3 Myths About Learning Problems That Are Hurting Kids and Families
Part 1 of 3 – By Jill Stowell – http://www.learningdisability.com
When reading, spelling, writing, or attention are difficult for smart students, school can seem like an endless “black hole.” And often parents and the rest of the family start feeling the same way.
The short article below helps parents begin to understand one of the many myths about why some smart kids struggle in school.
Have you ever gone to the doctor with a headache or other pain, only to be told that there is nothing wrong? How about your car? Ever take it in because it is “acting up?” You know that something is not quite right, but the mechanic can’t pinpoint the problem.
But you know that everything isn’t just right. There is something wrong, but the “expert” didn’t find it. Not yet anyway.
The very same thing happens with kids at school. There are clues that there is a problem…difficulty reading, spelling, writing, or paying attention. But often the “experts” say that nothing is wrong.
Here is the first myth – If you have not been diagnosed with a learning disability, you don’t have any learning issues.
It is un-true. It is false. It is a lie. And it is devastating to kids and families.
Here is what it can look like – Johnny is having a difficult time keeping up with his classmates. Johnny is smart, but can’t seem to read, spell, or write as well as the rest of the class. Johnny’s teacher recommends testing. The testing shows that he is behind, but only by a year. That may not be enough to label him “learning disabled” or to get special help at school. You see, for many schools, kids have to be at least 2 years behind their peers in order to qualify for special help.
Here is the problem – Research tells us that about 30% of all capable students will have some kind of difficulty processing information. But only 5% to 9% get diagnosed as “learning disabled.” The only reason some qualify and others don’t is based on how far they are behind.
But the root causes of the struggles are all the same, whether you “qualify” for special help or not.
Imagine a bunch of elementary school kids playing basketball against an NBA team. Someone comes along and gives extra help to all those kids who are shorter than 5 feet. But the poor kids who are 5’1″ or 5’2″ or even 5’10” get no extra help. They don’t “qualify.”
But would we say they don’t need extra help? Of course not. They have the very same issues as the shortest kids. They just don’t “qualify” for any extra help.
Learning issues aren’t as obvious as height issues. The very same auditory processing challenges, the very same memory issues, the very same executive functioning problems keep all of them from doing as well as they should in school. Missing these …