The first thing to understand and embed in your system while dealing with your kids' learning disability is that you have to focus on their strengths and not on their weaknesses. They might not be able to spell as well as others, or may not know how to add up, but they may paint beautifully or may make interesting objects out of stuff lying around the house. Don't think that your kid is dumb, they are just special. Respect the difference and work to give these kids a normal life just like other kids of their age.
Here are some practical tips to help you deal with the child's learning disability:
1. Be your own expert and take charge of your kid's education: This will be that time when people from all over come up with advice and a host of suggestions. They might be well wishers. But as a parent you know better what to do. Defend your child's right to a proper education. Of course special schools can always be considered. But if the disability is such that a few months tutoring at home can bring them at par with the normal children, that's the way it should be. Try and communicate with the school of the child and talk to them about the following points:
• Clarify your goals well to the school authorities. Offer few solutions to the faculty to help your child perform better.
• Be a patient listener. Be ready to listen what school authorities have to say.
• Stay optimistic, calm and don't give up easily.
2. Understand how your child learns best: After you have figured out how your child learns best try and use them in the teaching methods. Your kid might find the audio visual medium more engaging. Get ABC learning videos or get apps on your smartphones that will help your kid write, read and draw. Sometimes the speaking skills of children are affected. That too can be corrected by these. There are hosts of material in the audio visual segment that can help with your kid's phonics understanding and interpretation. If your child is a kinesthetic learner, then there is nothing better than the field trips, model building, role playing and memory games.
3. Focus on the larger picture, think of success in life rather than success in school: Getting good grades in school is important but how important is it from a life perspective. Doing bad in school is acceptable, but reprimanding the child harshly, will probably push their success over two to three years back. So think not just academics, but that sense of self worth, the self confidence and the guts to live in the real world. Make your kid tough. Teach them to stand up for themselves and teach them to take wins and losses in the stride.
4. Encourage a healthy lifestyle: A healthy mind dwells in a healthy body. Diet, exercise, work and play, all need to be a part of the routine of your kids' daily activities.
• Exercise: Regular exercise not only keeps the body fit but also the mind. It helps in improving the mood, energy and clarity of the mind. Encourage the child to go outside and play.
• Diet: A diet that is rich in nutrients is sure to support the development and growth of the child. A diet that consists of whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables and fruits help in boosting the mental focus.
• Sleep: In case a child is not well rested their learning capabilities are badly affected. A sound sleep helps the child concentrate better.
Finally take care of yourself too. Your kid will need you for a long time to come, so be there for her. Take your health seriously; practice what you preach to her. And don't give up. A learning disability is just like any other thing, it's not invincible or insurmountable.