July 17, 2024

F1000 Scientist

Health to Life

How Positive Affirmations Help Children With Learning Disabilities

4 min read

One of the best ways to make a positive change in anyone’s life is through stating positive affirmations. While these affirmations can be successfully used for all ages, they are particularly effective with children. These simple statements have the powerful ability to reprogram the subconscious. When used at an early age, this tool has even more ability to change thoughts before negative patterns have truly set in. Additionally, positive affirmations have been shown to be remarkably effective at assisting children with a variety of learning disorders including kids with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADD, Down’s syndrome, and other developmental disabilities.

An affirmation is a positive statement that is repeated over and over. Through repetition, the designated words trigger the subconscious mind to change in a positive direction. Parents have found that children who are exposed to positive affirmations become stronger and more confident in their abilities.

Various disabilities that hold children back from reading, thinking and concentrating can be improved through positive affirmations. For example, to heal attention deficit disorder, the affirmations may be statements such as “It is easy to focus,” and “I enjoy focusing on just one task.” Positive affirmations allow kids to understand what they are capable of achieving and it allows them to get in touch with capabilities that they weren’t previously able to access.

The Power of Positive Intentions

Part of the power behind affirmations is the fact that they set a positive intention. These intentions allow kids to focus on what they want to achieve instead of negative emotions like what they lack. Another benefit to positive affirmations is that parents find that changes can take place quickly. Usually they can begin to work in just minutes a day. In addition to helping with learning, positive affirmations can influence other areas of a child’s life as well. For example, they can improve social skills, communication skills and coping techniques.

The Science Behind Affirmations

Research that has been conducted on the power of positive affirmations has indicated that it can be quite valuable to people suffering from a spectrum of issues including everything from trauma to cancer. For example, in one study those who had been exposed to combat during wartime and natural disasters successfully used positive affirmations to avoid getting post traumatic stress disorder.

One of the founders of the positive psychology movement that advocates affirmations is Martin Seligman who is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He was also the president of the American Psychological Association and founding editor of Prevention and Treatment Magazine. Seligman’s research has explored the tremendous value of positive thinking. He has stated that a positive attitude “allows people to rise to life’s challenges, overcome adversity, resist illness and depression and lead happier, more successful lives.”

Barbara Fredrickson is another researcher who has done work studying the power of positivity. One of her main hypothesis states, “Discrete positive emotions broaden the scopes of attention and cognition and lead to a widened array of thoughts and action impulses in the mind. A corollary to this hypothesis is that negative emotions shrink these same arrays. Several recent studies from our lab provide converging support for this hypothesis.” As you can see from Fredrickson’s hypothesis, positive thinking can improve the state and functionality of a child.’

Another benefit of positive affirmations is that they allow children to have more confidence in their abilities to learn. When the subconscious has negative associations with learning, learning becomes more difficult. The wonderful thing about positive affirmations is that they work to restructure these beliefs. As a result, learning can become easier and more pleasurable.

Good Self Esteem is the Key

In the book What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, Shad Helmstetter PhD pointed out that according to research, 77% of what we think about is negative and serves to work against us. No matter who you might be, poor self-esteem can take a tremendous toll and cause feelings of inferiority and despair. Because children with learning disabilities don’t always live up to their peers, they end up learning to struggle. Instead of being proud of themselves for their accomplishments, this struggle often leads to frustration.

Children with learning disabilities like autism, ADD, Down’s syndrome typically have a great deal of trouble with their self-esteem. Not only do they feel as though they are constantly trying to live up to their peers, they also spend a great deal of time at the doctors undergoing various tests. Being bullied and picked on by other children are also very negative experiences. These experiences leave children feeling as though they are less than perfect and need to be improved. As a result, their self-esteem levels can plummet.

Positive affirmation statements like “I am loveable” can make a big difference in improving self-esteem and also allow kids to heal from negative experiences. The end result is that positive affirmations will allow kids with learning disorders to achieve everything from learning more quickly and easily, to socializing.

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