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Ask Claire: Will a Learning Disability Hold My Child Back?

Q: My child was just diagnosed with learning disabilities. Is having this label going to hold him back?

Don't panic. Getting the "label" can be a good thing: Your child can now get the services he needs. It can also help him see that he's not having trouble because he's stupid (LD has nothing to do with intelligence), he just learns differently from other kids.

He may have difficulties understanding, processing, and using information, but people can help him do those things better. Your reaction affects his reaction, so be positive and hopeful. And celebrate his other strengths -- there's more to him than his school performance.

A pediatrician and mom, Claire McCarthy, M.D prescribes solutions for kids' health issues in her Q&A. And she's an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard, as if she's not busy enough. Send her your questions at