Parents, teachers, extended family and neighbors recognize the special challenges of those who love and teach learning disabled children and adults. They are usually sensitive, kind and giving as small children. Because they are small in stature, people are more forgiving of what they can and cannot do.
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Teenagers With Learning Disabilities
However, as these cute little kids grow into teens and adults, they have accelerated difficulties. He/she is still very dependent, while becoming harder to control, guide and teach. The skills may be delayed, but the body and hormones are changing daily.
A LD teen may not understand or confuse many aspects of life when in social situations. Sensitive to others anyway, this teen may react negatively to any correction or criticism. What may have started out as casual banter, may be interpreted as hurtful teasing.
Learning disabilities can make the social scene very hard for teens.
Brain disorders are expressed in many strange ways, included a frenzy of hyperactivity. This hyperactivity may irritate the very people the teen is hoping to attract as friends.
Teens With Learning or Physical Disability May Become Target of Teasing
As I have said in many of the previous posts and articles-bullying and teasing is about power. The bully looks for someone who can be manipulated or humiliated in order to make himself/herself feel more important. The majority of learning disable adolescents do not have social skills and the ability to communicate in order to stop the teasing.
Self esteem and confidence is not easy to come by in any teenager, but may be especially lacking in those who have severe physical or learning abilities. The amount of teasing, bullying, name calling and taunting that goes on in Special Ed classes and in the hallways of schools internationally, is overwhelming. This is especially true in junior high and high school when independence is encouraged and tattling is discouraged.
What Should Teachers and Parents Do
Kindness and empathy for others hopefully is an on-going conversation in your home and classroom. Help all children, but especially those that have learning and social difficulties, to determine if it is a big problem or a small problem. If it is a small problem help them come up with techniques or ideas to solve it themselves. If it is a big problem, which involves safety, help them to communicate either with the bully or with an adult. Tattling is to get someone in trouble. Telling is to save someone from harm.
Self Awareness Quiz
1. What do you think when you see a learning disabled teen?
2. Do you feel that you have nothing in common?
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3. Would you step up and intervene or find help if you saw someone being teased?
4. Do you agree with the difference between tattling and telling?
5. Can you decide what is a big problem and what is a small problem in life?