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Learning disabilities (LDs) is defined as an impairment or disorder of the primary psychological process involved in understanding how to use language either spoken, written or both (Poletti, Carretta, Bonvicini & Giorgi-Rossi, 2016). LDs affect many children across the globe and psychologist play a significant role in helping parents deal with the prospect of their children staying with the disorder. Most of the children affected with LDs are identified late, and relatives who have never experienced or had contact with LDs may not know that their children have the disorder. Consequently, more often than not, many parents think that their children have a slow start in speech or writing (Poletti et al., 2016). Parents often bear the burden of the disorder. This research paper presents the learning disabilities in children.
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Background information of LD
The stress, inadequate solutions, societal judgment, anger and financial strain are but just some of the challenges these parents go through. The parents also face psychological issues and need to have psychological coping mechanisms, such as acceptance and adaptation (Poletti et al., 2016). Children with LDs need special attention and care; this is instrumental to their development. The primary concern for most psychologists is how these children are handled at home or in school (Boutros, 2013). Primary care for LDs children is a requirement if they have to start developing speech or writing skills.
In many countries, much focus has been given to research, with the minimal support base for parents and the children suffering from LDs. However, many researchers recognize the hard work and pressure the parents to go through to raise such children (Poletti et al., 2016). The efforts put by the parents should be a build up by an organization to support them and offer myriad of a solution. Therefore, to parent children with LDs, parents must understand the disorder and how to handle challenges. Parents must also be of strong will and psychologically prepared to walk the child through recovery (Boutros, 2013). Conversely, parents who stay in denial and anger may affect their LDs children from quick recovery and possible unhealthy feeling from the children.
Causes of Learning Disabilities
Some cases of LDs are as a result of being passed down to the child from one of the parents or previous family members. Often the disorder runs in the family. Parents face the challenge of dealing with the concept that they passed the learning disabilities to their children. Hereditary is a biological process and relatives usually have no control over (Poletti et al., 2016). The genetic cause is not predominantly in the parents but can also be from distant grandparents and can manifest itself in grandchildren.
Drug abuse during pregnancy
Substance abuse during pregnancy can interfere with the development of the brain of the child while in still in the mother’s womb. Such occurrences are and can cause severe learning disabilities for the child (Boutros, 2013). When neurological sensory nerves in the brain are damaged in the infant, the damage can be permanent. LDs may be the worse when the child is still young; due to the drugs or high alcohol consumed by the mother during pregnancy. LD’s caused by substance abuse from parents are always difficult to treat, especially if they severe (Boutros, 2013). The psychological process of the parent is usually difficult because the mother feels responsible. Smoking tobacco and other substances while pregnant or near babies can also cause learning disabilities in early stages of the infant.
Complication during birth
Little oxygen during birth can lead to brain complication, which may prolong even during the child’s growth. Acute oxygen cut to the brain during birth can cause severe LDs in a child. Prolonged labor or premature birth can cause stress for the baby, and it may manifest itself during preschool. Premature birth in cases where the brain has not fully developed can also lead to a delayed proper brain function hence LDs. Low birth weight, where the baby weighs less can also be a determinant for LDs.
Pollution is increasingly becoming a health hazard for the people who live near industries or areas facing severe waste product dumping. Studies show that there is a correlation between LDs and children who live near polluted areas or factories producing hazardous substances, such as lead. Lead has been proved to be dangerous for pregnant mothers and young children. Communities living in these regions have a high risk of acute infections.
Constance breathing of air contaminated with lead leads to severe damages to the immune system and the brain of the child. The effects may be immediate or can manifest itself later in the child, predominantly during preschool (Andrews, 2014). Lead can also cause cancer and respiratory diseases in the LD children making the situation worse. Psychologist faces a difficult situation where serious health concerns arise during the psychological process to assist the child is hindered by a disease, such as cancer.
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Challenges faced by Children with LDs
Neglect and Rejection
Children with LDs are often neglected by parents or those who should care for them; the neglects come in various form. Firstly, lack of proper feeding hinders their growth and the ability to recover. Lack of health care and support mechanism is a critical negligence, which continues to plague children with LDs (Andrews, 2014). Secondly, children with LDs have a challenge in comprehending their environment and most of them can get serious accidents when they left alone. Neglecting these children expose them serious fatalities, such as accidents. Rejection, especially from parents can cause insecurity and withdrawal of the child. Children with LDs as seen in the case of any other healthy child, when rejected, can feel out of place and lack the confidence to interact with other people. Rejection from parents, siblings and the general society can have a permanent psychological damage and worsen LDs.
Because they are vulnerable, they are prone to abuse by those who seek to take advantage. In cases where the children live in the violent and crowded neighborhood; they are mistreated and looked down upon by the community (Andrews, 2014). They can also be forced to perform hard labor or exposed to drugs since they cannot question most adults. Consequently, sexual abuse is the prevalence that they can face. They lack proper speech, and may not tell their parents what they experienced. Their slow response to questions or silence can be mistaken for rudeness or guilt and receive punishment for the mistakes they did not commit.
