Children with learning disabilities, such as ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, are as smart or smarter than their peers. However, they may have difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and/or organizing information if left to figure things out by themselves and especially if taught in conventional ways. Their brains are wired differently so they need extra guidance from parents, teachers, and learning specialists to overcome obstacles that they face. Below are some tips for parents on how to help.
Be a proponent for the child in their education
Today, with continuous budget cuts and growing class sizes, it’s more important than ever for parents to help advocate for their children’s needs.
Parents who proactively set up meetings with teachers and guidance counselors to discuss plans for their children can secure suitable attention and help to ensure that a program is set up to help their children advance properly at school.
There may be certain challenges for the children’s particular school system to deliver the extra help that is needed due to available expertise, budget limitations, and other issues. However, parents can seek out extra help, such as tutors, to provide proper and personalized guidance for their children. With today’s technologies for online virtual classrooms, geographical (travel times) and scheduling limitations, will no longer limit the expertise available to help.
Adapt to the child’s learning style
Everyone has their own unique learning style. Once parents figure out how their children learn best, they can communicate with teachers and tutors to make ensure the appropriate type of learning is reinforced during class.
1. Visual learners retain knowledge best:
- using images, charts, graphs, maps, diagrams, and time lines
- by highlighting important points in text
- by replacing words with colors and images
- if lessons are integrated with multi-media aids
2. Auditory learners retain knowledge best:
- through step-by-step methods
- by participating in discussions and debates
- when they read aloud
- when they listen to music while the teacher or tutor is going over material
3. Kinesthetic learners retain knowledge best:
- when they’re creating or manipulating what they’re learning
- when role playing is part of the lesson
- when they teach someone else the material
- when they incorporate physical activities (and these can be subtle)
4. Linguistic learners retain knowledge best:
- when they read texts and absorb information by condensing and rephrasing it
- when they create lists with keywords and phrases to help them remember concepts
- using acronym mnemonics when recalling information
Focus on life success
A child’s success goes beyond their test scores. However, sometimes it is hard for parents to get their heads out of the report card game. We get it. But we also believe it’s more important for parents to nurture a healthy sense of self, the willingness to ask for and accept help, a passion for lifelong learning and perseverance (a.k.a. grit), and other qualities that aren’t as easy to quantify as grades or test scores.
Parents who talk to their children about their strengths and challenges encourage the child to become more self-aware and confident. Further, by actively helping a child to become better and better in an area that they feel passionate about, will build feelings of success and competency, and inspire hard work in other areas.
An important factor for success in life is not intelligence, rather it’s grit. According to Angela Lee-Duckworth, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.” Thus parents develop grit in their children by encouraging their children to ask for help when they failed to achieve their goal or talk about times when they persevered and prevailed.
Too many commitments, conflicts with classmates, and difficult schoolwork are all stressors that overwhelm children. The key to helping kids manage stress is teaching them to problem-solve, plan and know when to say yes and no to activities and commitments.
Children who receive continuous encouragement and support from their parents build a strong sense of self-confidence and a solid foundation for lifelong success.
Here are some student testimonials about how tutors have helped them to develop a better sense of success and grit:
My son has a writing learning disability and has always struggled with creative writing. Catherine was amazing at teaching him how to be a strong writer and how to find the mistakes in his writing. She has had lots of experience working with children and I would recommend her to any parent whose kids are struggling in school! Josh G., Parent
It’s easy to find a suitable tutor for your child!