SolveYourProblem eLearning Series: Learning Disabilities
The Bottom Line On Learning Disabilities

( 50 articles in this series )



Social Difficulties in Children with a
Learning Disability

All children want to have friends, someone to play with and do things with. Friends are a very important part of growing up and teach them how to socially interact with others. For a child with a learning disability, this is not very easy sometimes. Their LD can keep them from communicating appropriately or have a hard time understanding what other kids want. Parents will need to explain and repeat how friends are met and kept. This can be an ongoing conversation for a child with a learning disability. A conversation worth repeating so your child keeps their self-confidence and self-esteem. Reading books together about friendship is also a good method of reminder.

Making friends requires using social interactions and behavior skills that children with a learning disability may have trouble with. LD children find that making and keeping non-LD friends can be very challenging. These children may have problems fully expressing themselves and using verbal and nonverbal language. They also may not be able to recognize the subtle hints that the other child is ready to do something else. Their interpersonal communication skills are not as finely developed as their non-learning disabled peers. The art of making friends and keeping them must be directly taught to many learning disabled children. This will ensure that they have success in proper socialization at home and in school.

Children with learning disabilities must be taught early when they are using inappropriate social communication. The parents must take an active roll in correcting this behavior in a positive way to yield the desired outcome. When children go to school and have no idea how to socially behave appropriately it can make them not like school because they have no friends. It has been shown that children who have no friends are far more likely to have behavior issues and drop out of school. Early intervention and help with social skills from a very young age can help prevent major future problems. Many parents find that young children stories that discuss friendship and behavior can help tremendously. These stories keep children engaged and the parents can ask the child what they would do in a similar situation. This allows for a back and forth communication between parent and child.

Children’s books are very easy to find and are available on all topics. Books on communication, friendship, socializing, and how to talk to people are available at the library or any bookstore. This provides a creative way to teach learning disabled children about how they should properly go about these issues with out making them feel different. This will also benefit the child in other areas of listening skills, comprehension, and vocabulary. Children enjoy being read to or reading to their parents so this is a great way to teach appropriate behavior that will have them wanting to know more. During any given story, a parent can interact with the child to see what they would do and discuss what the appropriate response would be. This allows for the child to know what the right action is with out having to directly experience the wrong behavior first personally. Children also tend to relate to the characters in stories and understand why they might have felt a certain way. This gives the parents the ability to provide insight to how to handle emotions appropriately and acknowledge how strong they can be at times. This will help a child be more able to take charge of its own emotions and actions.

Another helpful method for teaching social skills to teaching disabled children is through direct instruction. Role model playing is a great way to teach a child how to approach someone his or her age and how to appropriately engage with him or her. Teach them how to identify someone they would like to play with and teach them how to approach them appropriately. Explain that when you want to play or talk with someone you should approach the other child with a smile and ask him or her his or her name. Show them how to introduce themselves to others. Teach children to ask questions that give the other child a chance to talk. Asking what the other child likes and is doing, rather than what you like is important in making friends. Express the importance of listening and doing things that others like is just as important as their own interests. With some diligent direction and instruction a learning disabled child can make and keep meaningful friendships as well as anyone else. This will be a benefit for a lifetime.

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