Youth and Learning Disorders

Monique is a sixteen year old girl living in Louisiana. She is a writer, dancer, and actress who enjoys playing video games and learning about others. Her favorite subjects are English, History, and Science; she plans to attend college and get a PhD in a related field.

 

One of the most troubling things to hear as a parent is that your child may be blocked by a bolder on the path to success. Particularly one they can’t move by themselves and will take them a life time to find a way around. A learning disorder is a problem that takes time and diligence to overcome and can be stressful to both parents and children. However, there are ways to help and paths around your child’s problem. The first step is to recognize that your child is not normal and will never be, and that’s okay!

 

Three Common Learning Disorders: 

  1. Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a reading and language disability. There are two main ways to watch your child’s learning progression for signs of dyslexia: their spelling and their reading. Reading is probably the most common way children find out that they have dyslexia. Reading out loud and silently is very challenging for dyslexics. While your child is reading out loud they may have trouble with pronunciation, decoding and getting words out fast enough. While reading dyslexics tend to have the habit of mixing words up, replacing words with a similar meaning, and even skipping over words. Writing is actually quite similar to reading. As a dyslexic, I get offended when people excuse their bad spelling for Dyslexia. Yes, one of dyslexia’s symptoms is horrible spelling; However, the bad spelling in dyslexics comes more from the memorization of order and grammar rules, and  rearranging of letters and words. Two personal examples were when I was in fourth grade I could not spell the words, “Friend” or “family.” Friend would be spelt, “Freind” and family would be spelt, “faimley.” While other children had the same problem it was easily corrected once the teacher told them the way to spell it. However, I didn’t learn how to correctly spell Friend and Family until sixth grade. Dyslexia all roots from our brains inability to memorize, identify and compute things normally. With that said, Dyslexics are also known to have trouble in math and be very slow learners.

Above were a few but not all the symptoms of Dyslexia. If you would like to know more about dyslexia please visit this site for symptoms and information.

 

2. Dysgraphia

Like myself, people tend to have what is called “Dyslexic Dysgraphia,” which is obviously a combination of dyslexia and dysgraphia. However, dysgraphia alone is the deficiency or writing, which mostly deals with handwriting. One symptom of dysgraphia is the ability to write backwards, right to left, or being able to write with both hands. My parents always tell me the story about how my 4th grade teacher sent me them the letter I wrote in class. I wrote the entire letter from the bottom up and right to left. It was not a big deal to me at all; it was how I normally wrote. In this letter I also wrote many of my letter’s backwards such as: p, q, b, and d. it is also quite common for people with this disorder to capitalize random words in their sentence. These are other very common sign of dysgraphia along with sizing letters too big or too small and not writing or coloring inside the lines. Like dyslexics, Dysgraphic’s also misspell words even after being instructed on how you really spell the word. Another very proponent sign is pain while writing. While writing dysgraphic’s will experience pain and or cramps. This may lead to the child’s complete refusal to complete the assignment at all. This symptom is something your child will probably never overcome. No matter how many people told me to stop gripping the pencil how I did I never did it any different. I still grip it the same when while writing fast and sometimes have to pause my assignments completely.

If you would like to learn more about dysgraphia please visit this link.

  1. Dyscalculia
    Dyscalculia is a disability dealing with mathematics, which is also closely related to Dyslexia. People with Dyscalculia have issues learning arithmetic, learning math related facts and the manipulation of numbers. The earliest symptoms of Dyscalculia is the inability to be able to tell how many objects are in a small group without counting, and problems with learning to read clocks. As a child with this disorder grows older they may have trouble learning mathematic processes beyond basic types of math, mixing up numbers, not being able to do mental math, and trouble with time and scheduling. However, please note that  because your child is slow at learning math does not mean they have this disorder. Math is a very hard concept to grasp and youth usually has problems with it.

If you would like more information on Dyscalculia please visit this link.

