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Monday, October 25, 2021

10 Ways to Overcome Learning Difficulties

Learning can be difficult when you’re a kid. If you have learning difficulties, it can feel impossible, even anxiety-inducing. As a parent, you can feel powerless while watching your child struggle in school, wondering if you can do anything to help.

But there are ways you can help your child with their learning difficulties. It’s essential that you understand the type of difficulties that they can have since knowing what disability they have is half the battle.

What are common learning difficulties affecting children?

Children may have difficulty learning due to various factors, including language, attention, coordination, memory, and motor skills. These are just some of the learning difficulties that may affect your child. However, there are more common ones that can affect their everyday learning, such as:

Dyslexia: Dyslexia is one of the most common learning difficulties that affect children. It's caused by a brain development disorder that affects how they process language.

Dysgraphia: Dysgraphia is a learning difficulty that affects a person’s ability to write. The act of holding a pencil and getting letters in order on paper is quite tricky. Dysgraphia is a neurological condition that results in the inability to produce written text coherently and legibly, even though there may be no problem understanding what has been read.

Dyspraxia: Dyspraxia is a developmental disorder that affects motor skills. Children with Dyspraxia can display clumsiness and slowness, and inaccuracy of motor skills, e.g. handwriting, using scissors, playing sports, amongst other challenges. It’s often confused with other learning difficulties, such as Dyslexia, because of its similarities. However, Dyspraxia affects how the brain processes information about movement.

Dyscalculia: Also known as “math disability” or “number blindness,” is a condition that impacts how an individual sees, handles and understands numbers. It can make it hard for children and youths to perform math-related tasks at school.

 
There are also other learning difficulties such as ADHD, slow processing when learning, as well as others that can affect your child. Although these learning difficulties are lifelong, there are ways to help children overcome the challenges they face, making learning fun and enjoyable for them.

If you notice that your child displays some of these learning difficulties and they haven't received a diagnosis, see your GP, who will then discuss the next steps with you.

10 WAYS TO HELP CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES


teacher helping a child learn
Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

Identify the best way of learning for your child


Identifying the best way for your child to learn, giving them the right tools, and making the proper adjustments can substantially help them in school and social settings. You may not find the correct alternatives straight away; it's a learning process for everyone. However, it’s a worthwhile process that will involve a support group made up of schools, teachers, specialists and help from Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia and Dyslexia tutors in Brisbane and online.

Work closely with Teachers


Working closely with teachers and your child’s school can be another great way of ensuring that your children have the support and tools they need. Small things like sitting closer to the front of the classroom, having a scribe for non-English related subjects, having regular breaks and using dictation tools can make a massive difference to a child with Dyslexia. Since teachers spend most of their time monitoring where your child has issues and how it affects them, they can give helpful advice and provide extra help when needed.

Find a Tutor for help


In addition, to teacher support, a tutor can work with your child to identify ways they learn best and then tailor their teachings to those methods. The tutors will also provide support and assistance to those struggling with the learning difficulties mentioned above, including helping children become more fluent readers and writers. Private tutoring in Brisbane and other capital cities is easily accessible, with lessons online in an interactive and comfortable environment.

Keep your child motivated with encouragement


Positive encouragement is a great way of motivating your child when they feel like giving up. Encouragement helps with their learning, increases their self-esteem, and reduces their fear of failure. Remind them that their learning difficulties don’t make them less intelligent than other children. Encourage them to have a go at anything they're interested in.

Tell your child about successful people with learning difficulties and what they've achieved. Think Sir Richard Branson, who has Dyslexia, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, both of whom had Dyslexia and dysgraphia, and the list goes on. When your child comes home from a long day at school only to do homework, praise them when they finish it.


Make learning fun

 
Learning doesn’t always have to be literacy and mathematics; it also incorporates developmental skills and mental health. By making learning activities fun, your child will engage for longer and absorb more. Kids can develop their hand-eye coordination by engaging in activities like this animal habitat playdough sort and rescue and doing puzzles. They can use sensory play to reduce overwhelm or engage in fine motor skill activities to prepare their fingers.

Share your experience with them


Sharing your experience with your child can help them learn from your learning experience and connect it to their learning struggles. It can be a form of emotional support that can help them know that they're supported with their academic and personal lives. This is particularly important if you have a learning difficulty. If you share your experience with your child so they can see how far you have come, it will instil confidence, and you will become their role model.

Allow them to work through things in their own time


Allowing your child to go through things in their own time is a good way of taking pressure off them. They already feel a lot of pressure, stress, and frustration, so pushing them to learn beyond their own pace won’t work. They’re just not in the right mindset and can escalate into other behaviours like outbursts. Patience, encouragement, and letting them figure things out in their own time is often the way to go.
 

Reassure them that making mistakes is normal


Along with letting them work things out in their own time, reassure your child that mistakes are normal and part of learning. Mistakes aren't just because of their learning difficulty, everyone makes mistakes.


Help them to keep things organised


Children with learning difficulties often struggle to keep their studies organised and manage their time wisely. While it’s important to ensure that your child is working things through in their own time, it is essential to assist them in organising their work so they have enough time to work through their school work. Staying organised could involve a visual calendar or something as simple as breaking up the week’s homework tasks into small bite-sized chunks.

Support them with their mental health


With learning difficulties comes mental health challenges. Burnout, stress, anxiety, depression are all things that can heavily affect how your child learns and whether or not they will want to learn. It can be distressing and confusing to see your child dealing with mental health challenges. Seek the help of your GP, who will then be able to refer your child to a psychologist for therapy. There are things you can do as a parent to support their mental health too. These include:

  • Maintaining a routine.
  • Establishing conversations with your child about their day.
  • If your child displays a particular mood, show empathy instead of discipline.
  • Take time to listen to your child and how they’re feeling.
  • Dedicate time to do enjoyable activities with your child, particularly ones they love.

While these are just a few ways to help your child overcome their learning difficulties, it’s important to remember that every child is affected differently. In addition, not all forms of learning are the same, and what might work for one child might not work for another. In such cases, it’s important to speak to someone about helping your child reach their full potential, especially during a time when stress seems to be thousandfold.



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