March was declared the month for learning disabilities and a host of bloggers have followed up with posts. Go through them and the links in each of those posts for a comprehensive idea.
I do not have a clear first hand experience of learning disability but I would like to leave behind some thoughts from what I have gathered out of my interactions with other parents and reading articles on this subject.
For every parent, his/ her child is the best, the most perfect and nothing can ever be wrong with him/ her.
- Therefore even if one parent is able to sense that there could be a problem, more often than not the other parent remains in a denial stage for quite some time.
The denial could manifest itself in various forms like blame, envy, anger, guilt, fear, depression, comparisons, forced change of scene to see if there is a change in the kid or obsessive gathering of information to prove that the child is normal, in the meantime missing out the obvious signs.
- An important first step for parents would be to come to terms with the condition, deal with their feelings and build a support network from school/ doctors/ friends and relatives.
Without meaning to, children and relatives could be really cruel at times- there are situations of isolation, criticism, teasing, comparisons not only in school but also at home/ social settings. Most important would be teamwork of both parents.
-Unlearning what parents have learnt about parenting from mentors, books, other parents and tailoring their parenting style to suit their child- working out alternative learning methodologies, loking at new learning opportunities or situations, flexibility of approach, a higher threshhold of patience.
-One must trust the school & doctor but it's always ok to be assertive about what one instinctively feel may be right for the child. And of course rely on their own research and assimilation of the same keeping their child in mind.
-Changing/ Lowering standards of perfection- whether it is housekeeping, cleanliness, homework, behaviour, timetables.
-Observe keenly the child's primary learning style and adapt to the same.
-Homework in style- Forget about steretypical, straitjacketed methods- look for alternate strategies and support methods- computers, tutors, make it a game, study buddy, parent becomes student & child becomes teacher game...whatever floats your boat. Just innovate.
-Stop trying to be a super parent and measuring self worth just through the child.