 

 

How to help your child once you’ve identified the problem: 

 

  1. My first suggestion, and one I suggest very highly, is to look into Educational Therapy. Educational Therapy is a type of therapy dealing with Learning disabilities. It helps you overcome your disability by showing you your strongest way of learning and also helping you overcome the areas you have the most trouble. It uses proven methods to help train your brain into keeping up with everyone else around you. I thank my parents so very much for putting me in a “Fast Forward,” Education Therapy program at our local hospital. Now, as a kid I didn’t understand any of my learning disabilities and this program was the most tedious thing I have ever done in my life. They would make me play memory games with flashcards at home for thirty minutes and then after doing that I was forced to listen to the worst classical music I have ever heard and pay attention to it diligently. The worst of it was on certain days after school I would have to go to the  hospital and play computer games in a cramped room that were proven to help with Learning disabilities for a while. While it was torture and I hated “wasting” my time on it I don’t think I would have passed my grade without that program. It helped TREMENDOUSLY.
  1. Be Supportive

Look, you can’t treat children with Learning Disabilities like you would a normal child. You need show them that you are there to support them in any way possible. Many parents think their child working harder and having their child pay more attention will cure their Learning disability. It won’t. Your child has a disability because their brain functions differently from the rest of society. They don’t know how to learn like everyone else and since they don’t know how they sometimes develop what everyone assumes is apathy. It’s not apathy, it’s a neurological function related to Learning disorders that just causes us to not care when we don’t receive the proper help, and sometimes certain dyslexics like myself need to be forced to learn how to compute information. Why? We are human and our pride is at stake. Why would we sacrifice our pride to be shown off as stupid? There is no logical reasoning; However, you need to help your child understand that getting help is not shameful, it’s honorable. You need to support them in their path to success.

 

  1. Work with your child

Along with maybe educational therapy I’d suggest either helping your child every day with their homework one-on-one or get them a tutor who is skilled in the subject and working with dyslexics. While it can be embarrassing to dyslexics because they feel as if people are judging them for their lack of retained knowledge one-on-one tutoring or homework help is one of the best ways that dyslexics learn. It gives them the opportunity to be with someone who understand and work together to find out how to move past their disorder and understand the material.

 

  1. Show them their strengths

Sure, your child isn’t good at learning, that doesn’t mean they are talentless. Famous people such as: Agatha Christie, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Leonardo Di Vinci, Cher, Magic Johnson, and Walt Disney suffer from learning disorders. Your child needs to know that just because they aren’t the best student in a biased learning environment doesn’t mean they aren’t destine for great things. Get them involved in something non-school related. Have them try sports, dancing, theatre, writing, anything that will help them realize that they are not worthless not matter how low their grade is.

 

I was the girl who couldn’t tie her shoe until she was 10. I was the girl in the slower reading group in first grade. I was and am the girl who can’t do simple math without extreme difficulties. I’m the girl who can’t look at a non-digital clock and tell you what time it is. I’m the girl who has to work 10 times harder than most people around her to feel good about her grades. I was the girl they tried to fail in fourth grade because they thought I was just being lazy. I’m the girl many people consider stupid because of how my brain functions. However, No matter how much my disorders have held me back I have found a way to break through it’s chains. There is not a day I don’t want to send a letter to the teacher who tried to fail me telling her, “Look at me now!” I have received tremendous success with my writing, theatre, grades, and speech and debate; More than anyone has ever expected of me. I have worked so hard since I was diagnosed and the temptation to tell her all about it is great. However, I never will. She was ignorant about my disorder, and If I could wish for anything it would be that people are aware that  other people with problems can go on to achieve great things. If your child has any of the mentioned disorders you have a difficult task ahead of you. The most important thing is to show them they don’t have to live inside the barriers of Learning disability.

 

1 thought on “Youth and Learning Disorders”

  1. Hi there, 
    I’m Monique, the one who wrote the article. I have been diagnosed with all three of these disabilities and I understand how you think it was upsetting for me to use the phrase “not normal”.

    However, I would like to clear the air and say that I didn’t mean to use that phrase as saying something is wrong with myself, your children, or anyones children. I meant it in a way that…we don’t think like others do. We aren’t what society deems “normal” and I feel that it should be embraces. If we were normal we’d have the same education as others, we’d understand things the same, we’d do things the same. however, we don’t! and that’s OKAY! 

    you are obviously a mother who understands us, and I thank you for your progressive thinking and agree with you. However, the choice of words was in now way putting down people with LD’s.it’s merely a different way that we see the phrase, not the way we think. 

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