Low self esteem
Low self esteem can impact on a child’s confidence to believe they can learn, to put themselves in a position to learn new information and in other areas outside learning at school.
Learning stress relates to anxiety and low self esteem
- Knowing what it means to have a specific learning difficulty
- The importance of targeted and specific praise
- Accept mistakes as learning opportunities
- Knowing their strengths
What it means to have a specific learning difficulty
Specific learning difficulty is an umbrella term for different kinds of learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and dysgraphia. In all instances the learning difficulty arises when there is a discrepancy between the person’s average to above average intelligence and their ability in specific areas such as reading, spelling, writing, doing maths, planning and organising motor co-ordination. It is important to realise that the person has the ability (intelligence) to do the work but their learning difficulty prevents them. If they could do it, they would.
This information that the child has average to above average intelligence is worth repeating to the child, family and school.
The importance of targeted and specific praise
Children with learning difficulties are generally “praise starved”. They need specific and targeted praise to help improve their self esteem and it also helps motivate them to learn and participate in class. The praise needs to be sincere and also has the ability for those giving the praise to recognise the strengths that these children have. To be effective the praise needs to be targeted on the effort and progress rather than the end result.
Examples of targeted and specific praise
Accept mistakes as learning opportunities
It’s important to role model that mistakes are a natural part of learning and provide effective feedback. Mistakes, in effect, show us what we still need to learn. Talk positively about your own mistakes and struggles to show that everyone goes through this process and that it’s normal. Understanding that children with specific learning difficulties will take longer to learn and retain that new information but they can do it.
Knowing their strengths
Children with specific learning difficulties do find the learning aspect at school difficult however knowing they learn differently and focusing on what those differences are and working with them can be helpful in the classroom and at home. These children think in the “big picture” and need to know how the whole task or process works before starting. They also have a very good ability to connect large amounts of information together while trying to make that big picture.
Big picture thinkers characteristics
- Need all the information before beginning
- Want to know all the steps involved
- Like to know what the finished product will be like
- Need to know where the information fits into their own life
- Might not raise their hand much to answer questions, because it takes them longer to sort out the answer – fitting the concepts together and into their own personal settings to get an understanding
- An answer therefore is much more thorough
- They can tend to miss small detail
- Spend so much time thinking they react late
- Prefers working in groups
- Prefers open ended questions
- Tend to learn in large jumps, absorbing material almost randomly without seeing connections, and then suddenly “getting it.”
- May be able to solve complex problems quickly or put things together in novel ways once they have grasped the big picture, but they may have difficulty explaining how they did it.
Remember a child with specific learning difficulties are a “whole child” – they have some areas that are difficult but they have areas that they can achieve well in whether it’s with their thinking strength as mentioned above or in the arts, sports, business, computing or working with other people.
Written by Chris Cole, 10 June 2017
This information does not replace information from a qualified professional and if you are concerned about heightened anxiety in your child please see your doctor.