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Stronger Than You Seem

Identifying The Strengths Of Your Complex Learner

Complex Learners are no strangers to struggles. Whether it’s difficulties with reading, social skills, or executive function – your Complex Learner has spent most of his academic life hearing about these issues. While it’s important to work on these areas, constantly focusing only on where he needs to improve can have a serious impact on his self-esteem.

As a parent of a Complex Learner, you need to work with your child to help identify his strengths. Being able to explore his strengths, not only helps boost your child’s self-esteem but it can also help your child grow in different areas. Here are 3 ways you can help your Complex Learner identify his strengths!

  1. Look At The Whole Child

When thinking about strengths, it’s common to just look at how your child does in school. But strengths aren’t just academic abilities, so don’t feel discouraged if your child’s strengths don’t fit into that category. To truly identify his strengths, you have to look at the whole child.

Complex Learners can excel in art or music. Maybe your child is a skilled public speaker or poet. Complex Learners can be strong leaders, loyal friends, talented performers or filmmakers. Perhaps your child can fix any technology issue you put in front of him or is an avid history buff.

Your child can be skilled in a variety of things but it’s easy to overlook so many areas if you’re just focused on one type of skill set. It’s important to look at the big picture and not let your fears block out your ability to help find your child’s unique strengths.

While it’s normal to be concerned about your child’s academic gains or social life – it’s important to remember that we all have different strengths. Just because your Complex Learner might not always excel socially doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a variety of other strengths that are just as valuable to letting him live a full and happy life.

  1. Seek Input

As the parent of a Complex Learner, chances are you have a team of teachers and professionals on your side that work with your child frequently. As the old saying goes, it takes a village, and for Complex Learners, this team of professionals and practitioners is your village. Whether it’s his teacher, the leader of his social skills class or his OT, utilize your team to help you identify and explore your child’s strengths.

Professionals value your child’s strengths just as much as you do because they understand that strengths can help your child grow in other areas. For example, if your Complex Learner’s strength is music, there is no shortage of ways for you to integrate music into different aspects of learning like math or even reading!

As a parent of a Complex Learner, you are already pulled in a million different directions. Don’t forget that you don’t have to do everything on your own. Chances are you have your own village of supporters just willing to help. Sometimes all you need is an outside perspective!

  1. Encourage 

Whether it’s guitar lessons or finding old computers for your child to deconstruct and then rebuild – one of the most important ways you can help your Complex Learner is simply by encouraging his strengths.

Pushing your child to try new things, make academic gains, and try a sensory diet are all important parts of your job as a parent. But sometimes it’s less important to worry about broadening his horizons and more important to give him a safe and encouraging space to explore what makes him happy.

Instead of trying to get him to stop playing video games and go to a school dance to work on his social skills, sign him up for a Video Game Club at the local library. This way he is still being exposed to new friends and social situations but in an arena that actually matters to him. Use his interests as a means to work towards a bigger goal.

Maybe you’ll never be able to get him to remember to put the milk back in the fridge, but you can help him uncover his secret knitting talent or basketball skills and that certainly counts as a parenting win!

By identifying strengths, you’re giving your Complex Learner a chance to shine. For a child that has dealt with feeling different or inadequate – this is huge. Identifying and exploring strengths not only gives your child something to be proud of, which is a great and necessary self-esteem boost, but it also provides you with another outlet to connect with him. And as Christopher Robin taught us, chances are your child is stronger than he seems but he may need your help to learn that for himself!

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