Helping Children with Learning Disabilities: What Parents Can Do for Themselves

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for children with learning difficulties. Teen Talk this week features a young adult who explains how his parents helped him overcome his diagnosis and become a better person.

It’s hard to believe that a child with an autism spectrum disorder (formerly referred to as Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could go on to attend one of the most significant public colleges in the United States, despite everyone’s expectations. Because I am that kid, I can confirm that they exist.

The DSM-5 reclassified my diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, which I had been given throughout primary school, as one on the autistic spectrum. I was also diagnosed with ADHD in middle school. Diagnoses impacted my social and emotional well-being, so amid 8th grade, the decision was made to find a boarding school for my education. As a child, I thought this was a means for my parents to get rid of me, but it turned out to be an incredible and life-changing experience.

My school and social experiences were vastly different before I went to boarding school. I was an oddity among my neurotypical contemporaries at my public school was apparent to everyone. For me, making and maintaining friendships were both problematic tasks. As a result of this social ineptitude, my school and home life was adversely affected. Because I had lost my innate ambition to succeed academically, my grades deteriorated, and my family connections became increasingly strained. At the time, my life was at its lowest ebb; it was difficult for me to envision a way out. To help me in the best possible way, my parents decided to enroll me in a particular school specializing in working with children like me.

When it comes to writing about my time in boarding school and the challenges I had, I find it more rewarding to share my stories and experiences with other parents who have children who are in a similar position to me and have no idea where to turn.

Be Your Child’s Champion.

This is the most crucial thing parents can do for their children, without a doubt. Regardless of how many people question your intentions or judgments, you must always keep your child’s best interests in mind.

Do your homework before making a decision. Inquire about my child’s specific learning difficulty (LD). Does my child’s LD affect their academic performance? Is there any evidence-based support for a youngster with that form of LD? Does my child’s school or district offer these services? It’s a nice idea for parents to see whether an IEP can be put up (IEP). When it comes to helping a child with a learning disability, the best thing a family can do is arm themselves with knowledge.

My mum conducted the quest for an alternate school for me. This was the best option for my social and educational needs. Still, my mother was always greeted with opposition at every stage of the way—from school district officials and academic experts to close friends and family members. The decision to take me out of the public school system and enroll me in a boarding school seemed to annoy everyone.

People began to see how wise my parents were when I was away at boarding school. My social skillsets had improved to the point that they were on a level with those of my neurotypical classmates, allowing me to navigate even the most challenging social circumstances successfully. At the same time, the parents of the students with learning difficulties at my old school voiced remorse that they had not fought as hard as they could to get their children the aid they needed.

Be aware of your child’s rights.

If you can’t move your child to a different district, there are still things you can do to fight for their rights as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Children with disabilities eligible for free public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are guaranteed special education and related services.

To make sure that their child’s school or district meets their child’s needs, parents must be aware of their rights. Ask inquiries, challenge the decision, and speak with the child’s teachers or providers to get their thoughts on the matter if you’re concerned about it.

Education advocacy organizations are accessible to assist parents who wish to contest a school’s choice regarding their child’s education. Many organizations offer free services to families with children who have learning challenges to support them in advocating for the unique education system and making decisions in their child’s best interests.

Treat Your Child as a Person, not just a Symptom.

When I tell people I’m autistic, they’re often surprised at how well I can operate. This is often interpreted as sarcastic praise. My diagnosis should not define me. Fortunately, I acquired the aid I needed to work as an adult. When it comes to their identity, people with learning disabilities don’t want to be limited to being recognized as a disadvantaged person who overcame obstacles, like other people. Instead, it’s best to describe them by their unique attributes and traits.

In the beginning, parents may assume that their child is unable to keep up with their peers because of a diagnosis, but this can limit their child’s ability to reach their full potential. Despite their difficulties in social circumstances, those with autism can achieve great things. Albert Einstein and Thomas Jefferson, two historical personalities who are thought to have had some autism symptoms, achieved great success in their lifetimes. Because of this, I am a living example to parents who doubt that their child with a learning handicap can achieve if they are ready to look past their child’s diagnosis and do everything in their power.

An Opinion from a Subject Matter Expert

Giving your child the love and support they need is the most important thing you can do to make a positive difference in their life. Support your child and recognize that easy chores for other children can be difficult for your child. Encourage your youngster to persevere and give it his all despite these difficulties. It’s important to teach your youngster about their skills, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. Parents can set an example by encouraging their children to advocate for themselves and ensure that their needs are met at school, at home, and in the community by setting an example.