Homework hassles, learning struggles, tears and meltdowns are signs and signals that something isn’t right for some school-aged kids. The reason most children struggle is because they may have learning differences. These typically bright children just aren’t able to grasp reading, spelling and math like their classmates. Despite their very best efforts, as well as outside tutoring, they just can’t do it. They end up falling further and further behind.

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For example, Jacob, a bright third-grader, has struggled to learn since he entered school as a kindergartner. As a preschooler he loved learning, but now that he’s in elementary school, he no longer likes it and says things like “I’m stupid” and “I can’t learn.” Jacob has a learning difference that makes core subjects very difficult to learn. 

Classrooms across America have many bright students who, despite their best efforts, struggle every day to master math, reading and other core subjects. These are students who want to learn, but just can’t because traditional teaching styles and methods don’t work for them. Yet, they go to school day after day and experience the same frustrations, embarrassment and disappointment as they struggle to learn. They aren’t able to experience the same success that their non-struggling peers experience. 

When children constantly struggle and fail to achieve, they lose confidence and are robbed of the joy of learning. 

Kids are smart! They’re aware when they’re not “getting” what other children in their class understand and master. They begin to feel different and they start to struggle with low self-esteem. They may even have anxiety related to going to school, or have trouble with social situations because they perceive themselves as different. 

Having a learning difference doesn’t mean that a child has a learning disability or a learning disorder. The child just has a different way of learning. 

Parents and professionals have to figure out how to help these children to learn and to experience a sense of accomplishment and success. It’s the responsibility of the adults in children’s lives to get them from little people to big people with confidence and joy in their hearts. This is particularly true for children with learning differences. Every child wants to be successful. The “special sauce” for raising them to be confident and happy is success.

Use these practical BRIGHT™ tips for helping your child to be successful:

B – Build confidence and joy in kids with learning differences. Recognize that achievement of confidence and joy is a full-time endeavor. When so much emphasis is placed on academic achievement, very often little attention is given to achievement of confidence and joy, which are essential to a child’s overall emotional and psychological well-being.

R – Recognize that your child may have a learning difference and be okay with it.You have a precious child with natural talents and gifts that need to be recognized and celebrated. Work to learn your child’s learning strengths and style so that teaching styles and methods can be matched. Know that your child can be a successful learner, as well as a confident and joy-filled learner.

I – Identify the key individuals in your child’s life who can create your child’s academic and emotional success. Collaborate with educators and professionals to develop a strategic plan for building your child’s confidence and joy. Form a “success team” for your child.

G – Get your child involved in new and engaging activities. Find activities for your child that allow him or her to experience new learning and success. Introduce fun, stimulating and engaging opportunities that tap into your child’s natural gifts and talents. When a child can “shine,” feelings of confidence and joy follow.

H – Honor and share your child’s natural gifts and talents. Join inclusive communities where all children are encouraged to contribute. Seek out affirming environments in which others appreciate and praise your child’s participation. 

T – Teach others about learning differences. Help others to understand what learning differences are and what they’re not. Help them to understand that those with learning differences are bright and talented. While they may have a different way of learning, it shouldn’t to be confused with a learning disability or disorder, which are disempowering and limiting. Assist others in understanding that confidence and joy are essential for all children’s overall well-being.

Every child wants to be successful. And every child deserves to experience confidence and joy! These useful BRIGHT™ tips will help turn learning around for children with learning differences.