Self-Esteem For Children With Learning Disabilities

by | Mar 17, 2020

Many unique learners experience a sense of shame because they aren’t like others. They think that because they struggle academically, they must not be as smart as their peers.

Their self-concept is skewed by this inaccurate self-assessment. The truth is, unique learners typically have a much different way of viewing problems. This different point of view allows them to resolve issues that need creative solutions, the same issues that more typical thinkers have been unable to solve.

You can help your unique learner develop a more complete and positive perspective on life.

The importance of parents, teachers and therapists working to develop an accurate self-concept and positive self-esteem within unique learners cannot be stated too strongly.

It is, in fact, essential to their brain and body development.

The “normal” mind-set has created many problems. Solving them will require the ability to see the world differently, a trait common to unique learners.

For your unique learner to develop their capacity to make a profound contribution, your child needs your help to foster and develop their self-esteem.

How your unique learner thinks of him or herself, their self-esteem, affects their ability to learn.

Because it impacts learning, it is important for parents to have strategies to focus on building their child’s self-esteem.

Think of self-esteem as a sense of faith in oneself. You want your child to trust themselves, so they will be able to rely on their own judgment as they reach adulthood.

Keep the following guidelines in mind as you work to help your unique learner develop this perspective and to foster a positive self-esteem.

Accept Unconditionally

The first thing you must understand is how important it is to let your child know that neither his achievements nor his compliance with your requests are prerequisites for being loved.

Parental love should always be freely given, not offered as a reward for good behavior. One should never threaten to withdraw or withhold love.

Accepting children unconditionally does not mean tolerating inappropriate or irresponsible behavior. You absolutely want to maintain rules and limits. The key is to accept the child while rejecting their unacceptable behaviors.


When all brain and body systems are working smoothly as a whole, there is a calmness which provides an optimal state for learning. It can allow for improved mental and emotional functioning. We refer to this state as “coherence”.

When mental and emotional turmoil is managed successfully, it improves a unique learner’s confidence in themselves and their academic abilities. Research shows improved reading ability such as reading comprehension.

Never forget what you already know, our children benefit from the comfort of our welcome recognition. Sometimes a warm smile or gentle hand gesture or compassionate wink can help soothe and restore coherence more than anything else.

Recognize That There Is More Than One Way to Learn

Often, parents think of learning in terms of academic achievement. However, the act of learning, in its purest form, is a means of acquiring knowledge.

Though we are aware that acquiring knowledge happens continuously throughout our lives, sometimes we act as if it only occurs at school. By stepping back and recognizing that there are different ways of learning, you can affirm your child’s unique way of learning about their world.   

Through this shift in thinking, you will begin to appreciate that while there are some things that your child struggles with in the classroom, there are other things that he can do more skillfully than his siblings and peers.

Develop Calmness Through A Simple Breathing Exercise

Sit or lie down comfortably, focus on your breath and notice the action of your rib cage, your throat and neck, the feeling of your breath, and the steadiness of that rhythm.

Select a color that suggests relaxation. Ensure you pick the first color that comes into your mind. This is important.

Perhaps you selected white as your color of calmness. Breathe in “white”, breathing in calmness and blow out tension.

Assign tension a color, too. For example, breathe in white and blow out dark grey. Breathe in calmness. Blow out tension.

Continue until you turn the grey tension into white calmness.

As a variation, my children would imagine breathing in small, happy, violet flowers, and blowing out rain clouds.

Read more on this topic through my blogs on this website and by purchasing my book (CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE), Unique Learner Solutions.





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