Mental Health

Young man outdoors, deep in thoughtMental health issues can affect anyone, including individuals with learning disabilities (LD) and/or ADHD. Co-occurence of mental health issues and learning disabilities might be present from birth or be acquired later. They may be temporary or chronic. Here you will find tips and guidelines for preventing, identifying, and addressing mental health issues linked to learning disabilities. Years of research have yielded a considerable body of knowledge on coping with the risks for mental health issues that may occur in connection with LD and/or ADHD.

Managing Social-Emotional Issues of Adults with Learning Disabilities

Some guidelines for adults with learning disabilities: Managing (and perhaps mastering) the social-emotional aspects of living with a learning disability. It’s important to start out with the reminder that although a learning disability (LD) is a life-long condition, that does not mean that it’s a life sentence. With increasing frequency, adults have found success in navigating a world lived through the lens of a learning disability, either in spite of it, or more importantly, because of the LD. A learning disability has certain common features, but it shows up in different people in different ways. This is especially true in… Read More »

Learning the Language of Relationships

Relationships follow a chain of CHOICE – BEGINNING – DEEPENING – ENDING – CHOICE that is never ending. The closer to the beginning of the cycle that you have problems, the harder it is for you to develop the rest of the chain. You move through the relationship chain by the use of communication, both verbal and non-verbal. Non-verbal language appears to be a good secret code that is written nowhere, known by no-one, yet understood by everyone. This article will briefly cover components of non-verbal language, similarities and differences between verbal and non-verbal language, and the major areas of… Read More »

Instinctual Optimism and Intrinsic Motivation: Every LD Student’s Keys to Success

Did you ever wonder? How a ten-month-old knows if she just keeps standing up she will eventually be able to walk. How an eighteen-month knows if he just keeps making noises eventually people will understand what he is communicating. How a three-year-old child knows if she just keeps scribbling eventually people will recognize what she is making. How a four-year-old child knows if he just keeps looking at the words on the page eventually they will “speak” to him. These behaviors can be best explained by the concept of instinctual optimism. Instinctual optimism is one of the two, early, critical… Read More »

Mental Health and Learning Disabilities: Why a Higher Risk?

There are certain aspects of learning disabilities which increase the risk for an individual to experience mental health issues. Failure to identify a learning disability at an early age and to consequently delay the provision of intensive, individualized instruction results in school failure. A child who was well-adjusted as a five- or six-year-old can acquire overlays of emotional disturbance after years of school failure. Anxiety and depression would be likely experiences for such a child from the age of nine or ten. Certain specific learning disabilities are characterized by perceptual deficits, including misinterpretation of facial expression, body language, or verbal… Read More »

Symptoms of Mental Health Disturbances

Although not necessarily indicative of mental disturbance, these actions, or signs of trouble, can sometimes help you identify someone who needs help: ACTING DIFFERENT THAN USUAL. Can you link this change in behavior to something that has happened recently? Any event, such as the death of a close relative, or even something positive – like a job promotion – can trigger a troublesome emotional reaction. SEEMS TO BE EXCESSIVELY WITHDRAWN AND DEPRESSED. Are hobbies, friends and relatives ignored suddenly? Is there a feeling that this person has begun to lose self-confidence? Depressive illnesses have many symptoms similar to these. COMPLAINS… Read More »

Childhood Depression

Children with learning disabilities are prone to chronic depression. Older adolescents and adults tend to become withdrawn. They may be quiet or become agitated, irritable, and angry; they may also look sad and talk about their sadness. Young children, on the other hand, tend to exhibit non-verbal clues and express their emotional struggles more by their behavior than by talking. A major depression typically lasts several weeks and may be intense. Mild chronic depression (dysthymia) may last for an extended period of time and frequently appears to be an aspect of a child’s usual moods and personality. Signs that may… Read More »

Related Disorders of a Learning Disability: What You Should Know

If you know that you or your child has Learning Disabilities (LD) it is important also to know that about 50 percent of individuals with LD will also have one or more “related disorders”. There is a continuum of neurologically based disorders that are frequently found together. The basic concept is that if something impacts on the developing brain, resulting in an area or system being “wired differently,” it is possible that other areas might be involved as well. These related disorders are referred to as “comorbid conditions.” If you or a family member has LD, it is important that… Read More »

Encouraging Compliance and Managing Non-Compliance at School

What are the root causes of compliant behavior and the strategies to use at school? Dr. Russell Barkley, an expert in child behavior, encourages teachers to examine compliance and non-compliance in light of four factors: the nature of the student, the nature of teachers and care-givers, the effectiveness of child management methods, and the student’s environment and related stress. In addition, this article includes such strategies as solicit the student’s input, use physical cues, know the student’s learning style, set clear limits and expectations, know those things you can control and those things you do not control, choose your battles… Read More »

The Role of Psychotherapy in the Treatment of ADHD Through the Lifespan

Within the healthcare professions, there has been a movement towards the use of evidenced based or scientifically validated treatments. This movement is reflected in mental health care as well. However, the first wave of empirically supported treatment research has focused rather narrowly on efforts at relieving the specific symptoms used to define diagnosed conditions. While this is certainly a valid means of assessing treatment effectiveness, there are other benefits to be derived from treatment, particularly for individuals with chronic neurologic or medical conditions. For example, we would not argue that someone with a terminal medical condition could not be helped… Read More »

Parents with Learning Disabilities – What You Should Know

Parents who have learning disabilities often have specific areas of strengths and challenges that affect their parenting success. With the tips in this article you can determine your strengths and challenges, find out how to use your strengths and technology to cope with your challenges, and check out other great resources to help you and your children succeed! Following is a list of strengths and challenges that many parents with LD may have. Strengths of Parents with LD: problem-solving skills, empathy, creativity, persistence, high energy levels. Challenges of Parents with LD: distractibility, impulsivity, disorganization, communication, inappropriate social skills, difficulty helping… Read More »