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Talking to Children about Their Learning Disorders

As we all know, children are very inquisitive and ask questions all the time.  Children with learning disabilities are often pulled out of their main stream classroom, attend after school tutoring, or receive accommodations and interventions within the mainstream setting.  Parents and schools are often quite good at identifying the needs of children; however, at times are at a loss of how to approach the topic to children.

How to talk to a child about his learning disorder:

There really is no easy answer as to how to discuss learning disorders with children.  This depends on the child’s age, maturity, and ability to comprehend and understand information.  If the child starts to ask questions about why he or she is being pulled out of class or receiving work different than his or her peers it is most definitely time to discuss this with the child.  What I would recommend is to focus on the positive.  Indicate that everyone learns differently and everyone has things that they are really good and things that need a little work.

One technique that I have used in my clinical practice to explain services to children is to compare it to other medical/health issues.  (e.g. if I told you that you had a vision problem you probably would go and get glasses; if I told you that you had a hearing problem, you might get a hearing aid; so you have a weakness with learning to read so we are going to find someone to help out with that).

If the child is older I always believe it is best to be proactive and inform the child before services begin.  Let the child know what will be happening with services and accommodations in the school.
Overall, it is always best to keep the child informed about services and accommodations.  Focus on the positive and remind the child that everyone learns differently.

Click here to learn more about learning disabilities.