web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



The Secret Social Setback Of Learning Disabilities

Schonfeld-logo1

Share Button

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.

Share Button

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.

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

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Who will he take to the dance?
It’s Prom Time, and Abbas Must Choose a Dance Partner – Israel or Hamas
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Schonfeld-logo1

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

The key to kindness and acceptance is empathy. A lot of people argue that you cannot teach empathy. While I agree that it is difficult to teach empathy, I believe it is possible.

By multiple intelligences, we mean that people have different intelligences in different areas.

Explosiveness is not confined to a type or a gender. It comes in male and female children, and in all ages, shapes and sizes. Some blow up dozens of times a day, others just a few times a week. Some “lose it” only at home, others only in school, and still others in any conceivable location.

The truth is that you never know what’s going on in a house until you live in it.

Q: What does twice exceptional or 2e mean?

Shimon quickly shoveled a forkful of rice into his mouth, while attempting to scribble the right math equations into his workbook. “(2 x 34 -11)2” he said between mouthfuls. “Mommy, I got some rice on my paper, but I have to finish this before it is time to go in the shower,” Shimon choked out.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    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: