Explaining a disability to your child

Learn about: Explaining a disability to your child from Jane M. Healy, PhD,...
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Explaining a disability to your child

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It’s really upsetting for a parent to get a diagnosis that your child has a learning disability. But we have to remember that the way we explain this to our children is probably going to set the course for the treatment. This is still the child that you love. Your child is not the problem, your child has a problem. And I suggest to parents that the first thing you do when you try and begin to explain this to your child is you wipe that worried look off of your face. The second thing is that any good diagnosis is going to explain not only what isn’t going right with this kid’s learning, but also what is going right and the many strengths that your child undoubtedly has. So we always start with a positive, “We hear that you have all these wonderful talents and we’re so proud of you. It seems there are some areas that you could use some help in” – usually by this time the child already realizes this – “and isn’t it wonderful that we have the opportunity to find this out and get you the help that you need.” This is the way to set off the course of treatment on a positive note and your own attitude is so critical in shaping the way your child responds.

Learn about: Explaining a disability to your child from Jane M. Healy, PhD,...

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Jane M. Healy, PhD

Educational Psychologist

Jane Healy is a teacher and educational psychologist who has worked with all ages from pre-school to graduate school.  Her major research interest has been in finding practical applications of current brain research for teachers and parents.  A graduate of Smith College, she holds a MA from John Carroll University, a PhD from Case Western Reserve University, and post-doctoral work in developmental neuropsychology.  She has served on the faculty of Cleveland State University. Her many years of experience include: parent, classroom teacher, reading/learning specialist, elementary administrator, and clinician.  She is recognized internationally as an author, lecturer, and consultant. She has received international media coverage, including Nightline, Good Morning America, the Today Show, CNN and NPR, for her ideas about the impact of technology, media and culture on children's brain development and learning.

Although Jane has received many honors, including being twice named the "Educator of the Year" by Delta Kappa Gamma, she claims that she and her husband have learned most of what they know from the process of raising three sons (and now their six grandchildren).

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