Children with LDs demand a lot of resources towards individual health care and many parents struggle to get treatment from the hospital. Large medical bills from conventional therapy and medication hinder their progress (Andrews, 2014). Medical insurers shy away from children with LDs, because of the large medical bills associated with their recovery process; and when the insurer them; it is limited to particular medication not psychological or therapy, which they consider expensive in the long run. Moreover, not many medical facilities provide major and unique treatment that LDs patients need and the private health care providers are very expensive.
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Challenges Faced by Parents
Stress and Denial
When parents realize that their child has LDs disorder, panic, pain, and denial are usually the first emotion they go through. The thought of raising a child with such a condition continuously play in their mind, and it becomes more difficult if it is severe (Andrews, 2014). A psychologist is best suited to take the parent through the process and underline the possibility of the child leaving a healthy life despite the challenge (Mangan, 2015). If such emotions are left unhandled, the life of the parents and the child can be psychologically stressful and may hinder the relationship of the parents and the child. Studies show that parents who receive counseling raise end up assisting their child to live a normal life.
Guilt and Remorse
Parents who passed the LDs disorder due to hereditary feel guilty and responsible for the condition their child suffer. Many questions abound as to whether they are good parents or not. The psychological process is mostly painful if the parents themselves underwent through LDs (Mangan, 2015). Mothers who caused their children LDs disorder due to drug use and heavy alcohol consumption are the worst hit. The remorse and guilt they feel can hinder the development of the child. The judgments by peers and general society can be overbearing for any mother. It is significant that they seek psychological assistance to have a stable mind for the task of caring for children with LDs needs strong will from both parents.
The financial burden that comes with bringing up a child with LDs disorder can be a challenge. Health insurance and personal expenses can stretch the finances of the family. The therapy, medication, special treatment and need for the child to be in a particular school, are some of the financial challenges, which millions of parents face (Andrews, 2014). Most parents can attest to the financial burden of taking care of children with severe LDs. With the increase in medical technology, there is the promise of new medicines, medical technologies that can improve the overall mental health of children with LDs. New medical technologies are costly as compared to regular treatment. As a result, parents pay a lot of money to ensure that their children get better.
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Solutions for Children with LDs
Using assistive technology
Technology plays a critical role in the developing the child with LDs disorder to over the most of the challenges. Assistive technology is customized according to the challenges that the child faces, to focus on developing the child according to the specific needs. The technologies can be in the form of images, videos or sound to help the child relate what they are seeing and what they hear. Children with LDs usually have problems in mathematics including written and spoken a language. Therefore, identifying the particular strength and weakness of the child is significant to select the technology that works for the child.
Identifying assistive technology that is easy to can help the child learn faster compared to complex technology? Involving the child in choosing the right assistive technology can motivate the child to have the interest in the technology; hence the learning process can be fun and easy for the child (Chandramuki, Venkatakrishnashastry & Vranda, 2012). It is also important that the teacher handling the child know how to use assistive technology to teach the pupil. Assistive technology is increasingly used, and studies show that if the child is involved in the selection process of the assistive technology, the child stands the higher chance of improving rapidly.
Increased Funding and Psychology Support staff
Individual special schools lack the resources to admit many children are suffering from LDs. Consequently, they rely on teachers to give psychological counsel. Increased funding and support staffs that are well conversant with psychology process of children with LDs can improve the education standards of these children (Chandramuki et al., 2012). Health care provision and insurance support are also significant for the development of the LDs disorder.
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In summary, learning disabilities is a major problem that calls for a great level of care and understanding of the children affected. The distress that comes with learning disabilities can put many families in a psychological dilemma and affect their daily lives. Counseling of both parents can help them understand and deal with the reality. Support from society and the government is crucial to a productive development of children with learning disabilities disorder. Challenges facing the LDs, such as abuse must be addressed, and parents must play a significant role in defending and caring for the children who suffer from learning disabilities.
- Andrews, R. (2014). Placing a child with learning disabilities into out of-home care: Parents and caregivers decision making processes and breaking point: A grounded theory exploration. UK: DCounsPsych, University of the West of England.
- Boutros, N. N. (2013). “Attention Deficit Disorder and Learning Disabilities.” Standard EEG: A Research Roadmap for Neuropsychiatry. Berlin: Springer.
- Chandramuki, D., Venkatakrishnashastry, I., & Vranda, M. N. (2012). Attitudes of Parents towards Children with Specific Learning Disabilities. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 23(1), 63-69.
- Mangan, A. V. (2015). The Influence of a child’s learning disability on a parent’s psychological experience: A Comparison of Parents with and Without Learning Disabilities.
- Poletti, M., Carretta, E., Bonvicini, L., & Giorgi-Rossi, P. (2016). Cognitive Clusters in Specific Learning Disorder. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 46, 23-36.