“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Learning Disability or LD is a neurological disorder. In laymen terms, kids with LD could be as smart as their peers or in some cases even smarter than them but they may have difficulty with reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and/or organizing information. Kids / Adults cannot overcome learning disability; they may learn to adapt to the norms put in place by the environment. With the right support and intervention children with learning disabilities can succeed in school and go on to lead successful, often distinguished careers later in life.
In order to lead a successful life a kid need not be another brick in the wall. If encouraged kids could become creative with “out of the box” thinking. Parents can help kids by encouraging their strengths, knowing their weaknesses, understanding the educational system, working with professionals and learning about strategies to deal with specific difficulties.
We need to understand labeling students with the term LD and creating a single category for every kid with LD is a bad idea since every kid is different and so is his needs. For Example: Dyslexia deals with difficulty with reading and writing whereas Dyscalculia is a pronounced difficulty in math. Hence some kids with LD would have difficulty with math however there may be a few who would excel at math but may have problem with reading and writing.
Tips that may help kids with learning disability
1) Positive Outlook
Parents are the first point of contact for kids as they are the window to the outer world. This indeed is a very big responsibility, your perception towards learning disability and how you convey the same to your kids makes a lot of difference. Positive attitude won’t solve the problems associated with a learning disability, but it can give your child hope and confidence that things can improve and that he or she will eventually succeed.
2) Early Intervention
There is no debate on the merits of early intervention; it aids kids with a LD to develop the specific skills she needs to thrive academically. Generally parents are first to notice an issue beyond just gaining new skills.
Early identification and screening of potential learning disabilities is not only desirable but a necessity. If children with learning disabilities continue to attend school without being diagnosed and given special attention, they may eventually become frustrated and develop negative attitude toward the learning situation. Such anti-academic attitude is consequently carried over from grade to grade and often result in emotional difficulties and eventually referral to psychological services.
3) Finding the Right Support
Connecting with other parents of kids with learning disability could be helpful, since they would be facing similar challenges and may be willing to share their experiences. What worked, what didn’t work for their kids, they could mutually support one another and be a pillar of strength.
4) Role Models
Who doesn’t like role models? Successful people with learning disability could be a role model for kids. This may give confidence to kids, knowing their success story could motivate kids to overcome all odds to become successful and install the confidence that everything that they may dream of is within reach.
A few successful people with LD
Carol Greider, Noble Prize-winning geneticist (learning disabilities)
Tim Tebow, Football player (dyslexia)
Whoopi Goldberg, Actor (dyslexia)
Henry Winkler, Actor (dyslexia)
Cher, Singer (dyslexia and dyscalculia)
Richard Branson, CEO Virgin (dyslexia)
5) Become an expert
Parents are the best judge for their kids, no one cares about your kids more than you do. Consult specialists like teachers, therapists, doctors for their recommendation and advice. In addition, also do your own research and keep abreast of new developments in learning disability programs, therapies and educational techniques.
6) Passion is the key:- Ask your kid.
Kids may show interest towards something like Piano, Music, Drawings, Paintings, and Photography etc. Ask kids if they would want to do a certain activity, they will certainly excel at it and would be happy about it. This will also motivate them to do better in other fields as well.
Exercise isn’t just good for the body, it’s good for the mind. Regular physical activity makes a huge difference in mood, energy, and mental clarity. Encourage kids to get outside, move, and play. Regular exercise may actually help him or her stay alert and attentive throughout the day. Exercise is also a great antidote to stress and frustration.
Study found that high-intensity training (HIT) lasting just ten minutes each day on children aged 7-13 years boosts children’s brain power and has benefits for children with learning difficulties or conditions such as autism.
Research Details: David Moreau et al. High-intensity training enhances executive function in children in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, eLife (2017). DOI: 10.7554/eLife.25062
Studying Tips for Different Types of Learners
Tips for visual learners:
• Use books, videos, computers, visual aids, and flashcards.
• Make detailed, color-coded or high-lighted notes.
• Make outlines, diagrams, and lists.
• Use drawings and illustrations (preferably in color).
• Take detailed notes in class.
Tips for auditory learners:
• Read notes or study materials out loud.
• Use word associations and verbal repetition to memorize.
• Study with other students. Talk things through.
• Listen to books on tape or other audio recordings.
• Use a tape recorder to listen to lectures again later.
Tips for kinesthetic learners:
• Get hands on. Do experiments and take field trips.
• Use activity-based study tools, like role-playing or model building.
• Study in small groups and take frequent breaks.
• Use memory games and flash cards.
• Study with music on in the background.