4 Steps For Helping Teens With Learning Disabilities
Learning disability: the label no parent wants to hear applied to their child. To a child, being told they have a learning disability can bring a small measure of relief, and a great deal of fear. The diagnosis can provide relief in that it ends the uncertainty about what is going on, but adds a very real fear of what it can mean for the future. Nearly 4 million children today have been diagnosed with learning disabilities.
Children diagnosed with learning disabilities need to understand that it has nothing to do with intelligence, it is just a different way that their brain processes information. Some of the world’s most brilliant and successful people, like Alexander Graham Bell and Winston Churchill, had learning disabilities.
One of the most significant impacts of a learning disability, though, is the psychological impact it can have on a child or teen. Learning difficulties often carry social stigma that manifest in behavioral issues, low self-esteem, and depression.
Today, more than ever before, we have ways to address these learning difficulties. The first step, as with most things, is a proper diagnosis. Once a particular issue has been identified, treatment can begin. Getting the learning difficulty under control often helps to mediate the psychological and behavioral conditions that follow.
Step One: Get A Diagnosis
The first step, as mentioned above, is understanding the condition. As a parent, you need to go beyond that understanding and help to make your child understand it. It doesn’t make them “lesser” or “damaged,” it is a part of who they are and, as with anything else, you work through it.
Step Two: Support Your Child
That leads into the second tip: be supportive and positive. The chances are slim that your child experiences the exact same condition that you may have experienced, so you won’t understand exactly where they’re coming from. That being said, however, it is important to make your child know that you are there to help, and will continue to help and support them as they struggle through.
Step Three: Get Professional Help
Third, seek professional guidance. Not all learning difficulties require therapy, counseling, or medication, but they all require attention. Specialized educators who deal with your child’s particular condition will be invaluable sources of information and support.
Some children do require behavioral counseling, therapy, or even medical/pharmaceutical treatment. If this is the case, follow the instructions of your child’s health provider. You and the medical/clinical provider need to be on the same team, reading from the same playbook. What your child needs is consistent love and support.
Step Four: Schooling Options
Fourth, and this applies to more extreme cases, you may want to look into therapeutic boarding schools. These facilities combine specialized education with counseling and therapy in a setting designed to help your child excel. They learn to not only deal with their particular difficulties, they learn that they’re not alone and that other children manage to live with, and succeed with, similar “disabilities.” This decision should only be made after thorough research and consultation with your child and your treatment provider(s).
Your child is never alone!
The most important thing to remember when helping your teen with learning difficulties is that they aren’t alone and neither are you. There are literally thousands of resources, support groups, websites, etc… that can help both you and your child as you navigate this path. Reach out and use that support, being alone will only make the situation worse for both of you.
About the author:
This post was written by Camryen Walker on behalf of Help Your Teen Now, a company run by passionate individuals committed to helping teenagers and children with behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Help Your Teen Now has been helping parents of troubled teens for over 8 years.