How Do You Work With Individuals With Learning Difficulties?
A learning difficulty is used to describe a situation where an individual experiences reduced intellectual ability, which results in difficulties in performing everyday activities. This affects the individual’s ability to acquire skills and knowledge at the same rate as their peers. They usually take longer to learn and might need assistance understanding complex information, developing new skills, and interacting with others. Learning difficulties cannot be cured, so the individual will have to manage the condition throughout their lifetime.
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It is also important to note that learning difficulties are not intellectual difficulties. It is in no way an indication of an individual’s intelligence level. So, learning difficulty does not connote that the individual cannot perform well or succeed in intellectual positions. However, when working with individuals with learning difficulties, there are some things to take into cognisance to make it easy for all concerned parties.
Tips For Working With Individuals With Learning Difficulties
Working with individuals with learning difficulties is not a job everyone can handle. Learning difficulties may make it challenging for individuals to learn, behave, and work in an expected manner. To effectively work with individuals with learning difficulties, you need to develop skills such as patience, empathy, problem-solving, good judgement, and, most importantly, communication.
There is no general rule of thumb when working with individuals with a learning difficulties. Everyone is unique, so what works for one might not work for the other. But, irrespective of the peculiarities, there are some general guidelines that can make it easier for you to work effectively with the individuals with learning difficulties.
You don’t need to constantly remind them that life is hard. Life is already challenging for them, so the best you can do is maintain a positive atmosphere around them. Let them see reasons to be happy irrespective of what is going on in their environment. Positivity is infectious, so ensure you spread it around.
No one says it’s going to be easy. Sometimes, you might feel frustrated, but you need to be patient with them. Sometimes, their tempers might escalate, and they will behave towards you in an inappropriate way. But you need to bear in mind that the behaviour could result from their frustrations. So, you need to see beyond the behaviour and recognize the cause so it can be addressed.
Focus on their strengths and appreciate their achievements
Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done. So, make it a habit to consistently recognize and celebrate them when they achieve a milestone. It might not be something major. But, no matter how minor it is, you should always acknowledge and reward them for it. Also, focus on their strength. This boosts their confidence and drive to achieve much more. You should also encourage them to discover their talents. Everyone is good at something, so you can help them and encourage them on their journey to discover theirs.
Be a Good Communicator
Communication is one of the most vital points when working with individuals with learning difficulties. You need to communicate with them in a way that makes it easy for them to comprehend. You should pay attention to the tone of your voice, the phrases you use, and your body language. Also, communication is not just about talking but also listening. A good communicator is a good listener. Here are some tips that will help you communicate better with individuals with learning difficulties: