Five Tips to Help Your Child with Learning Difficulties Overcome Overload
March 8th, 2017 by JCOS Admin
We’ve all had “one of those days.” The kind of day that starts with you sleeping through the alarm, then spilling coffee on your shirt as you rush out the door; then you realize that you transposed numbers in a project you had been working on all week, followed by a fender bender because you were distracted; and then you finally get home and you find yourself screaming at your family.
Those days are the worst, but what if most days were like that for you? That’s what most days are like for your child with learning difficulties. Finding ways to help them avoid being overly stressed, like enrolling them in a school specifically for children with learning difficulties, can be the key to helping you both keep stress at bay so the good days can outnumber the bad.
Here are five tips to help your child with learning difficulties avoid overload:
Knowledge Is Power – Learn everything you can about your child’s learning difficulty, including if he/she is an auditory or visual leaner. From dyslexia, to dysgraphia, to auditory processing disorder, understand your child’s specific disorder(s), the symptoms, the treatments, and the services available. Not only will it help you advocate for them in school and with medical staff like occupational therapists and doctors, you can implement many of the strategies for success in your own home.
Focus on Their Strengths – While there are many things with which your child may struggle while trying to learn, there are many things they can do and do well, like work with numbers or sing. Find out what they are good at, or what they truly love and care about, and if it’s not readily apparent, take the time to figure out what these strengths are. While one day it might turn into a future career path, for now it may be a very useful tool to help them with developing a positive self-image which, in turn, will help them in other areas of their life.
Identify Triggers – What stresses your child out the most – an upcoming test, doing homework, being late for school? When you can identify the stressors, you can avoid them, which can make both of your lives calmer. Talk to your child about certain situations that you know overwhelm them. Discuss feelings, and the challenges of getting stressed, and help them by giving them the words to describe what they feel; that can help give them cues to when a situation is becoming too much for them and, together, you can find ways to help them cope.
Be Healthy – Learning disabilities impact every aspect of children’s lives, including their health. They are often working overtime to do their homework or study, which is incredibly draining on not just the brain, but the body. Make sure they are eating well- balanced meals with fruits and vegetables, and are having healthy snacks. Get them moving – whether it’s some time at the park, a walk in the neighborhood, or an organized sport, exercise may help them keep focused on school work. Sleep is so important to children, learning disability or not, so make sure you provide a calming routine in the evening so your child can ease themselves into a restful sleep.
Take Care of Yourself – Parenting is hard enough, but having a child with a learning disability often creates extra stress, so make time for yourself, and that often means asking for help. Whether you need to involve a family member or a friend, or even hire a babysitter, take the time to meet up with friends, sleep, go to the gym, or whatever it is you need to do to recharge your batteries – and don’t feel guilty. You are doing this for your child as much as yourself, so put it on the calendar like you would any appointment, and make it a priority.
One of the biggest ways to help your child with stress and overload is to find a school that understands your child’s specific learning needs. The John Cardinal O’Connor School in Irvington is a private school that focuses solely on children with special learning difficulties. Call us today at 914-591-9330 to schedule a tour so you can see firsthand how we can help you and your child overcome the overload.