Divorce is hard on kids. They struggle to understand what’s happening and why it’s happening, among many other questions swimming through their inquisitive minds. That difficulty to understand is multiplied when a child has a learning or processing disorder. As the parent, it’s immensely important that you have the right people, plans and services in place as you help your child with a learning or processing disorder cope with divorce.
Helping Your Child with a Learning or Processing Disorder Cope with Divorce
Just like a car can’t run without gas (or electricity depending on the vehicle), you – as a parent – also need fuel. Take care of yourself and do not try to go through this process alone. Seek a wise friend when you need clarity in the mix of your own emotions.
Make healthy decisions that will keep your mind and body sharp, like eating well and exercising. If you did not do these things previously and you want to start, take it slow. Recognize your starting point and set some goals.
When it comes to working through this new reality with your child, there are a handful of people who can help if you let them know what’s happening. Your child’s teacher is one of the people at the top of the list. They see a side of your child that you don’t. If they are recognizing unusual behavior in the classroom and they know about what’s going on at home, they will be able to identify the root of their behavior and let you know what they are observing. This will give you more insight into how your child is feeling.
Another person you will want to bring up to speed is your child’s psychologist, tutor, mentor or life coach. A professional will be able to help you set up a plan that brings peace and consistency back to your child’s life.
As I briefly mentioned in the last paragraph, consistency in your child’s schedule will go a long way. If physical custody is shared by both parents, establishing a routine will be key. If one or both parents will be employing a babysitter or child care, it will help your child immensely if you find someone who can commit long term rather than day-to-day.
If the court grants you and your ex-spouse joint legal custody, you both have the right to participate in making decisions regarding your child’s IEP and education. However, the signature of one parent is all that is needed for your child’s school to proceed with proposed actions.
If possible, it can be helpful to come to an agreement before IEP meetings. Minimizing the amount of conflict your child witnesses between you and your ex-spouse will aid in comforting your child.
Divorce is difficult in any family dynamic, but with a good plan and the right help, children with learning or processing disorders can adjust.
If you’d like to talk more about this, please feel free to contact me.