Children diagnosed with cognitive delay often experience many of the same difficulties their peers do. They have many challenges that need overcoming — economic hardship, lack of academic success, emotional adjustment, changing family dynamics and other experiences. Resilience is a crucial skill that helps children adjust better to all these disruptive factors, but it can be more challenging to learn for a child diagnosed with cognitive delay.
If a child has to deal with these stressors in addition to their learning disability, prolonged exposure to them could have debilitating consequences. It is why it’s essential for the child’s immediate environment to work with the child on acquiring the resilience skills necessary for proper adjustment to various changing factors in their lives.
Providing Sufficient Protective Factors A cognitive delay does not prevent a child from acquiring resilience skills, but it may be one of the risk factors for an adverse adaptation outcome. However, studies show that there are plenty of variations in individual adaptation in children diagnosed with cognitive delay — there are still plenty of positive results when it comes to overall life satisfaction or employment.
It’s safe to conclude that, while children diagnosed with cognitive delay have an increased risk of not being able to adjust to the changing factors in the environment, this risk can be offset by providing more positive influences. These influences are known as protective factors, and they’re often external. In other words, with proper support from family, caregivers, and peers, resilience can be taught successfully for better future outcomes in life.
The Importance of FamilyThe family is both a factor of risk and protection, depending on the family dynamics. Many factors can affect whether the family structure will be a source of stress or support for a child diagnosed with cognitive delay. Every single detail is essential, from the structural characteristics of the family to the personal traits of family members and the amount of external help that they have.
It is why it’s imperative to have a supportive atmosphere and a strong family structure, as it is the critical factor in developing resilience. Some of the good practices include:
● Effectiveness in responding to the needs of children with cognitive delay
● Providing affection and support for the child
● Talking about coping skills at home and in the school environment as well
Fostering Healthy RelationshipsAnother central pillar of building resilience that connects to the importance of family are healthy relationships. Of course, the learning process begins in the family, but children and teens who have friends and support structures outside of the family too, find it easier to develop coping skills. However, for a child to be able to have good relationships with their peers, it’s critical to work on improving their social and emotional skills early on.
Resilience plays such an essential role in a child’s future success in life and reducing the effects of hardship that it’s imperative to work on teaching coping skills early on. Fortunately, all it takes is a lot of love, patience, and consistency to build a supportive family structure that could help the child tackle essential life issues.
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