It is found out that parents of children suffering from learning disabilities represent other parents in expression regarding children’s upbringing, education as well as disabilities. Understanding of these parents’ concerns greatly contributes to children’s education since they work together with teachers to assist the disabled children.
It is not appropriate to generalize situations of parents whose children suffer from learning disabilities. This is because; the parents have different approaches of dealing with their children’s situation which is necessitated by their different backgrounds. (Myklebust, 2008) Parents have very high expectations, dreams as well as hope concerning their children’s life long before those children is born. The primary hope for every parent is to have healthy children regardless of the kind of sex and the preference of a desired sex comes after good health aspect.
In cases where a child is found to possess disabilities and in this particular case, learning disabilities, parents lose dreams that they previously had for their children and they try to replace them with new dreams that fit children’s type of disability. However, grief associated with learning disability possessed by children tend to recur in parents’ mind periodically including previous expectations that fail to take place which mainly occurs during anniversaries. (Donahue, 2002)
Parents’ Experiences, Understanding and Expectations for Their Children with Learning Disabilities
The parents of millennial generation children are noticed to have more concern for aspects related to their children’s education particularly for those suffering from learning disabilities. Among the areas of concern for this category of parents is safety where parents are concerned with whether their children’s feelings as well as emotions are safe.
This is because they fear a situation where they may get hurt by being looked down upon by other normal children. They also worry of the manner in which school personnel treat their children when they fail to respond to learning as expected. Since learning disabilities attract special attention to this category of children, they tend to be vulnerable to bully from other normal children which also affects children’s emotions negatively. (Ramcharan, 2005)
The situation where parents mind about their children’s safety sometimes leads to overprotection on the side of children suffering from learning disabilities. This develops negative effects on those children’s development and some of these children suffering find this kind of treatment inappropriate as compared to their age. (Sigel, 2006)
Another area of concern for parents whose children possess learning disabilities regards other children’s as well as parents’ attitudes towards their children’s situation of learning disability. They wonder whether their children will be accepted or will be alienated due to their possession of learning disabilities. For instance, some parents of non-disabled children consider education funds directed to education of children who possess learning disabilities as going to waste.
They prefer that the funds are entirely used on their children who are more productive. Parents of children possessing learning disabilities experience difficulties in explaining the disability situation to their children. This affects the relationship between them since the children feel that some truth regarding their disability is being hidden from them, which is the reason as to why they are accorded much attention. (Goss, 2001)
Attitudes and Experiences of Children Possessing Learning Disabilities within Different Learning Environments
There is a wide variety of experiences as well as attitudes that children suffering from learning disabilities undergo within learning environments. These experiences include a situation where they are discriminated by fellow students and find it difficult to have friends as normal students do. This is contributed by their inability to keep up with their friends’ knowledge and speed to learn and understand things which makes them to be alienated. The fact that these children are mostly with their teachers receiving extra guidance on topics taught in class when others are playing make it difficult for other children to interact with them due to the ever presence of their teacher.
It follows that children suffering from learning disabilities are always around their teachers where they tend to develop comfort which denies them a chance to learn how to associate with peers. This category of children also finds that avenues in which they can make friends are limited in their learning environment. In cases where there are extracurricular activities in which they can indulge in, they lack time for that since they are mostly getting special classes during their free time. (Gates, 2003)
There are situations where children’s learning disabilities tend to overshadow their abilities according to their teachers’ perception. Some teachers direct their focus on the children’s situation rather than capability of those children to develop some understanding of educational concepts. For instance, a teacher may recognize a child’s struggles with science subjects to a point that he/she fails to recognize that the child is gifted in art. This negatively affects this category of children as they feel very inadequate since they are not appreciated for what they are good at doing. (Butler, 2002)
Some school personnel may be willing to appreciate areas that children are good at, but it is hindered by identification methods applied in learning environments. Identification is normally conducted through standardized tests which is not the appropriate measure for their giftedness. The standardized tests require some adjustment as well as modifications before being imposed on the children in order to point areas in which they are gifted. (Taylor, 2005)
The achievements of children possessing learning disabilities sometimes go unrecognized since there is no clear separation between the work done by teachers and that done by the children. Some people feel that their achievements are accompanied by so much follow up from teachers. This demoralizes the children especially when they are sure that they contributed quite a lot towards their success.
Another disturbing situation for children suffering from learning disability is where they have to shift from schooling levels like when moving from elementary level to secondary level. Another transition is when this category of children’s families relocates to new residential areas where the children have to change schools.
Children suffering from learning disabilities find it hard to adjust during these two transition periods. The main difficulty comes where they have to initiate new relationships in their new schooling levels as well as schools. That is; they have to introduce themselves and their situation to their new teachers who might treat them differently from their previous school personnel. This makes children to feel out of place when they realize that they are taking more time to adjust compared to normal children and even more when the new learning environment fails to fit their needs appropriately. (Westwood, 2003)
These children feel stressed and pessimistic about starting the process of getting special attention in learning with the new school personnel. This stress and discomfort realized from difficulties encountered in adjusting to unfamiliar learning situation is normally manifested in some weird behaviour that was not previously recognized in the children which shows that the transition situation affects them psychologically. (Adelman, 2007)
There are certain characteristics that describe the learning environment that children suffering from learning disabilities consider ideal, in which they would be absolutely comfortable if the were provided to them. These include a learning environment where needs, concerns as well as dreams of these children are accorded consideration by their teachers. They also prefer that their disability does not hinder their teachers from recognizing areas where they are gifted. Concerning the manner in which other children treat them, these children would prefer that other children interact with them freely without discriminating them due to their situation. (Kravets, 2003)
It is clear that; parents encounter distinct experiences with children suffering from learning disabilities including the situation where parents are not in a position to explain the learning disability situation to their children. This affects the relationship between parents and their children since the children feel that everything is not being revealed concerning their situation. These children also encounter challenging experiences from their learning environments.
This is normally because they are not treated as they would prefer which makes them feel out of place. They point out that they would prefer to be integrated with other normal children in order that their learning disabilities do not hinder them from living a happy life. They also prefer that everything about their learning disability is disclosed to them in order that they get to know their level of disability and work towards adjusting it. (Sattler, 2007)
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