What the term “Learning Disability” really means.
First, let’s set the record straight – the term “Learning Disabilities” is a misnomer. LD, in reality, should stand for “Learning Differently.” LD is an individual’s unique way of acquiring, retaining and applying knowledge.
Healthy Sense of Self
Once a person is labeled as LD, teachers, parents and peer attitudes assume negative influences that are detrimental to the individual. Young people are subject to a myriad of immense pressures as they mature. Being labeled as “learning disabled” compounds these pressures and hinders the growth of self-confidence and social interaction, both of which are vital to a healthy lifestyle and self image.
My role is to restore healthy self-respect and foster a happy and successful today and future for these individuals. In both private sessions and through the ongoing process of personalized mentoring, a healthy sense of self and the world is cemented in the behavior and thinking of the individual mislabeled with LD.
Individualized Education Plan
There are two very separate components to working with an individual with LD. The first component is the development of an individualized education plan (IEP). The hope is that once a student is included in the IEP program at school, the services offered will lessen the academic disparity and resolve the learning issues.
The problems with the IEP approach alone are fourfold:
- Rounds of psychological and academic testing can be traumatizing if not administered by a caring professional who explains the procedures and counters the negative affects
- Placement into segregated classes can be demoralizing and potentially puts a stigma on the student already separated from his or her peer group
- Academic and parental understanding that the individual merely learns differently is lost
- The result is an even greater sense of worthlessness and negativity in the student and the initial problem increases
The desperately needed counterbalance to IEP is the emotional reinforcement of the individual’s psyche and self-perception.
Relationship-Based Counseling and Mentoring
I utilize a combination of relationship-based counseling and mentoring so the individual develops strategies and tools geared to their unique strengths, talents, personality and experiences. These learned strategies are the basis for balance, self-respect, happiness and peace throughout life. I work with the parents to acquire a complete understanding of what LD is and share ways to eliminate negative pressures on your child.
Remember, LD is a misnomer; in reality LD simply means a person learns differently from the norm. Once this is understood, finding the right way to convey knowledge will follow and learning will become a pleasure.
Relationship-Based Counseling is centered on eliminating the “I feel stupid” burden those labeled with LD carry. Concentration is placed on the acquisition of skills to foster and develop healthy positive relationships. Learning to focus on the positive outcomes of choices and actions is the main skill needed to make wise lifelong decisions.
Relationship-Based Mentoring is the on-going process of an individual’s acquisition and adoption of specific social skills, geared to individual needs, which will enable them to thrive now and in the future. The mentoring aspect greatly increases the sense of ‘rightness’ in the individual for both their instinctive and thought-out action. To the person in the mentoring program, life and the process of decision making begins to make sense in a cohesive and controllable fashion.
In other words, a healthy acceptance of self is the basis for making positive pro-active choices, from developing friendships to areas of academic interest to career decisions.
If you would like information on how we can collaborate to create a healthy sense of self for your son or daughter, please contact my office to schedule a preliminary appointment.