Learning Disability Awareness: 5 Responses To Unhelpful Advice

learning disability awareness - city moms blog network

Ma’am! Your kid is being really loud and it’s ruining my grocery shopping experience!

My kid? Are you sure? Because, I don’t know if you can tell by looking at me, what with my crusty, unwashed jeans, one navy, one black sandal, months old pedicure, perfumed in what can best be described as anxiety and two days of adult woman stank, but I am having a day.

Scratch that.

I am having a year. You think my child is out of control, do you? Have you seen the gold medal-worthy gymnastics I’ve been doing to keep her within this particular range of “out of control” you now enjoy?
Parenting is tough. In a world where someone’s always interjecting their opinions on your parenting, being a mother of a child with learning disabilities can be extra stressful. Whether your kid has a speech delay or ADD, there’s a good chance you’ve heard some ridiculous opinions and unhelpful advice. As a mom to kids with speech disorders and ADD, I’ve heard it all, and I’m here to help.

5 Perfect Responses To Unhelpful Advice

1. “The Perfect Parent” says:

“Well, we don’t have ‘issues’ like that because I breastfed while doing handstand push-ups for six years. Kale also qualified for Mensa at eight months.

There’s a movie in my head called, 46 Ways I’m The Worst Mother In The History Of Ever (With Bonus Content!). In this insomnia-inducing documentary, I include both provable reasons I’m to blame (like genetics) along with made-up stuff like, “I didn’t encourage her to coo enough.” While I appreciate your submission to the documentary, I already have plenty of content. I spend all day calculating what I could have done better the day (and month and year) prior, and I’ve realized it’s just not super helpful to focus on the woulda-coulda-shoulda’s. It certainly doesn’t help my kid.

2. “The Helper” says:

“Have you tried massaging your toddler while they bathe in tepid, Craigslist donated, human milk? But did you add the Tibetan Bongs soundtrack? Because it’s a total waste of donor milk if you skip the bongs.”

Unless you’ve sat in the all the district appointments, lost sleep analyzing medical journal papers, sat on the phone at the tire store while someone explains to you what your child’s “rights” are…you just do not know what we know. Your recommendations are not only ignorant they are also insulting. Don’t you trust us to parent passionately? Because we’d totally do the whole Tibetan Gong Milk-Baths if we thought they’d help.

3. “Old School Parent” says:

“Back in my day, ADD didn’t exist. You modern parents are making problems up and need to chill out.”

You’re right, things have changed a lot since we were kids. School is so much more intense. Kindergartners are learning to read mini-novels, so they don’t have time for paste eating and “growing out of” learning disorders (which they can’t grow out of, anyway). This is not our childhood; grace to grow and mature is rare. So excuse me while I take my toddler to speech therapy, because what we’ve learned over these last 30 years is that early intervention improves a kid’s future success.

4. “The Excluder” says:

“We can’t do playdates with your son because he’s too wild.”

He’s not wild, he has ADHD, and it’s not his choice or mine. He also sees what’s going on around him and he’s painfully aware he’s being excluded. Not to be all hippy dippy-do-da, but I just got out of my Tibetan gong serenaded, human-milk bath and I have to ask: What is “too wild,” anyway? Surely, you could suck up one play-date if I agreed to help referee. In fact, I’m so grateful you included us, I’m bringing wine.

5. “The Pity-Party Planner” says:

Awww I feel so terrible for you! (Can you tell by the face I’m making that your mere existence has ruined my entire day?)

We really are too tired for any kind of party, including the pity party you’re currently staging. This is just our struggle, and it’s actually a lot easier than other struggles fate could have dealt. And yes, we do feel terrible sometimes, like when our district denies a request for support, or we spend all of Thursday from one appointment to the next hearing about our child’s seemingly insurmountable gaps in learning.

Parenting is tough. In a world where someone’s always interjecting their opinions on your parenting, being a mother of a child with learning disabilities can be extra stressful.

But we also see the beauty in our children, and the magic they bring to our lives. My kids have taught me patience and compassion. They’ve inspired me with their ability to dig deep when nothing makes sense to them. They’re some of the best people I know, exactly as they are, learning disability included. They may not be the best test takers (let’s be real: they are terrible test takers) but they are our best, and that’s nothing to feel sorry about.

Are any of you readers fellow moms of learning-disabled children? What are some of your tips and tricks for dealing with the well-meaning, yet unhelpful, advice that we all encounter?

Contributing Sister Site and Author

About Randi

Randi is the Sonoma County Moms Blog owner, hound dog lover, and mother to three daughters. She hails from Sonoma, where she also foster-adopts wine from overcrowded cellars. She’s a self-professed nerd who struggles with situation-dependent awkwardness. Thankfully her children do too, so she has a lot to write about. Randi’s favorite things about wine country are the hidden gems: quiet winding backroads, Redwood Forests, and the unpretentious tasting rooms in the Russian River Valley.