How should Christian parents respond if a child has a learning disability?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Mini Shanna Duck "Let a search be made in the royal archives..." Ezra 5:17 NIV
As the home-school Mom of a daughter with a learning disability (or disabilities) I can promise you that YOU'LL learn SO much from your child it will astound you. Trust me, "all that can be shaken, will be shaken..." 

There is a huge difference between what are labeled "learning disabilities." They may range from mild dyslexia all the way to the child who will never tie his shoes and who will need guardianship care after his parents' demise. 

Right now, lots of children are labeled as "learning disabled," and "ADHD." This bothers me- even as a Mom who sees it in her own daughter and knows it's very real. As a historian, I WILL say this: if children started to school around age 9 (as many children did in the 19th century), walked a mile to school after doing chores, played at school, and then did chores after school, had a good supper, and went to bed, we might have less "ADHD," or at least you might have several gallons of milk or a half-acre planted. It's also amazing that my daughter's ADHD energy disappears when the goat barn needs cleaning out.

#1 The ability to learn is a gift from God, just like perfect vision or straight teeth. In this fallen world, not everyone is above average..or even average. The straight-A child shouldn't boast (because his intelligence is a gift from God; the child didn't earn it although he might put it to good use) and the struggling child should not be ashamed. (I learned this from some Mennonite books.) 

#2. If there is any guilt or self-blame or anger involved about the child's issues, go and talk to your pastor or a Christian counselor. Don't let guilt turn into anger OR into molly-coddling. Also, be willing to let go of your expectations (college, certain careers) if necessary. 

#3 Don't let your child con you or use the "I'm learning disabled" crutch, but also be realistic and don't push him further than he can go. This takes a lot of prayer and wisdom. Sometimes by pressing the "button" on the back-end of a child one or two times sharply, amazing learning and attitude adjustment will occur. Sometimes the child just needs to run and play, or get something to eat, or be assured that you and God love him and that he's not a failure.

#4 Learn to recognize frustration and burnout in yourself. Dealing with anyone can be frustrating. Trying to teach a learning-disabled child is REALLY frustrating at time. Find a support group online (like NATHHAN, or the Home School Legal Defense has a "Struggling Learner" department) or in your community.

#5 Look at your lifestyle. On a recent stay in a condo, I found out VERY quickly that we were right to live on a small farm in the country. Cooped up, our daughter would go nuts. And, while home-schooling isn't for everyone, it gives us and her the freedom to be flexible (and for her to be active). Also look at the child's diet. I've seen kids turn into Mr. Hyde after eating the wrong foods or if their sugar levels were too unbalanced.

#6 Give the child something he IS good at and enjoys. Some children also need lots of unstructured time. 

#7 Keep on keeping on. Learning is EXTREMELY developmental. A child who struggles with a topic one month may fly through that same skill three months later. Many people who struggle as children go on to be perfectly functional adults. REMEMBER that some "school skills" may not be really THAT important in the "real" world. Think of all the doctors who can hardly write legibly. 

#9 Investigate Learning without Labels, Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World, and other similar books. 

#8 Pray about seeking help. There are some types of help that are beneficial, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, help with reading or math but we personally stay away from secular counseling or any type of behavioral program that is based in a secular worldview. God expects children, even those with learning struggles, to honor their parents and to learn to be productive.

November 12 2013 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
It seems that today more and more parents in the western world are saying "My child has a learning disability!" In western society more and more children are being identified as having ADD, ADHD or...

July 01 2013 8 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Rebecca McGann
My son has this issue too. I deal with this every day. All I can do is pray every day and rely on the Lord. And it helps to have encouraging words from others like me that are going through the same things. It is encouragement to me.I am not alone in dealing with my son. I love him so much.The word of the Lord is so awesome. Words can not say enough.

November 14 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Tony Flores Tony Flores a servant of Jesus Christ
A child is a gift from God. We don't have any input of how that child will come into the World, except for the Mother doing everything in her power to have a great pregnancy. God will use that Child (or a blind man) for His honor and glory. Our responsibility is to bring that Child up serving Him who made him (story of Samuel). If anyone mocks another for the way they look or a disability that they had no control over, then they mock the Creator whom created him.

November 12 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Cf9790b1 14ba 4d83 ae53 56d027143617 Lauren Brundage
Many of the children with learning disabilities are looked down on. Their parents need to encourage them. They may need a little more help and guidance they other children, but they're still the same. They still have that same energy and creativity. Even if they can't learn a certain subject now, in a few months, they might fly right past it. They just need their parents there to help them.

December 19 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Fatima Sandoval
I have mild autism and my fiancé has Asperger's syndrome. We both are a huge blessing to our families because my mom learned that it is okay to laugh at the simple things in the world. Both my parents became born again Christians because I love God with all my heart. I even teach them it's ok to be childish sometimes and have fun. God created me unique and special for His perfect purpose :0)

March 14 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Faith Cross Pastor/Line Supervisor at a car parts factory
We also have two children with severe disabilities due to a genetic disease called Batten Disease. We have learned that God's Grace is sufficient in all circumstances of life. We have learn so much about becoming the parents God wants us to be, because God pulled out all our props. We have had to rely more fully on Him.

Some good resources for encouragement are Joni and Friends, International - http://www.joniandfriends.org/
and Nick Vujicic, Life without Limbs - http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/

March 07 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

95 1 Jay Saunders
I was a poor student most of my life in my younger years. I did not know it until I went to college later in life. My first college english teacher asked to have a meeting with me. She starting by saying my vocabulary was excellent. I told her my study of God's word was the reason. My spelling issues were overcome by spell check but once she explain to be the science of a dyslexic mind, I was set free. 

I had a 3.5 through college but the word of God and 5 argueous years of its study previous to college was instrumental. Another was choosing the best teachers and working backward in the chapters that I studied. I would read the questions at the back of every chapter and scan for the answer. The problem was the long drawn out vocabulary overload. I needed less information to deduce the answer.

Later I learned that I was gifted in problem-solving with my dyslexic mind. The only area I could not overcome was in higher mathematics - my mind could not discern the equations thus a 3.5 instead of a 4.0. In Computer sciences I could discern the answer, but not understand how I did it.

I am now writing my first book. I have made up my mind to do what others never accomplish. I wrote my first poem, some short stories, my first painting ect. And now a book on the Armour of God is in the works.

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Philippians 4:13 so have patients learn all you can about your child's disability. Learn to communicate that to them so they can comprehend it at their level.

I had a child with spina bifada. He never walked a day in His life. I was healed of epilepsy after being an epileptic for about 18 years, so I know a little something about adversity. You can overcome it or let it destroy you. My son lived 36 years. His prognosis was 1 year of life when he was born.

When you have a disability or have a loved one with a disability. It makes you realize someone is always worse than you, and if they can overcome so why not you too?

Hope this helps someone too.

March 13 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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