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Problems Faced By Parents of Children With Learning Disabilities

by Anita Holmes

Children with learning disabilities face challenges in mastering reading, writing or math concepts in school. The good news is that the gaps in achievement-level learning between kids with learning difficulties and their non-struggling peers generally close by the end of high school. The bad news is that in the early years of their struggles to grasp academic skills, children often face other problems in addition to scholastic ones. Parents are intrinsically involved in any obstacle their young ones face. There are strategies that can help ameliorate these problems.

Emotional Problems

Children who struggle with academics are often frustrated. They desperately want to please teachers and parents by accomplishing reading, writing or math tasks that other students appear to be able to do quite easily. Kids with learning disabilities can exhibit fear, frustration, anger and even humiliation as they come to terms with scholastic challenges. When learning troubles appear, parents can best help by immediately working with school staff to determine the nature of the problem and by creating a custom-designed learning strategy to support their young one in making steady progress in overcoming learning tasks. Talk with you child about what he is experiencing and why he's having trouble mastering certain concepts. Assure him daily that he has your support, and celebrate with him every small step in learning that has been successfully completed.

Self-Esteem Issues

Children are aware from a very early age of any difficulties they are experiencing in the classroom. They can be their own worst critics, silently berating themselves for their academic shortcomings. Set your youngster up for successful experiences in life areas other than academics. Does she enjoy animals? Have her join a 4-H youth group. Is swimming an interest? Provide her with lessons and access to a team. Community activity opportunities for children abound. Help her select one to three outside-of-school interests and support her in becoming involved in these pastimes. As she develops skill mastery in these areas of interest, her self-esteem will be bolstered.

Peer Pressures

Peer groups can be cruel to children who in any way deviate from the perceived norm. Students with learning disabilities can be targeted by peer groups. Parental involvement with both the classroom and school staff can alleviate negative peer pressure. Volunteering in the classroom provides your kid with additional support, can diminish peer prejudice by furnishing other students with a positive experience -- by extension -- with his family, and it can give you an invaluable opportunity to observe first hand how things are going. When parental time is short and volunteering in the classroom won't work, seek help from an extended family member or friend who could spend an hour or two per week in the classroom.

Additional Parental Support

Closing the learning gap between non-struggling peers and your learning-challenged child often means extra help in academics on the homefront. For instance, as you work with school personnel in devising strategies to help your child master basic reading concepts, the effort will often include extra time reading with her at home. Consistency is key here; work each evening with your youngster, taking frequent breaks and sharing high-fives as she completes each assignment.

About the Author

A retired teacher, Anita Holmes is an experienced seamstress, wood worker and home decor specialist. She's designed and constructed new homes, gardens, remodeled multiple homes, built furniture, decks and cabinets and sewn everything from custom drapes to intricate quilts. Holmes holds a Master of Public Administration degree.

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