After the process of evaluation, you learned your child was diagnosed with a learning disability, such as dysgraphia, nonverbal learning disorder, or a specific reading comprehension deficit. While this may make you feel worried about your child’s future education, these tips can help you take strong approaches to the diagnosis:
Do research about the learning disability
This will help you know more about how and why symptoms arise, the best methods to treat it, and how to encourage your student. Some reliable sources to turn to are the Learning Disabilities of America and the National Center for Learning Disabilities. You may also visit your local library and check out books that discuss the specific learning disability. You can even ask your student’s teacher or psychologist for more resources and information.
Join a community of people with children who have the same disability
Joining a group of parents who all have children with the same disability will help you find more resources for your child. Having people you can talk to who will relate to your concerns will also provide a sense of validation. In addition, your child will get to make new friends who can help them feel more confident in their learning differences.
Be an advocate for your child
Advocacy can be done in several ways. It could be done by creating a social media page where you create posts about the disability. You can do a walk to support a charity for that disability. You could also make sure your student’s teachers and other superiors understand their learning disability, so they know how to interact with them. This will help your child understand you care about them and want them to succeed in any way possible.
Provide positive reinforcement
By providing your child with positive reinforcement, you are making sure they grow up with an optimistic attitude about their diagnosis, which will allow them to gain a strong sense of self-worth and respect for themselves. Positive reinforcement could look like allowing your child to make mistakes while they do their homework, giving them affirmations, or even giving them the opportunity to voice their confusions.
Provide your students with role models who also have the same disability
Showing your children the different ways people can succeed with their learning disability will keep them from feeling discouraged. For example, if your child has dyslexia, you can let them know people like Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg also were diagnosed with it. If they have a nonverbal learning disorder, you could watch a movie with Chris Rock, who was also diagnosed with it.
Be open to conversations about their mental health.
Sometimes, a student might feel frustrated, anxious, or depressed about not being on the same academic level as their peers. Being open to talking about your child’s emotions will let them feel supported. It will also let you come up with solutions, such as taking your child to therapy or setting aside self-care days, to make sure your child’s learning disability does not affect their mental health.
Find an extracurricular activity for your child
Enrolling your student in an extracurricular activity, such as sports or dancing, can make sure they are participating in some form of movement which will keep them healthy and energized, which will help them focus while doing schoolwork. In addition, it lets them build a relationship with children outside of school who will appreciate them for their differences.
While a learning disability diagnosis may be tough information to deal with at first, having methods to help you and your student process and contextualize it will help you move forward in the best possible direction.