Do Better! Learning Disabilities and Therapeutic Interventions

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.

About Sanford

Learning Disabilities specialist and Educational Consultant
This entry was posted in Discussion Topics, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health, Social Issues and Ideas. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Do Better! Learning Disabilities and Therapeutic Interventions

  1. Fuschia says:

    Dear Sirs
    It is critically important that the counseling /therapeutic community continues to intervene in a compassionate and creative way .For people with LD it is a crap shoot when they see a counselor.
    Too few people in the therapeutic community have the knowledge
    they need to be both effective and compassionate.
    The insensitivity of some compounds the alienation of people already burdened and in some cases publicly humiiated for
    their “giftedness’. I wonder if it isn’t some kind of perverse envy that those in the role of caregiving experience ..Perhaps professional burn out, in such cases I think it would be honorable to “recuse ” oneself from the role rather than inflict damage .
    I have attended conferences for family/freinds of the differently abled and the whole scene is very demoralizing.
    Parents have to fight from day one to get help for their kids while dealing with municipal budget concerns and draconian measures to “limit’ services seems more punitive that fair. Seems the “climate” of care and compassion is rather more chilly than it was.

  2. Sanford says:


    I agree.

    “It is critically important that the counseling /therapeutic community continues to intervene in a compassionate and creative way .For people with LD it is a crap shoot when they see a counselor.”

    Well said Fuschia. It seems to me that a person with learning disabilities needs to interview any potential counselor/mental health ally to see what their understanding of the LD terrain is. Or, as the case may be, the parents need to keep that in mind when looking for such a professional.

    Last week I presented to a bunch of clinicians and line staff at a therapeutic wilderness program for teenagers and the head of the program (who already knows a fair amount about LD) said among other things, that learning more about LD and emotional issues has made him more compassionate to the kids he sees who do have learning disabilities.

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