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The Myriad of Feelings When You Have a Child With A Learning Disability

Updated on September 14, 2014

This video is done by children with dyslexia, portraying their feelings when in the classroom.

The heart and mind can be fierce competitors.

The battle between the heart and mind of a parent who has a child with a learning disability, is something that can only be truly understood by someone who has a child with a disability. There are so many things that go through the mind when you see your child struggling to learn things that come easily to other children, even when the other children are siblings, or when your child is easily distracted by the simplest of things, and because of the distraction, makes it difficult for them to sit still in class to learn.

I have two children with learning disabilities. My daughter has attention deficit disorder (ADD), and my son has dyslexia and ADD. Both of these disorders are hereditary, and it’s just a different way that the brain works. On both sides of the family, both ADD and dyslexia are found. Both children are extremely intelligent. The difference between the two, is my daughter can learn in a traditional classroom setting, but my son, because of dyslexia, which means problem with language, cannot. Of the two children, our son’s dyslexia has been the most difficult to deal with because of trying to find a situation that best suits his style of learning.

This beautiful video was done by the creative mind of a child with dyslexia.

Learning to deal with dyslexia

At this time, it has been two years since my son’s diagnosis of dyslexia with ADD. After doing research, and trying to better understand what is going on, I found that my son is in wonderful company. There are business people, entertainers, doctors, and inventors, basically some of the most famous people we know. I have included a short video and a link to a website that lists just a few of these famous people. As with everything, it is a matter of finding the right thing for each person, a matter of finding the positive amongst the negative.

There are those who may scoff at some of the names on the list of famous people who have dyslexia, but it doesn’t matter what those people think, because they may never have had to deal with the struggle of learning to read or doing what the majority of the population can easily do, which is read.

The best thing parents can do when they see their child or children struggling with learning, even as early as pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, is to get them tested to find out if there isn’t something going on. Because the earlier any learning disability is caught, the better chance children have to find their learning style and not fall behind, so that their self-worth is saved, and they aren’t labeled as stupid, lazy or any other negative descriptive word.

Children want to learn, they want to keep up with their peers, and when they struggle, even if they aren’t called a name, the children themselves will call themselves stupid, idiot, or some other name. Children with dyslexia are more prone to depression and if there isn’t intervention, have a higher risk of getting involved with drugs and alcohol, and have a higher risk of suicide.

As difficult as it is, and trust me I know, we can’t ignore want seems to be a learning problem, usually when you see your child struggling day in and day out with homework, there is more going on, than what meets the eye.

A short video listing just a few famous people who have dyslexia.

The logical mind knows it's no one's fault.

My ex-husband and I have admitted to each other that we have struggled and still struggle with our son having dyslexia. There are feelings of guilt and failure on our part for not recognizing the symptoms earlier. Logically neither of us is at fault for this, we know this was just the hand our son was given, and it is neither bad nor good, it is just the way he is. Our son is an extremely intelligent little boy, who learns differently from other children, it doesn’t make him less intelligent, just different. Unfortunately that is not how others perceive him, if they look at what is on paper, they see a child whose test scores are very poor and are below age and grade level. But like most dyslexic people, he is a horrible test taker on paper. If he could have the questions read to him, he would be at or above grade level, as has been shown over and over, by tests that are given to determine which of the learning disabilities he falls into.

Because his brain is wired differently, other children have made fun of him, teachers have told him he wasn’t smart, that he needed to be put back a grade and other things like that. Those are the things that tear at parents’ hearts. The being told your child isn’t intelligent, when you know full well that they are, and not being given a chance because the way he learns is not how 85% of the population learns. So schools cater to the 85%, not only public schools, but the private schools as well.

For children who are dyslexic or have one of the autism spectrum disorders, traditional classrooms are Hell on Earth. The other children tease them, so they don’t have many friends, teachers either bully or ignore them. Others will assume the child is lazy, stupid, doesn’t want to learn, or just plain doesn’t care. The behavior from educators in the traditional schools, both public and private, are the most appalling, because those that are there to protect the children are the ones doing the most harm.

A trailer for a documentary coming in the summer of 2013 about dyslexia.

The feeling of failing are not from the logical mind, but from a heart that naturally doesn't want their child to struggle.

This is the part where parents’ hearts feel like they are being ripped out. You see your child struggle, and know they are trying their best, and the only answer that people have is to put them back a grade, adding to the humiliation, destruction of self-esteem, and isolation these children feel. It makes a parent feel like they have failed their child on some level.

After I had previously voiced my thoughts to someone, and was told I was feeling sorry for myself and needed to quit the pity party, I didn't talk to anyone else about why I seemed sad. Until a couple days later, when a dear friend called, and could tell that something was wrong, because of the tone of my voice. After much cajoling, and what I'm sure felt like pulling teeth, I reluctantly explained what was going on, my friend reassured me that I wasn't feeling sorry for myself, and it definitely wasn't a pity party, but was quite normal and they would have been worried, had I not been having those emotions. My friend, understood, and still understands the struggle I have between what my heart feels, and what my mind knows. My friend, who’s child is autistic, knows there are going to be days where I will beat myself up because of the struggles my son is going through, and they know there are going to be days where I will feel strong because my head is ruling and there is a plan of action in place where I can see progress being made by the different educational setting my son is now in. But feeling with the heart on some days and feeling with the mind on the other days is completely normal, and to not let anyone say differently.

I believe in my son's resiliency to get to where he needs to be, I believe he can find his niche, I believe that this little boy who has one of the biggest hearts will flourish and overcome this obstacle. I believe this not only because he is my son, but because I see in him a fighting spirit that wants to succeed and be happy in whatever he does.

We must believe in our children for them to believe in themselves.

Time has moved on, and things are not as bleak now

When I wrote this a couple of years ago now, things seemed almost insurmountable. But as they say time changes everything, and it sure has. By sending my son to California, he has not only caught up to his grade level because of the individualized attention, but he has grown into a good young man. He focuses more on his studies, he loves the interaction and social aspects of regular school. He has dreams now, and knows that with hard work he can attain the dreams, that not too long ago he thought would be unlikely for him to realize.

There are many resources out there for parents with children who have learning disabilities. As parents, we have to be the voice of our children. If what some self proclaimed expert tells you doesn't sit right, then find someone else who's credentials can be proven.

Children need to see their parents fighting for them, so that they can realize their own self-worth and that they are important and that they are worth fighting for. Then one day they will know that it's alright to stand up for themselves and others.


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    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 4 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      Thank you for sharing that. I so appreciate your comments.

    • thewritingowl profile image

      Mary Kelly Godley 4 years ago from Ireland

      You are so not alone. My husband is Dyslexic and possibly has ADHD too we think. He grew up in 1970's Ireland and suffered greatly because of his problems with reading and writing it has affected his self-esteem to this day. I have Aspergers Syndrome and neither of the two of us would ever have been any the wiser except for our son who has Autism but now we also suspect ADHD and maybe Dyslexia too. You are doing your best and I know how hard it is but in the long term our children have the benefit of the knowledge that we never had so that hopefully will make it easier for them. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 4 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      Ditto! Thanks Eric.

    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 4 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      Denise, thank you for commenting.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I liked reading you comment Denise. Because when I think about it, your daughter is flourishing as she taught you much and you shared and taught us much. I would say that is really cool.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I, too, have an adult daughter who went through learning difficulties in school. It was hard to watch her struggle, and to hear her stories about how others treated her. We used these instances to help her learn how best to treat others. Now, she is very compassionate, and helps others whenever she can. She has grown up to be a very kind person. School has never been her best way of learning, and although she finished high school, she dropped out of college. She reads a lot, though, and continues to learn. I hope and pray that there will be a place for her in society where she can grow and flourish.

    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 4 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      Love and educating yourself about what problems are happening always help things to work out. Some days the heart and mind are in sync, other days when I see my son struggling with something that most consider so easy, are the days when it's a bit more difficult. But I know on both levels, that things will work out. Thank you for commenting Eric. Many blessings to you and yours.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      If there is love these things work out. I have two adult children who went through similar problems. They have a few college degrees between them and are extremely happy people. I like to think the added attention at home more than made up for problems. We did hold one back a grade and that worked out great-- new school too.

    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 4 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      I try to be. I don't always succeed, but I try. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Thank you for sharing your story! Very sad to hear that teachers would act that way! You sound like a great advocate for your children! :)