Parents with Learning Disabilities – What You Should Know

Parents who have learning disabilities often have specific areas of strengths and challenges that affect their parenting success. With the tips in this article you can determine your strengths and challenges, find out how to use your strengths and technology to cope with your challenges, and check out other great resources to help you and your children succeed! Following is a list of strengths and challenges that many parents with LD may have.

Strengths of Parents with LD:

Homework pix - Parents with LD-1[1]

  • problem-solving skills,
  • empathy,
  • creativity,
  • persistence,
  • high energy levels.

Challenges of Parents with LD:

  • distractibility,
  • impulsivity,
  • disorganization,
  • communication,
  • inappropriate social skills,
  • difficulty helping children with homework.

Using Strengths to Meet Challenges:

The following suggestions may help.

  • Learn all you can about your own learning disability and how it affects you. Everyone is different, even if they have the same learning disability!
  • Organize one place in your home every week – a drawer, a desk, a closet – every little bit helps.
  • Use calendars to keep appointments. Keep the calendar by your front door so you don’t miss anything on the way out.
  • Make a list of your strengths and what you can do with accommodations and another list of what you can’t do or what is just too hard.
  • Develop a support system for yourself and one to help your children in areas where you both need help.
  • Make positive comments to your children about your own problems. Example: “You know I have difficulty with spelling, but I can do it if I check my spelling book. Can you help me with that?”
  • Sometimes you have to say, “Okay, we need help with this. Let’s call (choose a friend or relative who can help).
  • Make lists for tasks and mark them off as you complete each one. Leave it somewhere visible so you can see that you HAVE gotten things done.
  • Reward yourself for completing steps towards goals, and show your children how to give yourself a small reward and not be dependent on others to reward you. That way, you can break a task down into little steps that make you feel good while you struggle with completing the big task.
  • When you meet with the school for your child’s IEP meetings, it helps to first explain to everyone that you have a learning disability, and your child got his/her learning disability from you. Be sure they understand that if the school can help you to help your child, you would appreciate it. Then the school can’t criticize the child without criticizing the parent, and the meeting keeps a positive focus.

When angry, count to ten before you speak. If very angry, one hundred. –Thomas Jefferson

Technology Can Help!

Smart phone with calendar - Parents with LD-1
Smart phones can help with organization, planning, communication, and don’t forget those reminder alerts! A quick beep might save the day!

  • Talking calculators only cost around $10-$15. It can help to hear the numbers aloud when you’re looking at them.
  • Speech-to-text software lets you speak into a microphone and the computer types what you say. Check out “Dragon Naturally Speaking” software or try the free speech-to-text program built into newer versions of Windows®.
  • See LDA’s “Assistive Technology Information Sheet” for more ideas!
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