- Give them patience and understanding. As difficult as it is at times, we need to try our best to remain calm. We need to refrain from yelling and shouting. Our child needs an encourager, a motivator; a voice that will lift up their spirits. A learning disabled child, needs to feel that you are there for them, that it's okay to take learning at their own pace, and that you understand how determined they are to improve.
- Praise them for making positive steps, no matter how small. Every time your learning disabled child is heading in the right direction, praise them. Tell them how proud you are for trying, how proud you are that they're getting better. Every step in the right direction counts; don't let any of their efforts go unnoticed. This praise will increase their willingness to try and will boost their elf-esteem.
- Attend their school meetings and therapy appointments and follow through with the recommended strategies. Learning disabled children have a lot of appointments to attend to. It is very important that we, the parents, make time for them. But it's not just about attending the appointments. It's about taking on board the advice given by the therapy providers. Even though we know our child best, we must remain open-minded. Sometimes having an objective viewpoint gives light to a situation. If the specialists offer a suggestion here and there, never dismiss it completely.
- Ask questions. Don't be afraid to question what you don't understand. If you don't understand why your child has a learning disability, ask. If you feel guilty and wonder if you're at fault, talk about it. If you want more information as to how you can help your child further, pose the question. The more informed you are about your child's disability, the better you'll be at helping them.
- Ignore the judgement of others. As sad as it sounds, some people might blame you for your child's disability. They might stare at your child in the street. They might judge, and not understand what you and your child are going through. But those people don't matter. Only you and your child matter. Your child deserves just as much love as anybody, and this disability does not have to define them. As much as people will stare and snicker and engage in disability harassment, it is up to you, the parent, to ignore them if it is minor and to take action if your child is being bullied. The less attention you pay to this ignorance when possible, the more attention you can pay to your child.
- Realize there will be good and bad days. Your child will sometimes progress in their development, but regress as well. This is inevitable. But this does not mean that your child is not improving on the whole. It is up to you to have the strength to keep going even when the days are 'bad'. Our children's improvement shouldn't be defined by one specific day or event, but from the progress they've been making as of late.
- Know that you're not alone. There are many people out there who are in the same position as you. There are other parents that know how it feels to raise a learning disabled child. These people can relate to the emotional, mental and physical stress that you are under. You don't have to feel alone. Reach out to those parents: talk about your feelings and emotions, share your experiences, look for some suggestions. It is not easy parenting a learning disabled child, but it is a lot easier when we know that we are not alone.
- Remember that you are doing the best parenting job you can. Being the parent of a learning disabled child can be tough. You won't always make the 'right' decisions, you won't always do what's considered 'best' for your child. But the fact is, you are doing the best job you can. There is no 'perfect' way to raise a child. But by having confidence in your abilities and realizing that mistakes do happen, you are putting your best foot forward. All that matters is the here and now.
Be there for your learning disabled child. Learning disabled children have so much potential in them. Be the parent that maximizes it, that believes in it, that helps their child use it to the best of their abilities. You have the power to change your child's future. You have the power to shape who they become. And it all begins just by being there for them.
Author Byline:Thuy Yau is a passionate writer and mother. Her three young children have speech and language impairments, but have progressed well in their development. She blogs about personal development at Inside a Mother's Mind and is a contributing writer to Bornhip.com.