As we look for the good news during the great quarantine of 2020, you might be surprised that children with learning differences may finally catch a break.
Check out 3 unique possibilities for our very unique learners.
Benefit #1: Spotlight on the Effects of School
I’ve heard countless parents share stories of their differently wired kids feeling much more relaxed without the expectations of school looming over them. These kids are more agreeable, more fun to be around, and simply feel much happier.
I understand that not every parent is experiencing that same good fortune during our stay-at-home orders. Without the structure, consistency, and predictability of school, and possibly without strong emotional-regulation tools, some students are feeling more stress and anxiety than ever. They are more combative, quicker to melt down, and certainly NOT a joy to be around.
My heart goes out to the parents whose job of loving all over their kids, while more important than ever right now, has become so much more difficult than it has ever been.
Either way, quarantine has put a spotlight on how supportive or how damaging school has been in children’s lives. This is important to know as parents choose their next steps forward.
Benefit #2: Spotlight on Unique Learning Difficulties
Unless parents are already seasoned homeschoolers, most of the reports about children’s unique learning challenges come directly from teachers.
Now that parents are in charge of monitoring distance learning, they have essentially become their children’s observers in chief. They get to see, first hand, where the learning gaps exist.
This can be tremendously eye opening. Shining a spotlight on children’s specific challenges can help parents take even more informed action.
Benefit #3: Spotlight on Unrelenting Stress
As with the rest of the world under quarantine, parents and teachers of school-age kids are under a previously unimaginable amount of stress right now.
They’re navigating distance learning, working online, caring for kids 24/7, managing pets, preparing food, keeping groceries stocked, MAYBE keeping up with laundry, feeling like they may be failing at everything, and the list goes on.
They do this, of course, all while trying to stay upbeat and positive for the kids’ sake, even while coping with the emotional toll of worldwide grief.
And yet, we all understand that this is a temporary condition. Things may never return to the way they were, but they also won’t remain just as they are. It’s not a forever thing. We have hope for brighter days.
Now let’s consider students with learning differences, pre-quarantine. They carry around a heavy burden every day.
Simply showing up for school each day can elevate stress hormones. Struggling learners often try to hide the fact that they don’t learn the same way as their peers. This requires a monumental amount of effort and energy. Maybe they can only truly be themselves when they come home, until, that is, it’s time to finish homework that they don’t really understand.
Students who learn differently tend to believe the worst about themselves. Not only do they mistakenly assume that they aren’t very smart, they believe that they’re “dumb,” they’re failures, and that this must be an innate quality that they’ll simply have to live with, FOREVER.
This breaks my heart every time. It’s an added burden that leaves kids feeling defeated, helpless, hopeless, depleted.
I’m not suggesting that the burden of quarantine is the same as the burden of learning difficulties. It is not. But here’s where struggling learners may benefit.
Parents and teachers can now relate with this kind of unrelenting stress on an entirely different level.
Empathy is a beautiful thing. Empathy that leads to action is even better.
Yes, quarantine or no quarantine, parents and teachers always want to alleviate the stress of learning difficulties. I do believe, however, that this deeper understanding, this spotlight on just how much stress these kids carry on their shoulders, will again lead to more informed action. Their burden, by the way, CAN (and should) be temporary. Together we can ensure that it is.
If you feel inspired to take action, please consider learning more about online training. You’ll learn how parents (and teachers) can unlock children’s learning abilities and finally lift the burdens of learning difficulties.