Children thrive with praise. Human beings desire to feel that they are, at the most basic level, “good.” Children with learning disabilities may sometimes feel that they are somehow “less” than other children – less smart, less socially compelling, less interesting, less likely to do well in school and, really, in life. Not doing well in school affects a child’s sense of self, and if that child isn’t doing well because she or he has an untreated or incorrectly treated learning disability, that child, and his or her parents, might feel a heightened sense of pressure to perform and, consequently, a great deal of guilt for not being able to reach certain standards.
It is imperative to build children up with words of praise and affirmation. Be encouraging. While your child’s learning disability may be discouraging for you – as it certainly is for the child, at times – he or she looks to you for support and stability. Having a learning disability doesn’t set a child’s value apart from that of other children, but the LD child may feel that he or she is somehow unworthy. Perhaps one of my favorite signifiers of a student’s Brainjogging progress is his or her general “warming up” to school and, consequently, to life and interpersonal relationships. When children begin to do better in school, they begin to feel a bit more confident. This confidence spills over into the child’s relationships with other individuals. It is a wonderful thing to feel that you have helped rekindle a child’s spark!