How children talk about learning differences and how they speak about and for themselves greatly impacts their self-confidence, sense of security, and their ability to ask questions and seek understanding.

Speaking up can be hard and intimidating, especially for those who have learning differences such as a language- or math-based learning disability, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), executive function difficulties (EFD), non-verbal learning disorder or auditory processing disorder. They often internalize their feelings or do not understand what they’re feeling and may begin showing signs of behaviors that have negative effects, such as seeming disconnected or disinterested, acting out, being fearful, and having low self-esteem.

Helping children recognize that they learn differently than their peers can open the door to many conversations about emotions they may be experiencing, turning feelings of fear and frustration into hope and understanding.

So, the question is: “How can we help them talk about their learning differences?”
Hear Heather Strunk, Director of Academics at The Janus School, share three ways you can help children open up and speak positively about themselves and their learning differences.

Tip #1: Be the Example by Talking Openly

Talk about their differences positively to others, while they’re within proximity to hear the conversation. Setting the example of talking openly is a great way to show them how to have these conversations. Plus, hearing how you speak about them will influence how they think about themselves, too.

Tip #2: Ask Questions and Encourage Positive Thoughts

Ask them about their worries and fears, acknowledge them and always respond with words of encouragement. Questions like “How are you feeling?” and “What is bothering you right now?” can lead children to better understanding their emotions. Reassure them with positivity and remind them about their strengths. You might say “It’s ok to feel embarrassed, everyone feels this way at times. But you are great at so many things.” Be specific, be their safe space, and help boost their self-confidence.

Tip #3: Help Them Feel Comfortable Speaking Up to Teachers and Peers

When children feel understood by those around them, they’ll feel a sense of community and belonging. Being able to name their learning difference and explain how it impacts them can be helpful. For example, a student who recognizes “I have ADHD, and it’s hard for me to pay attention when I am around potential distractions, “ followed up with something positive about themselves will help their teachers and peers to provide opportunities where they can support their strengths.

It can be life-changing when children understand how to talk about their learning differences and start gaining the confidence to speak up and be their own advocates. At Janus, we work closely with families to support the needs of their children, both emotionally and academically. We strive to ensure that our students enjoy learning and are equipped with the skills to thrive both in and out of the classroom. We hope these tips provide more insight on ways that you can help your child talk about his or her learning difference at home and with others.

If you have questions or are seeking support for a child with learning differences, please get in touch. Our team can help connect you with resources to take the next positive step for your child and family.

Have Questions? Want to Learn More?

We’re here to help. Reach out to speak with a member of The Janus School team today.

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