Helping Kids with Learning Disabilities
Updated: Feb 13
“Helping Kids with Learning Disabilities” is a follow up to my previous posts “Those Looks” and “Those Comments.” They emphasized the insensitivity of looks and comments made by other kids, teachers and even parents when looking, speaking to or about children with learning disabilities. Not only do the children with learning disabilities suffer but their parents do as well. Those looks and comments can be extremely hurtful and they unquestionably serve only one purpose. They boost feelings of shame, anxiety, and isolation. And these insensitive behaviors can be devastating for children with learning disabilities. There is no possible way self-esteem can blossom under such circumstances.
Instead of demeaning kids with learning disabilities we have to find a way to help them. Everybody in their community must have a better understanding of how these children actually feel. I know, we can’t know exactly, but we can be more sensitive and try.
Kids feel alone when they feel different or when they feel like they don’t fit in. They feel alone even if it isn’t necessarily one hundred percent true. That’s just how they feel. And we certainly can’t belittle our kids’ feelings. These feelings exist and we shouldn’t ignore them. We must find a way to let them know they’re not alone. And this applies to kids with learning disabilities and kids experiencing any other type of disability, or simply any kid that just feels different.
Having raised a child with learning disabilities, I know exactly how they felt during their school years. Why? Because I listened when my child cried out, “Am I the only one on planet Earth who has learning disabilities?” “Am I the only one that fails tests in school?” “What’s wrong with me?”
I’m thinking that the same feeling of lonesomeness overwhelms kids with other disabilities, like the kid with one arm, or that kid with a grouchy personality 24/7, or that kid with a funny walk, funny speech, or weight issue. I’m sure you get the picture by now. These kids most probably feel all alone in what they feel is their own personal struggle.
All kids need to know there are other kids just like them out there on planet Earth, so that they don’t feel totally alone. One way is to meet other kids with similar problems but that might be more difficult to arrange. There are children’s books about learning disabilities and books about autism, physical handicaps, allergies, etc. The list goes on and on. You can discover books about children that are “different” online. And I will repeat what my son has taught me, “Mom, just Google it!” You will discover numerous options. Exposing children to these types of books will help them see they are not alone and will offer them coping strategies as well. While these books may not be a magical solution to the problem, they may relay another perspective, another idea, something new to the mix of things. And something new is always a good thing in my opinion.
Before leaving this site, I suggest checking out my two children’s books about learning disabilities. “I am Me and I Can” targeted for children ages 7-11. “If Only…” a realistic fiction for young adults. Both books give the reader a glimpse into how children with learning disabilities feel when they “don’t fit in,” and both books provide coping strategies that are weaved into the story.
After reading my books, I would love to hear your thoughts!