help children to cope with their learning difficulties
Many creative teaching techniques including educational games can be used to help children to cope with their learning difficulties. Let's look deeper at how learning can be made easy for kids with special learning needs.
Learning disabilities have been found in children for decades, but now, thanks to the advancement of medical research, we're able to identify them much more easily and often, at a relatively early age. There are some distinct symptoms of various learning disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, auditory and language processing difficulty, etc., and when these disorders are diagnosed at an early age, parents and teachers can adopt the many creative mechanisms that help cope with these conditions.
The causes of these disabilities are not clearly known, but medical professionals have narrowed them down to unhealthy lifestyle, stress, environmental toxins, premature birth, low weight at birth, and consumption of controlled substances during pregnancy. Children who have these conditions often struggle with simple things that come easily to other kids - understanding instructions, ability to concentrate, and early learning including reading and writing. Sometimes, these learning disorders take a toll on their social life too if they are subjected to mockery by their peers. Let's understand how the education system and poor parenting fail children with learning disabilities, knowingly or unknowingly, and the impact it has on them.
It's quite easy to lose your patience with someone who is a slow learner. Parents and teachers, even though they know what the child is going through, can sometimes lose their patience while teaching simple learning concepts to them. A child with dyslexia will keep writing mirror images of the letters, and someone with ADHD will find it hard to concentrate on what is being taught. At times like these, parents sometimes lose their patience and might raise their voices or showcase their frustration. We've got to understand that this has an adverse effect on the morale and self-esteem of the child. Practicing a little patience and giving some much needed love and support can do wonders for a special child.
The education system can sometimes be harsh with children who have learning difficulties. They blame them for being inattentive and unresponsive. Even if the child is trying their best, teachers assume that they aren’t focusing on purpose. It's human nature to get frustrated and place blame on others even when we know the situation. This kind of blame is only going to take longer for the child to grasp the learning concepts. On the contrary, the child will begin to feel that it's really their fault, resulting in an even slower learning process. So, it’s important to not only understand the what’s and why’s of their struggle but also be considerate to realize that it isn’t their fault and what they are going through is definitely not intentional.
Another struggle that children with learning disabilities face is the exclusion from activities. Often, parents and teachers or even peers will exclude these kids from activities that they feel will not be enjoyable for them. They assume that because the child is slow to grasp or needs more effort and patience, it's going to be best for everyone if the child doesn’t participate at all. Whether it's games like charades or Simon Says that require quick thinking or more formal activities like school elocutions or competitions, adults find it easier if kids with learning disabilities skip them. While it may be the more practical decision, it's very disheartening for the child when they are left out. We must make sure that they feel included, even if in a small way and not aloof to feel dejected.
- Disregarding Their Emotions & Feelings
When children with learning difficulties complete small tasks, it's quite a big deal for them. They take a while to grasp things, and when they finally get it, it might not be seen as a major accomplishment for the parents or teachers, but it's a big win for the child. Parents and teachers tend to disregard this, and that makes the child feel less valued. Similarly, when children have emotional outbursts, it's disregarded as a tantrum, when in reality, they can't really control that outburst. Every time they are dismissed or disregarded by their parents and teachers, it has a direct effect on their wellbeing, and this should be avoided at all costs. So, the adults around these children need to be made to understand to be extra sensitive and careful of the emotions of kids with learning disabilities. The right encouragement often works as a magic trick.
There are many tendencies of parents and teachers that negatively affect kids with learning disorders. But it doesn’t have to be that way, it can be made better with just a few simple changes. Firstly, keep reminding yourself that they aren’t doing any of this on purpose; they can't help the learning difficulty they have. Empathize with them and understand that their struggle is constant, and a small lapse on your part will make it even more difficult for them to cope with their condition. What's considered a small deal for you is, in reality, a big win for them, so applaud the small tasks they complete successfully - when they write their letters correctly, successfully do simple math, complete a puzzle, or participate in a social activity. Give them credit for trying, overcoming their fears, and completing the task. All this will encourage them to keep working on sharpening their skills and overcoming their learning difficulties.
More concrete ways of aiding these children are paying more attention to them in the classroom, participating in creative learning activities with them, including them in activities with other children as much as possible, attending workshops and seminars that will help you deal with their learning disorder better, and keeping a close eye on their improvements. Having a child with learning difficulties comes with its share of challenges. The trick is to adopt small and simple parenting techniques that will help you help them cope with the disorder. With a little extra love and effort, it's definitely possible!