A drama takes place at many American dinner tables nightly. It has various endings and twists and turns. Parents sit with their children while they do their homework, sometimes for hours.
Between 4 or 5 percent of the population have one or more learning disabilities. This condition affects the way they take in, retain and express information. Having a learning disability can be frustrating for everyone involved.
With proper diagnosis, modification of learning strategies, and a lot of patience and hard work, these challenges can be overcome. Frustration can be replaced with a new way of learning. There is hope.
It is important to know what types of learning disabilities exist in order to determine if your child has a learning disability. Learning disabilities can run in families. If one member of your family has a diagnosed learning disability, there is a greater chance that other family members could have one as well.
It is important to remember that a person with a learning disability has average or above average intelligence. They are not, however, able to achieve their academic potential without modification and accommodation in the learning environment.
Since every person with a learning disability is unique, it is impossible to paint a static picture of every scenario. There are traits common to many people with learning disabilities.
Common learning disabilities include challenges in one or more of the following areas:
oral or spoken language
logical reasoning and memory
Learning does not need to be traditional to be successful
As you can see, there are a wide range of areas where a person may have difficulties learning. There are also a broad range of options for education.
Many parents choose to keep their children in public schools. Many schools provide alternate learning strategies both inside and outside the classroom. Some parents, given their financial resources, choose private school.
Because public education in the United States has a fairly structured framework, some parents choose to home school. When deciding to home school your child, make sure to find support from other parents using home education for their children with learning disabilities. This may or may not be the best option for your family.
Working closely with your child can be challenging
But it can also provide insight into how they process information. You can gain a greater understanding of their mind and how it works.
Your child is more than a diagnosis
When your child has a disability of any sort, it is easy to let the disability define the individual. This is especially true immediately following diagnosis. Try to avoid this. The disability is merely a part of who your child is.
Learning may take more time
Since children with a learning disability are, by definition, functioning at average or above average intelligence, they may become frustrated with their own performance. Remind your child, their teacher and yourself that mastering material is not a race.
The process of learning is as important as the goal
Remembering this can make the days go more smoothly. Be aware that some individuals become frustrated with their progress and are more prone to depression, or other similar mental health concerns.
You are not alone
There are many prominent and successful people with learning disabilities. Telling your child about them can provide them a role model to look to when they are frustrated.
If you suspect that your child has a learning disability, educate yourself. Be creative with your solutions and be patient with the progress your child makes. Children with learning disabilities are regular kids, they just need the right tools to help them succeed.
A. Lynn Scoresby, founder and president of My Family Track , First Answers , and Achievement Synchrony , and has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years. He has published more than 20 books and training programs.