My intuition was partly confirmed when I was searching information for this post. After you type in “learning” into Google, “learning disabilities” is the third term on the drop down list.
I found some very good sites on what learning disabilities are, and some ways which parents can help their children, and adults can help themselves, when one is learning disabled. Kids Health and the Learning Disabilities Association of America has great information, and can help answer a lot of questions for people whos lives they effect, or for those who have never heard of the term learning disability.
There was a recent New York Times article which showed the problems teachers have when they have to teach students who are extremely disabled. What makes learning disabilities unique, is that you would never know that someone has a learning disability unless he or she tells you. Learning disabilities not only effect the development that one learns, but social development as well.
Students have only recently begun being diagnosed with learning disabilities, and they usually are in their early teens. Now, I don’t know anyone who liked middle school. Whenever I talk to anyone about it they always have bad memories, mostly from being picked on because, as you know, everyone is cool when they are twelve years old.
While school is a place to learn the skills that prepare you for the world, it is also a place where you are supposed to learn how to interact with other people without your parents telling you how to behave. But having a disability can make it difficult. Since you are struggling, school becomes a place where you are not comfortable. You are forced to work harder then your peers but still not getting as good of grades, your teachers keep telling you you’re doing something wrong, and then your friends are calling you an idiot. It’s not fun, and needless to say, you don’t feel too good about yourself.
Having a learning disability is not something that goes away. While there are methods which can help those who are learning disabled, there is no way to fix whatever it is that causes someone to have these troubles.
There still needs to be research done to determine how to help students who are having these struggles. But what we know is that these students need extra help not just with their homework, but figuring out the best ways for them to learn. Time needs to be set aside with a teacher who can show students how to take notes, organize their work, and also give them the confidence necessary in order to succeed.
Believe it or not though, there are some positives to have a learning disability. For one, you know what you’re good at. I’m 24, most of my friends have graduated, have jobs, and I still hear that they don’t know what they want to do with themselves. Even in undergrad, no one knew what they wanted to major in and had to figure out their niche. When deciding what type of job or career path someone with a disability wants to go in, they’re going to choose something that works toward their strengths. In the end they will be doing a job that they enjoy, and after all the struggles through school, will also be able to take more satisfaction in whatever they decide to do.
Being learning disabled also makes you a hard worker. All the days with tutors, or studying late at night, students with disabilities will be used to working those long hours that employers might need their employees to do.
Since learning disabilities are still relatively new to the world of education, those with disabilities may feel alone. But it is always important to remember that there are a lot of people with learning disabilities out there. Which is why I suspect so many people are googling the term. And even though it may be difficult at times, it’s important to think positively. Take a break from school/work and do something you enjoy, which people should do whether they have a disability or not!