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If you son had learning difficulties, would you tell him? And how?

(11 Posts)
MojoLost Tue 21-Jul-09 16:58:27

Any child psychologists out there?
DS is almost 5 years old, he has a global developmental delay and has needed therapy to help absolutely all areas of development. He is doing well.

I took him to a routine appointment with his neurologist and just told him we were going to the doctor. During our drive there he suddenly said to me ?Doctor is gonna make DS better? (he still uses third person to refer to himself).

This tiny phrase was a wake up call for me.I didn't know how to explain that he is not actually sick, the doctor is not going to make him better. I need your opinions.

He will eventually realise that things are more difficult for him than for his peers, that things take much longer for him to learn, that he needs therapy and visits to doctors that nobody else needs. I am really concerned about bullying. I am not going to kid myself, I know that at some point kids are going to point out his difficulties and even call him names. How do I prepare him for that?

He is such a confident lovely little boy, I just don?t want him to change. We tell him we love him all the time. He is happy. But he will start school in September and I won?t be able to protect him for much longer.

What would you do? Would you just let him find out about his neurological problem by himself with time? Would you start telling him about things, and if so how on earth? What words do I use?

My gut feeling is that I need to explain to him the situation, so that he is prepared and understands why things are more difficult, but I have no idea how to tell him.

I cannot tell him he suffered brain damage. That sounds so final. But I don?t want to lie to him either.

Please help me.

cat64 Tue 21-Jul-09 17:03:45

Message withdrawn

MojoLost Tue 21-Jul-09 17:49:05


cornsillk Tue 21-Jul-09 17:51:08

Agree with cat - give him the message that it's our differences which make us special.

TurtleAnn Tue 21-Jul-09 20:23:37

Speak to the Drs treating your DS. Certainly the Psychologist and probably the paediatrician, definately the speech therapist all have books that you can use to tell DS a story to explain his difficulties to him at this age or later if you choose.
Good luck

TotalChaos Tue 21-Jul-09 20:29:59

my DS is 5 and has a language delay. I have just told him that he needs help to help him speak better, that's why he sees the speech therapist. Btw DS has just finished reception, and has been very happy there, the other kids have been accepting (and a few of them have SN as well, it won't just be your DS in his year that has some problems).

DLI Tue 21-Jul-09 20:45:40

hi my ds is 5, nearly six and has speech and language delay as well as other development problems. he is now about to leave reception class and we have not had any problems. We havent told him he is "different" but he has never really brought up the subject. we go to hospital appointments at least once a month on average and has done since birth so he thinks it is normal. There are a few other children in his class that also have speech and other problems and i think that makes it easier also. ds has gone from nursery into reception class with most of the children which i think has also helped and although he has problems with learing and speaking I am amazed at how many children want to play with him on a morning - especially the girls! i think the best thing is to get him into a school and not change schools. That way he will grow up with the same children and they will understand much better than strangers.

cat64 Tue 21-Jul-09 23:02:04

Message withdrawn

Allyinoz Wed 22-Jul-09 11:49:39

I think your attitude is important.

You have to tell him he is good enough and that he is different. As everyone is.

Children do notice differences and ask questions. It is better to give him the knowledge yourself in a positive way.

Maybe you yourself have feelings about how he will be received in school, that you may need to acknowledge.

I run peer awareness sessions about intellectual disability for primary aged students. Most students when given the information are supportive. They just need direction in how to understand differences.

Tell him he needs extra help to learn, just as some people need help to see etc.
Mem Fox's book Whoever you are, may be a start.

rocketupbum Wed 22-Jul-09 19:51:09

There are some great words of wisdom here already. As a side note my mum worked with kids with learning disabilities for many years. There were some parents who chose not to tell their kids and mum always said it was hard as the kids knew they were different but didnt understand why.
Good luck, it sounds like you are doing a great job.

MojoLost Thu 23-Jul-09 10:19:50

Thank you all for your words of wisdom.

Allynoz, thank you for that book recommendation, I will definitely get it. And yes you are right, my attitude is very important, but I also think that those around him will also have an important impact. That is why I want to find the right way of telling him about his problem, so that he is prepared. I want him to feel proud of himself, whatever his challenges.

What rocketupbu wrote has reinforced to me the need to tell DS about his situation.
I don't want to tell him that he is different, because he is not. He has difficulty learning things. It is just so hard to find the right words.

Maybe if his only area of delay was speech and language it would be a little bit easier to explain it to him, but having trouble with motor skills, language, cognitive skills and social skills makes it so much harder.

This is so difficult.

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