When a learning disorder is diagnosed in your child, it’s natural to have concerns about how their future will pan out. Your mind goes on a whirlwind. You begin to play scenarios in your head. You wonder if they will attend college like other kids and whether they will be able to get and hold a job down. Thoughts of whether the condition will be a permanent feature in their lives becomes constant in your mind.
It’s important to understand that learning disorders don’t simply disappear with time. These neurodevelopmental issues typically emerge during the early years of learning in school. They are defined by persistent difficulties most frequently in the areas of dysgraphia (writing disabilities), dyslexia (difficulty in reading), and dyscalculia (struggling with numbers and math).
However, with the correct tools and support, children with learning disorders can learn successfully. And as the children age, they might become increasingly adept at leveraging their unique abilities to overcome their learning difficulties (LDs).
“Kids with LDs are able to go on to college, and they are able to pursue careers and be successful,” says Dr. Angela Dewey, a neuropsychologist at the Child Mind Institute’s Learning and Development Center. “Understanding their learning profile, understanding their challenges, and also understanding their strengths… they’re better able to tailor their experiences toward the things that they’re good at and the things that they’re interested in.”
If your child has a learning issue, it doesn’t imply that they lack intelligence; it simply means their brain processes information differently. Moreover, learning disorders are more common than you may believe.
In the United States, it’s estimated that up to 15% of learners have a learning disability or disorder.
It’s important for kids with learning difficulties to understand that they can succeed academically and psychologically even though they might need different learning tactics and school might not come as naturally to them as it does to others. You can help children in a number of crucial ways now and in the future, as they develop.
Evolves Over Time
The difficulties your kid faces are likely to change over time, in part due to the nature and degree of the condition they have. Keeping communication channels open with your child is instrumental in helping them get ready for how their learning problem may affect them differently as they get older.
In the later grades, some difficulties brought on by learning problems may become more severe as school demands become more complex. For example, children with dyslexia often face greater difficulties around grade three when reading and writing fluency become more important.
Children with non-verbal learning disorders may find it challenging to understand the more nuanced social cues that develop as they and their peers get older, and students with auditory processing disorders may struggle with the increased academic responsibilities and independence of middle and high school.
In general, teenagers with LDs frequently struggle to take thorough notes, complete challenging tasks, or prepare for exams – particularly as they attempt to navigate college and career plans.
Consequently, if children comprehend their circumstances and how to deal with them, certain things are probably going to get simpler. The use of speech-to-text tools, visual aids, or techniques for segmenting assignments into manageable tasks might become comfortable for students.
In order to receive accommodations in college, individuals with LDs often register with their institution. These accommodations may include additional exam time, note-taking assistance, priority registration for classes, and tailored support.
With the right support, “kids can better cope with those learning challenges and still go to a rigorous college, or pursue the career that they want, but using those modifications to just remove the barrier,” explains Dr. Dewey.
Remember that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grant people with learning disabilities the right to accommodations and support services at work and in educational settings. Children can learn how to become stronger, more confident advocates for themselves in college and beyond by being given early guidance on their abilities, flaws, and rights.
Early Interventions have a Significant Impact
Early diagnosis and treatment of learning difficulties can improve your child’s academic performance and mental health as they age. Depending on the nature and degree of the disorder, specialists can teach your kid to rely on their strengths and develop abilities in areas where they struggle. The precise methods they use will vary.
“The earlier we can understand what’s going on for a student and the earlier they get support, it just becomes part of their curriculum or part of their day-to-day support that they’re receiving,” says Dr. Rachel Ganz, a neuropsychologist at the Child Mind Institute’s Learning and Development Center. “We want to keep the desire to learn alive.”
For instance, dyslexic children should enroll in intense remedial reading programs in elementary school to assist them develop their academic abilities as they age. If pupils are encouraged to write out the procedures to solve arithmetic problems, math issues may become more doable for students with a math-related impairment who may learn better verbally.
“Students can gain skills and improve in academics or behavior regulation, whatever is challenging for them,” adds Dr. Dewey. “Oftentimes, there is a positive trajectory when intervention happens early.” Please check our ADHD test and cognitive assessment.
The ultimate objective of early intervention, according to Dr. Ganz, is to provide students with academic tools that can make it simpler for them to manage their learning impairment as they age. Then, in adulthood, those same abilities might make daily living and professional achievement easier.
Assisting Your Kid’s Intellectual and Emotional Needs
Kids’ self-esteem might suffer from learning difficulties, especially if the condition goes undiagnosed for a long time. It is crucial for children to have strong emotional support at home because when they fall behind their peers, they frequently become upset and may act out in class or withdraw from social situations.
When your child is young, try discussing their disorder with them to help them become accustomed to the thought of being different from some of their peers.
Keep in touch with the staff at the school to make sure that your child is receiving the proper testing accommodations and educational activities.
Don’t be reluctant to ask for help from mental health specialists, support groups, or educational activists. When your child is old enough, you can also assist them in developing the ability to speak out for themselves, which they can utilize later in life in situations such as school or the workplace.
At home, make an effort to create a safe environment for your child to ask for homework assistance, and encourage them by praising their effort rather than their performance on a test or project. Early on, they can learn that their worth is independent of how well they achieve academically, which can boost their self-esteem and make them feel more comfortable facing obstacles in the future.
“While we help children understand their weaknesses and learn language to advocate for themselves, it’s also important to help them understand that they have so many strengths,” emphasizes Dr. Ganz.