When I was young, the thought of school traumatized me. Books, as I recollect, were torturing objects where I had to stare at some random symbols and to top it all – I was expected to make sense out of them. I was made fun of and was laughed at, I was called out for making excuses and labelled useless. That is when my parents became my shield, they helped me understand the beauty of each symbol and enabled me to make sense out of it. They channeled my artistic talent and love for nature in a way that helped me read and find how magnificently words can capture nature in itself too. Suddenly, the same terror of school became my addiction, and my parents built the best memories of my childhood for me.
When I was young, the thought of school traumatized me. Books, as I recollect, were torturing objects where I had to stare at some random symbols and to top it all – I was expected to make sense out of them. I was made fun of and was laughed at, I was called out for making excuses and labelled useless. Even at home, my parents failed to recognize my trouble with reading, and I had no one to share my actual struggles with. I felt lonely and depressed and turned into a rebel eventually. Those memories haunt me today, and the despair I fought within keeps coming back.
These are two different versions of a child, with similar problems, but drastically different endings. Parenting for children with reading and learning difficulties plays an inevitably significant role. It shapes the child’s view of himself and affects his decisions on whether his potential will groom him or be locked down forever.
The impact of stress in early childhood.
The remarkable development period of a child’s brain is between 0 to 3 years of age. Their brains are making an average of 700 neural connections per second. When a mind is so agile, we want to load this speed train fully. However, children who cannot cope up with such heavy expectations face chronic stress at this period of their life, and eventually go through anxiety, depression, mood disorders and increasing learning difficulties later in their life.
Understanding these difficulties.
Let’s take a closer look at the meaning behind such learning obstacles.. The most common reaction of parents who are told that their child has a learning difficulty is – DENIAL. It is established that each brain, brilliant or not – will struggle, will battle some kind of difficulty in one area or the other. A Mathematics genius can have poor hand eye coordination and thus be a not-so-great baseball player. Similarly, a child with a learning disability can be a genius in multiple areas but slower than his peers in class. The trick? Is identifying their weak areas at the correct time. This helps parents understand & nurture their other strengths in lieu of their overall cognitive capacities along with an insight of their child’s learning style.
Learning difficulty does not mean being disabled.
Having any kind of difficulty in performing certain tasks never implies that the person is disabled by any means. “Disabled” connotes an inability to do anything meaningful or productive. An elevator is disabled when the cable breaks. A pianist whose hand is crushed in an automobile accident becomes disabled as long as his or her sense of identity derives only from playing the piano. A person with a learning difficulty may have many talents and life skills. They may have a difficulty among many strengths, but they are not disabled. Identifying a person as disabled entails locking that person into a world of very limited expectations.
Learning disability only means that your child has his own way of learning, it is neither an emotional nor a psychiatric problem. Although they face depression and anxiety – but only because everyone around them fails to understand the underlying problem behind their struggle.
Our responsibility as parents, teachers, and trainers.
A key point not just to remember but reinforce is to believe that your child has potential and make him/her believe that too.
Secondly, taking the step to find out WHY a child does not want to study or has a negative attitude towards work can prove to be an eye-opener or as we call it – the “AHA!” moment in a parent’s life.. There is always a reason behind the procrastination, the distractibility or the running away from books that is taking the Fun out of their learning experience.. Children with unaddressed learning disabilities often miss out the growth opportunity and end up damaging their self-esteem.
To help our children navigate in a world that isn’t always friendly to them with their developmental delays or other difficulties, we should advocate strongly for their needs—particularly in the classroom—encourage them to pursue their passions, and make them feel loved, supported, and secure.
Here are a few fun ways you can empower your child’s learning.
- If your child tends to get distracted easily, try building an environment with minimal visual and audible distractions. You may delegate a specific room with least noise, and a specific time when they are tuned to sit and listen.
- Use colors while teaching, for children with strong visual learning.
- You can also use color coded graphics or draw out concepts that make it easier to grasp.
- Create a vocabulary-rich environment.
- You can also keep them moving while learning, for children who are hyperactive.
A few comforting words for parents –
It can get a bit stressful coping up with your child’s difficulties, especially when you were that perfect top scoring student yourself. But the best thing to do is – take a deep breath in, and slowly exhale – and then remember :
- Your child’s weakness is not your reflection of parenting.
- Celebrate your child’s strengths.
- Cultivate self-esteem by offering real, genuine praise when a child succeeds.
- You need to have confidence that will help you deal positively with your child. Stop listening to everyone around you of how it should be – you know your child the best.
- Many people will not appreciate what they bring to the table – but make sure you do!
- Understand the way your child prefers and is able to learn.
- Be open, factual, and positive. Children pick up on others’ feelings and attitudes, which can shape how they see themselves.
- Make sure they have a strong relationship with you, to be able to share their troubles. Feeling depressed and lonely are common factors with these children.
Along with these few tips, there also are a few don’ts that you need to remember :
- Ignore the problem or wait for the child to get over it.
- Make it easy for your child to avoid anything that scares them.
- Tell the child to “toughen up.”
- Tease or make fun of your child’s anxiety.
- Pressure your child to do more than he/she can do.
- Have unrealistic expectations.
- Feel uncomfortable talking about it, children can come to believe that they should hide their problem or feel ashamed or fearful of it.
Our belief at BRAINNOVATION.
Our trainers keep in mind that building self-confidence, and a striver mindset in children who have difficulty in learning goes a long way. We focus on addressing their weaknesses by recognizing their strengths. We assess a child and see if he is a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner. We then provide him brain training that serves to be the best according to his unique cognitive profile..
We train the brain in a way that strengthens their ability to link the new and already stored information to be able to remember and stay focused.
Each child deserves learning opportunities, and our science-based methodologies empower each individual with the tool kit to succeed – be it in their classroom, at home or at the sports field. A child’s confidence is so far his greatest strength and as parents, I am sure you agree – that not one child deserves to be deprived of their inbuilt superpowers. Leave the rest to us.