From the Huffington Post:

A recent nationwide survey of nearly 2,000 Americans by the National Center for Learning Disabilities has found that many people are uncertain about the causes and treatments of learning disabilities, and believe more education on the subject is needed in their children’s schools.

It has been estimated that at least 8% and as many as 20% of American children have a problem that interferes with their ability to learn efficiently.  This is truly what a learning disability is.  You can break it down however you like and label various learning disabilities:  dyscalculia (difficulty learning math concepts); dysgraphia (fine motor difficulties that affect handwriting and coordination); dyslexia (fluency and comprehension difficulties associated with reading); dyspraxia (motor planning disabilities that affect motor AND cognitive development).  And the list of “dys”‘s goes on.

Learning disabilities are often misunderstood as a deficit in intelligence.  In fact, most people with learning disabilities have normal IQ’s.  The basic problem is a blockage in the normal learning pathways of the brain.  It may be a small obstruction– small enough for kids to go through school with great difficulty and no diagnosis.  There may be numerous areas where new pathways need to be built– through early intervention, occupational and speech therapies, special reading programs, and more– that allow kids to bypass these obstacles in order to learn more effectively.  But it can take years of hard work and different modalities of therapy and teaching strategies in learning support classrooms to finally allow a child with learning disabilities to flourish in school and in life.  But for success to happen, more people need to understand that, for these kids, the most important thing that we ask of them (go to school and learn) is also the most difficult thing for them.  Their self-esteem can really suffer if they don’t have the understanding and support of their parents, teachers, and peers.  Frustration and anxiety can become unwelcome companions.

Remember 8-20%.  Remember that statistic.  You surely know a child or an adult, probably more than one, who currently endures or did endure childhood with a learning disability.  A child who thinks or an adult who thought they weren’t smart or “normal” like everyone else.  You hope these kids don’t have to wait too long to discover they were wrong.

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