A Biblical Perspective
We don’t have any record of children with learning disabilities in the Bible, but we do have three examples of children who were set apart before birth and their parents were asked to raise them differently: Jesus—born of a virgin and the Son of the Most High, Samson and John the Baptist.
Samson’s mother (also known as wife of Manoah), met the angel of the LORD face-to-face. This angel told this childless woman she would have a baby. She was given some diet restrictions during her pregnancy and then was told that her baby would be a boy. Her instructions were to never cut her son’s hair and that he should be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth. Imagine her joy to find out that she would have a baby and that it would be a son and he was going to be an instrument of God. Wow!
Think about raising a son whose hair was never cut! Do you think the other kids might have made fun of him? I wonder how long his hair grew before Delilah got her scissors out. Also, he never ate grapes or raisins or drank wine. I wonder if the community in their clan was supportive or if they thought Samson’s family was weird…
Although your child isn’t growing record-length hair and doesn’t prefer a diet of honey and wild locusts, it is possible that God has given you a child who learns differently than other children. If you are in that quandary and are struggling with Ifs, Whys and How’s, perhaps I can offer you some thoughts to ponder.
If your child is struggling with learning to read, to write (handwriting and/or composition), to compute math problems, to listen; if your child seems to hear but does not respond appropriately or immediately; if your child is struggling with attention problems and/or being able to sit still during class:
First, please, have their eyes and ears checked. You would be amazed at how many times this difficult problem has physiological roots. Some children actually need to have surgery to open the ear canal—it’s just too small to function completely. Some children never squint, but when the eye tests are completed all are surprised when their learning problem is sight-related.
If you have completed these steps, the next thing is to get a trusted physician involved and have a complete checkup including blood work. Thyroid problems and exposure to increased levels of lead need to be addressed first.
If your child sits still for movies and especially video games (which offer immediate feedback) but can not finish his/her chores or complete his assigned schoolwork, it is possible that s/he might be Attention Deficit. If s/he is impulsive, and does not accept responsibility for his/her decisions; if s/he can not sit still, even to eat dinner; if s/he has constant movement and squirming, etc., it is possible that s/he is Attention Deficit Hyperactive. However, all these symptoms must have been present before s/he started school.
Parents are also concerned when their children reverse letters and numbers. Yes, this is a sign of dyslexia. However, it is not until after a child turns 8 years old that any professional would attempt to diagnose this disorder. For this, a child psychologist and a physician would need to be involved. Unlike ADD/ADHD there are no medications to chemically help your child. Your child will need to be taught strategies to help them overcome this learning difficulty. And we know from history that many famous, intelligent, productive adults have learned to overcome dyslexia.
Perhaps your child is not ADD or ADHD and is not dyslexic either, but is really struggling with reading, writing, and or math. S/he tries really hard; seems to get it; and then loses it; s/he hates reading or hates math because it is just “too hard.” Your child’s love of learning is being overtaken with the, “I Can’t Do It’s.” Please contact an education specialist, counselor, or medical professional.
Sometimes auditory processing problems. Physicians, psychologists and diagnosticians work together to help children with these problems.
If you are agonizing right now, not knowing how to help your child, please start dialoging with someone who can help.
And remember… He, who created your amazing child, loves that child more than you can imagine.
“All the days ordained for him/her were written in His Book before one of them came to be.” Ps. 139:16
Rest in that.