Improving Communication with your Child with Learning Disabilities
Effective communication is an important characteristic of strong, healthy families. Research identifies communication as an essential building block of strong marital, parent-child, and sibling relationships. Effective communication in general can be difficult for so many families; fortunately it is a skill that can be worked upon. Communication skills which include empathy, reflective listening, and positive feedback are important for effective and successful communication with your child.
As simple as it may be – the first suggestion is “believe in your child”. Parent’s attitudes about their children and their capabilities have a powerful effect on how children view themselves.
If you view your child as someone who is capable and responsible, that child usually has similar views. However, children who do have learning disabilities many times have parents who view them as fragile, needing help, scared and other more negative characteristics. Children absorb that negative view too easily and many times can be easily accepting of low achievement and not wanting to try without help or try at all. That is where if you believe in your child, you are modeling the behavior for them to believe in themselves. If a child feels capable and accepts themselves for who they are, they are more willing to listen and follow through with what is being communicated to them.
It is important to find your child’s strengths and play on those.
It is so easy to focus on the weaknesses our children have because we want them to be the best possible. If we even look at the word “learning disability”, it has the word “disability” that implies the child is disabled in some manner and cannot do something or somethings well. It is so easily forgotten that each child with a learning disability has some real interesting, and unique attributes and characteristics about them that need to be focused upon.
Many times that attribute may be that child’s energy and enthusiasm. Several children with learning disabilities excel in the arts, drama, music and other creative endeavors. Many of these children are imaginative. It is important to discuss the strengths that your child has on a daily basis with him or her on what they did well. When a child feels they can excel at something, they are able to “hear” things parents are saying more so. Conversations can go easier and smoother when a child feels good about themselves.
Dr. Vicki Bolina is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She obtained her Master of Science Degree (M.S.) and Doctor of Psychology Degree (Psy.D.) from Argosy University – Chicago Northwest Campus. Dr. Bolina has worked in several psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, a school system, outpatient clinics, a university counseling center, a domestic violence shelter, and a prison. She specializes in mood disorders and has extensive experience providing therapy for children, adolescents, and adults with a wide range of issues. Her professional interests include childhood disorders, adolescent psychology, and health psychology. In addition to private practice, Dr. Bolina currently teaches online psychology classes to both undergraduate and graduate level students and does freelance writing
This article originally appear on About.com
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