Despite the compelling and alarming statistics on the impact Learning Disabilities (LD) has on the mental health of our youth, there remains a great need to better understand the relationships between language-based LDs, Autism Spectrum, and depression, substance abuse, and defiance, and low self-esteem. While some in the therapeutic community know that upwards of 60% of adolescents in treatment centers have learning disabilities (Hazelton and NICHD), they need to have a deeper understanding of why that is, and how clinicians and counselors can better respond. Similarly, knowing the presence of learning disabilities among clinically depressed, hospitalized children is 7 times higher than in the general population (Journal of Affective Disorders), compels us to learn more about specific experiences and mechanisms at play.
Conscious linking between information processing styles and therapeutic intervention will significantly increase effectiveness and speed up results.
By better understanding the experience of having neurological variance and differences, therapeutic attunement follows. The time is ripe for moving beyond and beneath surface understanding of how self-esteem is negatively impacted from school failure. Experiences and research is beginning to help us see how differences in information processing impact everything therapeutically.
Accepting the fact that many states use literacy and special education statistics from 3rd and 4th grades to accurately predict future prison beds is no longer acceptable. Combining best practices from both Learning Disabilities and Therapeutic disciplines is a key to solving this dilemma and national challenge. Therapeutic education is poised to play the leadership role.