disorders are still under investigation by neuroscientists worldwide, what we do know is that learning disorders – sometimes called learning disabilities – affect a child’s ability to process and store information.
On an everyday level, this commonly translates as feelings of confusion, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, difficulty reading and writing, and trouble understanding literacy and numeracy at school.
For parents of children with learning disorders, it can be difficult to know how to reach out and help your child, but there are many positive steps you can take to facilitate learning while also building a stronger, more caring relationship with your child.
- Talk to your child’s teacher to make sure your approach to learning difficulties is consistent
- Ask your child’s teacher about areas of difficulty and work on those with your child at home
- Create learning tasks that you can do together, with small successes built in to encourage your child to keep going
- Teach them practical learning skills like memory tricks, colour coding and breaking tasks down into smaller tasks
- Ask your child’s teacher what you can do to help them overcome learning difficulties
- Reinforce positive self-esteem by offering praise when your child does well at something (whether it is academic or not)
- Let your child know that you are proud when they make an effort in something they typically find difficult
- Explain the disorder to your child in simple, practical terms. Be very clear that having a learning disorder is not linked to their intelligence in any way
- Let your child know it is okay to ask for help
- Give your child time to respond to questions. Remember that some learning disorders, like dyslexia, don’t just affect reading and writing, but can extend to thought organisation, concentration, memory and more.
- Ask your child’s school if they are able to provide an ADA accredited teacher, learning aid or assistive software, such as speech-to-text software, Dictaphones or special Apps
- Take advantage of resources from websites like Learning Difficulties Australia, AUSPELD, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (USA) and the Australian Dyslexic Association
- Educate yourself about their learning difficulties so you can better understand what they are going through
- Ask for an assessment from a child psychologist
- Ask your child psychologist about helpful Apps and software programs designed to help with your child’s specific disorder
If you suspect your child might suffer from a learning disorder, it might be time to seek an assessment from a child psychologist.
At Strategic Psychology, our friendly child psychologists can help you differentiate between learning disorders and learning difficulties to get a clear understanding of how your child learns and how you can help them to learn better. If a learning disorder diagnosis is given, we provide ongoing support for children to help them overcome their unique challenges.
Call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online to start working towards better learning today.