Help for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities

Each learning disability is going to have its own method of treatment. But all learning disorders affect the lives of the person who has the problem, and for the people who teach them, care for them and work with them and live with them.

The psychological effects of learning disabilities vary from person to person, but for learning-disabled people they can include:

  • frustration due to repeated failure in school, in the workplace, or in social situations
  • low self-esteem due to those failures and from taunting or humiliation from those who are impatient or intolerant
  • stress when pressed to “try harder” by people who don’t recognize the reason for difficulties
  • depression if there seems to be no way around the learning deficit and the emotions it engenders

Families, including parents and siblings, may feel:

  • stress and even burnout because of the child’s needs and the efforts required to meet them
  • frustration if they’re unable to help the learning-disabled child
  • guilt over whatever role they think they may have had in causing the child’s learning
  • disorders or because they give the learning-disabled child more attention than their other children

  • resentment over the attention given to the learning-disabled child

These feelings are normal and even expected, but don’t let the learning disability take over your lives. Here are some tips:

  • Find activities the family can enjoy together outside of the home
  • Try to maintain a regular schedule – this will cut down on everyone’s stress level
  • Build a support group – this may include grandparents, teachers, neighbors and friends
  • See what activities your child enjoys and feels good about doing… and keep doing them!
  • Make sure teachers and coaches understand the child’s situation, and give them some tools to help make your child’s experience as positive as possible
  • Attend IEP sessions and stay involved in evaluating your child’s response to treatment. If something’s not working, it’s time to do something else
  • Stay informed – read as much as you can about your child’s disability(s) and stay current. Many researchers are working on the problem of learning disabilities
  • Question authority – you know your child better than anyone else. Give them the benefit of your knowledge, but also.
  • Listen to the specialists – you may be too close to your child to see certain things, but most importantly.
  • Take care of yourself – a healthy, happy parent is the best treatment of all