Donna, “Have patience with a child with a learning disability. It can be very frustrating trying to understand why they cannot grasp something you consider so simple. They can’t, and it’s not their fault. Before even sitting down to help them with their homework, mentally prepare for it. Breathe and tell yourself, you are not going to get upset. You are going to help with homework, not do it. Promise it will be a positive experience for both of you.” Tip #1.
Donna’s first tip is on having patience with children with a learning disability. Disability was a concept I did not have to contend with for the majority of my parenting. For me, disability wasn’t a consideration until much farther down the road.
Regardless if the disability is physical, cognitive, or otherwise, I think Donna’s wisdom still applies. When’s parenting a child with a disability, understanding does not come immediate and intuition is not so reliable.
In our case, it was physical disability arriving when Michael was 16. When it did arrive it was front and centre! We knew nothing about quadripalegia and never even considered how important the spinal cord really was!
Having no prior knowledge of the condition, and believing we knew best, at times, we expected too much from Michael. We urged, “Try harder!” We thought we were doing the right thing, we didn’t know better.
It took a long time for us to get educated, on even the basics, regarding Michael’s injury. Then, we had to learn how Michael was handling the injury. Then, we had to learn how we, as parents, were handling his injury.
In hindsight, we now know, Michael was trying his hardest. He didn’t need us urging him. Urging him was counterproductive! On occasion, I’m sure, hurtful.
It is hard to know where to push, and where to back up, when dealing with disability. This is why we have experts and professionals. I think, relying on the experts, and our own knowledge of our child, should be guiding forces. Believing the ‘Mother/Father knows best’ theory, when dealing with disability is naïve, and it’s arrogant. I was there. Big Mike and I were both there.
It took some time, but when we knew better we did better – as promised by Maya Angelou. I don’t think intuition alone should be trusted to manage the complexities surrounding any disability.
Parents should seek help! We really don’t know what we don’t know, even when we’re sure we know! The most well-meaning parents can cause setbacks and sadness, if they do not get educated on the specifics. Seek help.
Much love Donna! Although, I’ve only seen your boys in pictures, I see they carry your smile with them wherever they go!