Are Children and Teens with Learning Disabilities Potential Geniuses, or Victims of Educational Neglect?

Senators, Inventors, Entrepreneurs, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize Winners have all been people with Dyslexia.  So are kids with Learning Differences budding geniuses and leaders, or  are they victims of metastasized educational neglect?

Both are true.

Carol Mosely Brown, African American former Senator and US Ambassador, Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Dr. Carol Grieder Nobel Prize recipient, and Charles Schwab all belong to the first prestigious group.

Photo Credit, Richard Ross

However on the underside, up to 80 percent of incarcerated juveniles suffer from learning disabilities, and belong to the second group. (Center for Substance Abuse at Columbia University)

 A metastasized growth is defined as “the development of secondary malignant growths at a distance from a primary site of illness/cancer.” Having known and lost family and friends to stage four cancer I don’t use this term lightly when referring to the effects of educational neglect.

Children with learning differences such as dyslexia are misunderstood, often poorly educated and are victimized daily from the shame of feeling the very real protective need to hide their struggles. To hide who you are diminishes a healthy self. Daily trauma and wounding leads to a type of helplessness and hopelessness that can later metastasize into depression, anxiety, self-harm and addiction. Often the success stories we often (and thankfully) hear about, are the result of achievement “in spite” of one’s education or because a kid’s been fortunate enough to be born into a family that can afford the right private school or expensive educational therapists.

FACT: Individuals in substance abuse treatment have a higher incidence of learning disabilities than the general population.  One study revealed that 40 percent of people in substance abuse treatment have a learning disability, while another indicated that in residential substance abuse treatment programs, the percentage of people  with LD has been found to be as high as 60 percent.

Educational Traumas like these result in behaviors mentioned above, that get the treatment attention, but we need to acknowledge and treat the underlying wounds.

Hidden Reality: Educational Trauma and Wounding happen on a regular basis to students with Learning and Developmental Differences

About Sanford

Learning Disabilities specialist and Educational Consultant
This entry was posted in Education Issues and Ideas, LD Support Sites, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health. Bookmark the permalink.

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