How Can You Help a Child with a Learning Disability Succeed in School?
From learning to write in cursive to multiplying fractions to remembering who fought in this
war and that war…
School is difficult, regardless of if you are in the first grade or the tenth grade.
But, have you ever considered how much harder school would be if you saw the letters all
Or, what about if you had a difficult time speaking — maybe you just couldn’t seem to think of
what you were trying to say or you stuttered every time the words came out?
There are several learning disabilities — from dyslexia to dysphasia and more — that children
frequently suffer from…
So, if you thought school was already hard, just consider how much harder it is for kids who
already have the challenge of a learning disability in front of them.
As you reach the conclusion that your child, or maybe a child in your class, suffers from a
learning disability, you now face the challenge of how to help them succeed.
Their success is not impossible, but it will take a little extra help along the way:
Avoid frustration when possible
Children get frustrated easily… It is inevitable.
When they learn they cannot do something, it is frustrating to them because they still have the
desire to do it.
Well, this frustration is only intensified for a child in school with a learning disability…
It might be that they cannot read as fast as everyone else, so they are always the last one to
finish the chapter when the teacher says to read silently.
Or, it might be that they cannot seem to ever remember how to write that perfect cursive “f”
when everyone is already writing their entire first and last name.
Even the simplest of tasks can result in some of the biggest frustration for a child with a
And, this added frustration does not foster an attitude fit for success…
As they get frustrated, they usually find themselves wanting to give up.
But, instead, find every opportunity to avoid this frustration:
Encourage your child to ask for help if they feel as though they are having a difficult time
completing the task at hand.
Especially for children with a learning disability, it can be hard to ask for help because they
might feel like they are relying on you…
But, remind them that everyone needs help sometimes — even adults.
Build up their confidence
Kids oftentimes feel very embarrassed when it comes to school — they don’t want to admit they
don’t know something or that they missed something.
But, when a child suffers from a learning disability, this embarrassment only grows stronger…
So, focus on ways to build up their confidence — every child wants to feel good about
By saying things like, “I have confidence in you” or “I knew you could handle that,” you are
teaching the child to have confidence in themselves which leads to a harder work ethic and
Show them what you want them to do
For a child with a learning disability, sometimes it can just be increasingly difficult to actually
understand what is being asked of them.
Rather than just giving them the instructions and moving on, lead by example. Show them first
what you would like them to do, then let them do it.
This helps give them a strong sense of direction and makes your expectations of them very
Say what you mean
Just like they can have difficulty determining what your expectations are, a child with a learning
disability can have difficulty understanding everything they hear…
Give simple directions that tell the child exactly what they need to know. And, especially if your
child has an attention-related disorder, break the instructions down into several tasks to give
them a milestone to shoot for.
Create opportunities for success
Children feed off of success — if they are able to conquer one task successfully, they will only
want to try even harder to do it again.
You probably cannot fathom setting your child up to fail, but do you intentionally create
opportunities for them to succeed?
It could be as simple as starting the day with a simple task that you know they can do. This will
help boost their confidence and begin the day with a positive morale.
Make them feel included
Oftentimes, parents and teachers want to keep the child out of their meetings that are in
regard to the child’s education…
They don’t want the child to feel different or like they are getting special treatment.
But, when appropriate, include your child in meetings about their education.
Oftentimes, the child can provide insight as to what frustrates them and what actually helps
them. This can be beneficial in allowing the child to see that you are trying to help them and
also in the treatment itself as the child likely knows how they are feeling and what would
change the way they feel…
The best thing you can do for a child with a learning disability is offer them support…
Break things down to ensure they adequately understand, lead by example, and provide
opportunities for success.
By encouraging their success and taking the time to teach them how to reach that point, you
are fostering a positive work ethic and a positive attitude within them, equipping them with the
tools they need for success in school.
About The Author
Annabelle Short is a writer and seamstress of more than 5 years. She loves making crafts with her two children: Leo (age 9) and Michelle (age 11). Annabelle splits her time between London and Los Angeles and writes for Wunderlabel and Content Blossom.
Originally published at Kaboutjie.