Prepare Your Child with NLD or Other Learning Disabilities for Summer
By Marcia Brown Rubinstien, MA, CEP
Children with nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD) have widely different learning and behavioral profiles, yet they often share a common trait: anxiety over transitions. Indeed, many children with learning disabilities experience anxiety in the face of change. To minimize concerns for children with NLD and other learning challenges you must prepare them for the changes that summer brings long before the weather turns balmy.
Begin building a framework now by assuring your child that his summer activities will have benefits that far outweigh his fears of transitioning.
Assess Your Child
The mission of developing productive summers for kids challenged by change begins with a careful and comprehensive assessment. Know not only what your child embraces, but also what he fears. You can help him succeed at summer camp, summer school, travel, or special interest programs by balancing his interests with conditions that make him comfortable.
Begin with a preliminary investigation of summer options; ask yourself:
- What are my child’s assets and deficits?
- What conditions create comfort and, alternatively, what conditions generate anxiety?
- Does my child exhibit any behavioral, cognitive or emotional patterns that might affect summer activity selection?
- What makes my child happy?
- What makes my child anxious and depressed?
Listen To Your Child
After you’ve done your soul-searching, it’s time to begin a dialogue with your child. Open the discussion by asking:
- What would you like to do this summer?
- Is there a special activity or sport you would like to learn about?
- Are there any school subjects you’d like to reinforce?
- How would you feel about sleeping away from home?
By starting early and involving your child in the plans for his summer, you can address his concerns as they arise. If you keep him informed of your progress, by the time summer activities have been finalized, your child should have the skills and confidence to understand and deal with new and changing situations.
Marcia Rubinstien is an educational consultant and the author of Raising NLD Superstars.