web analytics
August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



The Secret Social Setback Of Learning Disabilities

Schonfeld-logo1

Dena was the star of her nursery class. All the kids loved her and the teachers gushed to her mother, “Dena is so kind. She shares with everyone and is so inclusive. When we have circle time, she sits attentively and she is always ready with a detailed and fun answer.”

Things got a bit more difficult when Dena entered kindergarten. For the first time, there was formal learning going on in the classroom. The teachers would focus on a different letter of the alphabet during each day’s circle time and Dena would fidget and talk out of turn. She still played nicely with the other children, but was a bit combative with her teachers.

When Dena’s mother asked her about school, she would say, “I don’t like it. The teachers think I am stupid.” Dena’s mother spent a lot of time talking to the teachers, but they said Dena was just fine.

In first grade, things got really hard. Dena could not read the chapter books that were being assigned and was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia. Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition, and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. Dyslexia is a learning disability that is neurological in origin and often runs in the family. Children with dyslexia experience trouble reading when taught through traditional instruction.

But, even with this diagnosis and the tools to help her overcome this academic setback, Dena had decided that she was stupid. Because, according to Dena, she wasn’t as smart as the other kids, “no one liked her.” And, this vicious cycle began to spin out of control.

There are many remediation techniques to help children with dyslexia learn to read. However, research shows that children like Dena are more likely to suffer from low self esteem than their peers.  This is a problem that parents and educators often overlook. In order to integrate these children into the classroom, we cannot simply focus on helping them cope academically. We need to help build their self-esteem through social interventions as well. The Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities has compiled a list of ways that parents can help children with LD gain self-esteem:

 

  • Special time. Set aside designated time with your child to explore her interests. This need not be daily, but if possible, should happen at the same time every week. This will give her the message that you value her and enjoy your time together. In addition, you will be participating in an activity she enjoys.
  • Develop problem-solving skills. Not everyone automatically knows what to do when they encounter a problem.  If your child is having trouble with a friend or cannot figure out a math question, talk to her about the ways she can approach the problem. Ask her to suggest multiple paths to get to a plausible conclusion. This will give her confidence when she encounters a similar problem in the future.
  • Practice empathy. Raising children with different needs can sometimes be frustrating. You might find yourself telling your daughter, “Why don’t you listen to me?” Or, “Just think about it! You’ll understand.” Chances are that most of the time, your daughter is trying her best to listen and understand. Instead, try to place yourself in her shoes and say, “I know you are trying to listen and that sometimes that is difficult. Let’s try that again.” When you practice empathy, she will be more likely to think kindly of herself.
  • Highlight strengths. While learning disabilities often come with multiple disadvantages, there are some benefits as well. Children with dyslexia are often more creative and artistic than their peers. Consider signing your daughter up for art or drama classes. Doing something that she is good at can boost her self-esteem tremendously and provide her with an opportunity to make likeminded friends.
  • Provide opportunities for child to help. When people help others, they automatically feel competent and confident. Provide your daughter with plenty of opportunities to help others. Volunteering outside of the home is just one avenue, but even helping siblings at home can be great encouragement. She can teach a younger sibling to tie his shoe or help an older sibling braid her hair. Alternatively, you can teach her to bake her favorite cake and then she can bake it for Shabbos. Regardless of the task, if your daughter feels that she is making a contribution to society or the family, she will gain self-confidence.

LD and ODD, Depression, and Anxiety

Many learning disabilities are simply academic disorders, but because of the way academics are intertwined with social situations, children with LD will sometimes experience problems in the social arena as well.  Some common problems are low self-esteem (as discussed above), Oppositional Defiant Disorder, depression, and anxiety.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Children with this disorder, also termed “explosive children” are rigidly defiant, reacting to simple stresses with anger and extreme frustration.

Depression: Depression in children can manifest in changes in sleeping or eating patterns, irritability, a lack of self-worth, and social withdrawal.

Anxiety: Anxiety disorders are characterized by extreme and persistent fears. There are multiple types of anxiety disorders, including social phobia, school phobia, and separation anxiety.

While the above issues can occur separate from any learning disabilities, research shows that many of these cases in children are linked to LD. Therefore, it is important to recognize that your out of control, explosive child is perhaps that way because he is struggling academically.

The first step is to address the learning disability. When you have a diagnosis and a detailed plan to help your child succeed academically, you can work on the other troubling areas that, like Dena’s low self-esteem, are linked to these academic struggles.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Secret Social Setback Of Learning Disabilities”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal in Gaza
Mashaal Vows Cease-Fire a Step to New ‘Resistance’ War against Israel
Latest Sections Stories
Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot together in concert.

Almost immediately the audience began singing and clapping and continued almost without stop throughout the rest of the concert.

Mordechai-082214-Armoire

As of late, vintage has definitely been in vogue in the Orthodox community.

Einhorn-082214-Water

Stroll through formal gardens, ride mountain bikes, or go rock climbing.

As they fall upon us we go
To the WALL.

One minute you’re shaving shwarma off a pit, then the shwarma guy tells you he read a (fake) WhatsApp that the boys are dead.

I probe a little deeper and Shula takes me into the world of phantom pains and prosthetic limbs.

This went on until she had immersed eighty times, and then Hashem at last took pity upon her.

Because Menachem lives in Israel, he can feel the ruach in the air.

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

Leon experienced the War of Independence from a soldier’s perspective, while remaining true to his Jewish ideals and beliefs.

Chabad of Arizona centers recently hosted an evening of remembrance to mark the 20th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Some educators today believe that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder falls into an executive function category.

Because the children suffering from this disorder generally have wonderful verbal skills, the disability can go unrecognized for many years.

People definitely had stress one hundred and fifty years ago, but it was a different kind of stress.

Time outs increases compliance and positive behavior far more than other forms of discipline

The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defines a mentch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”

In reality, Baruch is one of many children who can be described as twice-exceptional. He is both gifted and struggling with a learning disability.

Explosive children or those with ODD are easily frustrated, demanding and inflexible.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/the-secret-social-setback-of-learning-disabilities/2013/09/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: