I’m sure we have all heard the old joke, “De-nial, isn’t that somewhere in Egypt?”
I recently had a 19 year old tell me how great it was to live in denial. If you live there, the bad things that happen don’t exist. The world can be a happy place all the time. All your friends like you and never post anything mean on Facebook. Then she also pointed out that if you constantly live in denial, you never grow and learn and do new things. She felt that everyone should let themselves feel their emotions and learn from those feelings.
WOW! Out of the mouths of babes come pearls of wisdom. But, what does this have to do with children with Learning Differences?
When your child is born, you know that your baby is the most beautiful baby in the world. You count the fingers and toes, the doctor makes sure that the baby is physically healthy, and you imagine great things for your child. You never want to imagine your child suffering, being unhappy, or not fitting into the world.
Seven years later, your child enters the second grade. The teacher starts to send home notes about your child. There seem to be some issues with your child being able to learn. Parents’ first reaction? “NOT MY CHILD!” We just know that there cannot be anything wrong with our child.
“Look how smart my child is.”
“We’ve never been told this before.”
“Why are you telling us this now? Isn’t this age appropriate behavior?”
“Aren’t boys always a little behind?”
“You just need to teach my child, not tell me how to parent my child.”
We all like to live in D-E-N-I-A-L! Why can’t we just stay there?
It is NOT good for the children!
No matter what the learning challenge, research has shown over and over again that the earlier in the child’s life the issue is addressed, the BETTER! Yes, new scientific research has shown the adult brain to have elasticity-- in other words, “You can teach an old dog new tricks.” However, neuroscience has discovered that learning is about creating neural pathways in our brain. The more we do something, the more “solid” these pathways become. If a child does not develop solid neural pathways to act as supports for further learning, it is difficult to add more advanced learning. The earlier we can help a child form neural pathways to learning, the better.
What do we do with information about our children that we don’t want to hear? Here are some things we can do to help process the information. Remember, over time we have created our own neural pathways that tell us our child is perfect. We have to create new neural pathways that will help us help our child. Here are some things we can do:
- Take it slow!
- Listen to what the teacher has to say.
- Watch our child with other children of the same age.
- Talk to our family doctor about typical developmental milestones.
- Do some research on the web about the issues the teacher is talking about.
- Find someone who has had similar issues with their children. This is not that easy to do because we don’t always want to let someone know we are concerned about our child. However, the more we talk to others, the more we find out that they have experienced something similar or they know someone who has.
- Take care of yourself! We have to be strong to help our child.
Take Care of Yourself