How To Parent Children With Learning Disabilities

A child with learning disability
A child with learning disability

Parenting is not an easy task, as may be assumed by those who are not parents yet.

Right from conception, parents have enormous role to play in shaping the well-being of their children. For instance, parents are the first teachers when children have not been enrolled into formal schooling system. The education, welfare and overall safety of these little children all lie within the hands of parents. The latter explains why rules and regulations have to be set up by parents in order to assist in the management of their children. Parents are also supposed to create their unique routines in addition to setting up their parenting goals and vision (Dyson, 2010).

Identifying the Problem

It is a painful and confusing undertaking to identify unique needs of a child. For most parents, it often takes significant amount of time to detect or discover certain disabilities among their children. In other words, some parents can hardly comprehend whether their children are growing normally. The worst cases are those involving parents who are raising the first child. Such parents can find it difficult to know specific stages when a child is supposed to begin vocalizing, rolling around with play items or pronounce the first words and phrases (Dyson, 2010). Worse still, a parent can find it almost difficult to differentiate between a hyperactive child suffering from ADHD and the one who is perfectly healthy and playing out in the field. Again, a child who is suffering from gross motor skills challenge can demonstrate also similar signs to one who is a bit clumsy. These are some of the reasons why parents can take significant time to learn whether their children are growing healthy (Sleeter, 2010).

After diagnosis, stark reality that a child has learning disability often strikes many parents and so they decide to live in denial for long. The painful emotions may eventually transform into various stages of grief at the detriment of the parent. A number of research studies have documented parents who tend to rationalize any form of learning disability observed in their children.

Neurologic Basis

A number of parents also feel worthless since they get an impression that the respective learning disabilities portrayed in their children are due to their own genetic malformations. However, that can never be the case. Any sense of guilt by parents cannot change the situation facing children with learning problems.

Academic failure is one of the most astounding outcomes of learning disabilities among children. Although there are other clusters of difficulties that such children apart from poor class-work performance, respective parents can still raise up such children with greater love, care and concern (Sleeter, 2010). In any case, neurophysiological base is the main origin of learning disabilities and so parents should be more understanding and accommodating while bringing up children with learning difficulties.

Neurolological research scientists unanimously agree that learning disabilities result from crumbled information that finds its way in the brain and eventually fails to be processed successfully. Consequently, a child diagnosed with such a condition is highly likely to face communication challenges, poor organization and general state of disorderliness. It is up to medical experts to reassure parents that outside factors are not responsible for such neurological mess but instead, organic factors.

Some pundits have been arguing for many decades that the phenomenon of learning disability does not exist. They assert that some children are hardworking and motivated while others lack self esteem and are also lazy. Besides, they argue that some children are bright while others are academically dull. Nevertheless, the rapid advancement in technology over the past few years has addressed such misconceptions (Theule, Wiener, Tannock, & Jenkins, 2013).

Acceptable parenting styles

Individuals who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities tend to have different brain structures from those who do not have the same problem. Above all, it is prudent for parents to understand the overriding behavioral patterns for children exhibiting learning disabilities.

Parents also get confused while raising children with learning challenges because a child who will never be able to perform in class can hardly be differentiated from the one who will improve at a later date and be able to give exemplary performance. In most instances, parents are advised to reduce their degrees of expectations whether the concerned children are healthy or not (Sleeter, 2010). In addition, parents should be in a position to vividly visualize challenges being faced by their children instead of pondering what is wrong with them. Both children and parents can hugely benefit from such a change in focus.

There are cases when a child may just be facing an ordinary difficulty to complete a given task even though a parent sees it as a gross and deeply ingrained behavioral problem. Roles that are too demanding may compel children to bow out. If a parent is not understanding, again, it might pose negative parenting skills. The reaction of children towards certain tasks should in fact be used by parents as a powerful tool of diagnosing their unbecoming behavioral patterns. On the other hand, behavioral strength of a child can be noted down by the likes and dislikes as well as personal preferences of a child (Sleeter, 2010).

As much as parents may seek medical and therapeutic help from practitioners, it is not a small task for a parent who has to deal with the behavioral issues of a child on a daily basis. Parents raising children with learning problems may sometimes be victims of social workers, psychologists, doctors and teachers due to unwillingness to offer the right diagnosis (Theule et al., 2013). In addition, parents should be assisted to identify and settle for the best treatment regime and healing process of a child. Parents should never be expected to pull and process all the available information. However, problems should be anticipated by parents at all times.



Dyson, L. (2010). Unanticipated effects of children with learning disabilities on their families. Learning Disability Quarterly, 33(1), 43-55.

Sleeter, C. (2010). Why is there learning disabilities? A critical analysis of the birth of the field in its social context. Disability Studies Quarterly, 30(2), 210-237.

Theule, J., Wiener, J., Tannock, R., & Jenkins, J. M. (2013). Parenting stress in families of children with ADHD a meta-analysis. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 21(1), 3-17.


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