37Found this helpful
37Found this helpful

Having more than one child with learning or attention issues can get very complicated. Parents speak about the challenges of meeting all their children’s needs—and share tips on how to do it.

1 of 5

Looking Past the Labels

Early on, we lived more or less “by the label” because we were getting so many diagnoses for our children. So you get into the zone of thinking about the label and saying your children are only about deficits and where they’re struggling.

But as soon as we were able to look at it differently (and thank goodness we did that early), we were able to see our children outside their labels. And that’s really what we do now: We embrace our children for their abilities and their strengths. —Julie Buick, member of the National Center for Learning Disabilities’ Parent Leader Team

2 of 5

Getting Services

I have a child who has learning and development issues and then I have a child on the other end of the spectrum and is considered gifted in traditional educational terms.

I find that it’s more of a struggle to meet my gifted child’s needs than it is to meet the needs of my child with delays. From my perspective, I see a lot more resources out there for the child with delays and learning issues that trend toward traditionally problematic.
—Anonymous on Facebook

3 of 5

Balancing Kids’ Needs

To an extent, our son spent his first few years in his oldest sister’s shadow.

This is not to say he was neglected by any means, but when a meltdown or safety issues struck with her, we literally had to shut down the house. No one could go anywhere; lights got turned on low; we kept everyone quiet.

We always told him that she has hard times and we needed to help her get through them. Now sometimes he will say he is having hard times and needs help. And we jump to help him.
—Anonymous on Facebook

4 of 5

Getting It All Done

I have people come to me a lot and say “I just don’t know how you do it.” The truth is I don’t know either. I get up every day and do what needs to be done. I try not to think too far into the future because there’s no telling what that future will hold.
—Anonymous on CircleofMoms

5 of 5

Making It Fair

There’s a constant challenge to “make it fair.” I always fear that I may show one child more attention than the others.

But it’s about being aware. Spending extra time one-on-one when you can, talking it out the best you can, letting them know that we’re in this together. And of course holding them all to the same standards, keeping in mind their differences in abilities and skills.
—Anonymous on Facebook

View the tips again

7 Tips for Managing More Than One Child’s Learning and Attention Issues

Having more than one child with a learning or attention issue can create unique challenges for parents. These tips can help you handle those challenges—from second-guessing your judgment to juggling doctors’ appointments.

8 Tips for Answering Your Other Child’s Questions

Your other children are likely to notice their sibling’s learning or attention issues and have questions. These conversation tips can help you reply honestly and appropriately—and support all your children.

About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Sheldon Horowitz

Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D., is senior director of learning resources and research at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

Did you find this helpful?

What’s New on Understood