A child’s learning disability may affect their emotional health as much as their academic performance. Learning disabilities risk children developing low self-esteem and fear of failure and build anxiety in them as they work to master subjects that may be challenging. Aside from their learning issues, they may experience frustrations, sadness, and anxiety.
To support your kids with their emotional needs, here are some advice you can follow:
When they feel different among the class:
Being different from their friends is the last thing most kids want. Students may feel embarrassed and singled out when they’re called on for tutoring or called upon by their teachers for something they’re afraid they won’t be able to perform. These experiences can ruin a child’s self-esteem and make him/her hate going to school.
When making an assessment of their performance or something they need to improve, be sensitive to how they might feel and try to communicate with them privately without the other children in the class. Giving rewards and praise can help to motivate children with learning difficulties. In their situation, they may feel like they are only getting negative attention from others so it’s important to also notice and praise their positive actions, no matter how small it is, to boost their confidence.
When they think they are dumb or stupid:
When the child notices that they are behind in class and are not learning at the same pace as their classmates and peers, they may assume it’s because they are slow or dumb. Make sure that the child understands his/her learning disability. Knowing that their disability has nothing to do with their intelligence can make a big difference to them.
Children with learning disabilities are also very sensitive to their parents’ emotions. If you think negatively of their diagnosis, they may probably feel the same way. Be careful with the messages you’re sending them and make sure to make them feel and understand that having a disability is not all a bad thing and that it is not their fault. Talking about their difficulties together can also help.
When they’re feeling worn out:
Children with learning difficulties may have to work harder than their peers and spend more time focusing on something that seems difficult for them. This can lead to feelings of resentment, which can cause problems with their motivation in school. Make the child realize that hard work breeds success. With extra effort, they too can be successful in school. Seeing their progress, no matter how small, can also motivate them. Set realistic and achievable goals and make them realize that they are making progress.
Lastly, find their talent. Every child has a talent, and when you find that one thing that they’re good at and feel good doing, can help a lot in boosting their confidence. It gives them a sense of mastery and fulfillment.