Ouch. Failing a test or other assignment always stings. But for a student with learning disabilities, getting failing grades can be heartbreaking and detrimental to motivation.
Imagine you worked late into the night for a week, pouring a ton of energy into preparing a complicated presentation for work. On the day of the presentation, you try your hardest but your boss says you didn't do well. Your coworker, on the other hand, started her presentation the night before and is heaped with praise. You'd probably feel embarrassed, angry, and discouraged, wouldn't you? You might even put less effort into the next presentation. After all, trying your hardest didn't work, so why bother?
When your child with learning disabilities gets low grades, he or she might feel all those same things. As a parent, you can't fix their grades – but you can help with their confidence.
Celebrate Effort, Not Results
It's hard to see a failing grade as anything other than, well, a failure. Help your child reframe a low score by focusing on what she learned and got right rather than what she got wrong. If she got a 40 on the last quiz and a 50 on this one, celebrate the fact that she's improving. Ask her to explain different concepts from the assignment so she can demonstrate how well she understands at least some of the material, and remind her that she can't control her final grade – only the effort she puts into the work.
Discuss the Disability
Some parents avoid talking about their children's disabilities out of discomfort, or because they want their kids to feel like everyone else. The thing is, when everyone else is able to complete an assignment correctly and your child isn't, she'll automatically feel different.
Reminding your child that she has challenges her peers don't might help her put her failing scores into context. If you can, talk about how her disability specifically played into her failing grades. Discussing it should help your child see that her struggles are a result of something beyond her control, and that they're not a reflection of her intelligence or worth.
Involve the Teacher
A lot of your child's academic self-esteem is built in the classroom, so you're going to need the teacher's help to keep your kid's confidence high. Arrange a meeting and share your concerns that your child's self-esteem is taking a hit because of her scores. A thoughtful teacher should be willing to give your child lots of positive attention and find ways for her to demonstrate her strengths in the classroom so she can feel confident during at least part of her school day.
On average, parents saw a 42% improvement, on average, in their child’s ability to learn in school after completing the Brain Balance program**. We have worked with over 25,000 children and their families and we know we can help yours, too. Contact us to learn more!
**Results based on a parent evaluation form filled out pre and post-program where the parents ranked a set of statements about their child, on a scale from 0-10 (0=not observed/does not apply and 10=frequently observed). Statement: Child has difficulty learning in school – 42% improvement for avg. student (2015-2018, data for 4,069 students where parents reported this issue).