From the way they process information, remember details, and approach problem-solving, every child is unique. This is especially true for those with language-based learning differences.
Learning differences don’t impact intelligence, but they may affect a child’s confidence in the classroom. In fact, 2.3 million kids in America have been diagnosed with language-based learning differences but still, they may feel alone when faced with a problem.
A student with dyslexia may be discouraged when they struggle to pick up a reading assignment as quickly as their peers. A student with ADHD may wonder why paying attention to the board seems so hard when none of their classmates appear to have a problem taking notes.
Encourage your child to keep their head high by helping them to focus on their strengths as a young learner. Just because those strengths are different from the others doesn't mean they aren't as important.
Keep reading for a guide on how to help build up a child’s confidence.
What's Considered a Learning Difference?
Learning differences are conditions that often play a big part in a child's learning patterns, impacting their understanding of reading, math, science, and writing. They can also heavily affect a student's level of focus and motivation.
They're caused by the brain's unique way of understanding and gathering information. Learning differences are lifelong, but this doesn't mean your child must suffer.
Common learning differences include:
Supporting children with learning differences may seem difficult but now more than ever, more education and resources are available to support you along the way.
Paying Attention to Learning Strengths
One of the best strategies to implement when helping children learn is paying attention to a child's learning strengths. You can use these strengths to create unique ways of learning and studying.
Even though a child's approach to learning may not be considered "normal" or "typical," it doesn't mean there's no rhyme or reason. Pay attention with keen eyes and sharp ears to pick up on your child's learning pattern.
For example, some kids prefer using movement to learn about a subject. Others enjoy touching tangible teaching items and manipulatives when learning.
If you aren't sure how to identify your child's specific learning strengths, work with your child's teachers and doctors. Recruiting the aid of a therapist can also offer valuable insight, especially through hard transitions.
What to Do When You Notice Your Child's Strengths
Have you noticed some of your child's learning strengths? Noticing isn't enough. It's time to use them to encourage your child.
Encouraging your child boosts your child's interest in education and improves the overall quality of their childhood. It shows them we celebrate differences instead of shaming them!
Working With a Young Child
If your child is young, it's difficult to explain their learning differences to them. There's a good chance it's a subject they don't yet understand.
Instead of explaining learning differences to your child, bring their strengths to their attention by emphasizing them in their daily routine. Chat with your partner and your child's teachers to create a cohesive learning plan.
An example of using your child's learning strengths is creating simple songs that your child can sing to learn how to tie their shoes or wash their hands. You can even teach your child a song to learn things like the names of the planets!
Does your child learn best with images? Create image storyboards or art projects to explain simple scientific concepts. They can even touch the different images as they follow along with a lesson.
These not only become valuable in helping them feel better in learning environments but also provides opportunities for healthy self-expression.
Working With an Older Child
Is your child old enough to have a chat about learning differences and strengths? They may have picked up on their own learning differences but aren't sure how to talk about it.
Acknowledge your child has learning differences but that they also have learning strengths that are their own unique superpower.
Tell them what you've noticed about their learning patterns while also providing space for them to speak on the things they've noticed. Ask how they enjoy learning and what learning environment suits them best.
Working with a child of any age lets them know that you're in their corner. Taking the time to understand their way of thinking and helping them identify a process that helps them stay organized. Not only does this help them succeed but it also builds up their self-confidence.
Encourage a Growth Mindset
Many children with learning differences feel isolated, confused, or like they're falling behind due to unfair treatment from those around them. Boost your child's attitude towards learning by encouraging a growth mindset!
A growth mindset changes the way we view an obstacle. Instead of approaching an obstacle with fear and discouragement, we can learn to approach obstacles with persistence and tact. We're able to grow our skills and strengths instead of accepting defeat with a fixed mindset.
For example, teach your child that mistakes happen. It's okay to fail! But instead of giving up, they should try again or try in a different way.
A huge part of developing a growth mindset is practicing self-advocacy. Self-advocacy involves speaking up about our differences and showing people around us how they can support us.
By using self-advocacy, your children can demonstrate to their teachers how they learn best. The skill of self-advocacy is also equally as important in social gatherings and peer study groups. And don't be afraid to teach your young children how to advocate for themselves.
This skill can grow at any age!
Focusing on Strengths: Aiding Students With Learning Differences
Neurodiversity and learning differences shouldn't be kept in the dark. Instead, let's embrace students with learning differences by encouraging their strengths. Work with your children to develop their skills of self-advocacy.
Anything is possible, but they just might achieve the possible in an unexpected way. We can learn from your child just as much as they learn from us.
Eagle Hill School is devoted to helping your child develop their confidence and academic skillset. If your child with learning differences is in need of a transformed learning environment, request more resources from us today.