Childhood is regarded as the most beautiful phase of one’s life. It is the stage of learning, growing, and developing into your mature self, preparing for the future. Despite the involvement of these aspects, childhood is always filled with the sweetest nostalgia. But, childhood becomes a little difficult to deal with when the child has to deal with any kind of learning disorders and disabilities.
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Learning Disorders and Disabilities in Children
Learning disorders in children is a matter of deep concern for many parents. Learning disabilities in children, or learning disorders, are not very common, but also not very rare. But what exactly are learning disabilities and disorders? What do they mean?
In general, the terms- learning disabilities and learning disorders- refer to problems that form a hurdle in the learning process. Learning disabilities result from a disorder in the basic psychological process that helps in understanding and using language, further resulting in difficulties to speak, read, listen, or spell. These problems don’t have anything to do with the affected person’s intelligence or motivation to learn. It’s just that their brains are designed differently from ours. That doesn’t mean that they are lazy, or even dumb.
Common examples of learning disorders and disabilities in children are - dyslexia, minimal brain dysfunction, developmental disorders in children like aphasia, behavioral disorders in children, etc.
Causes of Learning Disability and Learning Disorders in Children
The following are some of the causes of a learning disability-
● Hereditary: Learning disabilities in children might stem from a similar problem in the immediate genetic family. The problems experienced by any of the parents might take an intensified form in the child.
● Birthing Complications: Facing complications during pregnancy or the birth of a child might result in learning disorders in children. A premature baby also has the chance of having to suffer from learning disabilities.
● Unhealthy Pregnancy: The events at pregnancy also have an impact on the unborn child. If the pregnant mother indulges in vices such as drinking and suffers from any illness, there would be consequences like learning disabilities in children.
● Early Childhood Problems: Injury or illness in early childhood can affect brain development and thus, result in learning disorders in children. Negligence of mental stimulation in early childhood can also be harmful to the child.
Now that we are aware of the causes of learning disabilities, let us have a look at some of the common learning disability symptoms.
● Delay in developing speaking skills
● Unable to process or understand information
● Difficulty in focusing attention for a long interval
● Problems in reading or spelling out words
● Trouble following routines and directions
● Reduced pace of emotional and behavioral development
If you are worried that your child might be suffering from learning disabilities and disorders, look out for these learning disabilities signs and symptoms before opting for a learning disability test.
Social Stigma Associated with these Children
You might be wondering what exactly is social stigma?
The term social stigma refers to discrimination meted out to a person that is a little different from the other members of the society. Social stigma is most common when a person’s physical, mental or social characteristics influence other people’s views about their behavior towards them. For instance, children with learning disabilities and learning disorders are different and hence, often exposed to social stigma.
Children with learning abilities and disorders are often ridiculed by society. Many people often go on to term these disabilities as a pretense to escape school or just laziness to learn. Some believe that staying in the company of children suffering from learning disabilities and disorders might pass on the difficulties to their children as well. Hence, they don’t let their children mingle with them. All these social stigmas leave a deep impact on the already troubled children.
Effect of Social Stigma on the Children
The innocence in children makes them very aware and touched by the social stigma surrounding them. It can affect the children suffering from learning disabilities and disorders in the following ways-
● Feelings of Loneliness: Children might develop a feeling of loneliness as they feel unwanted by society. It also makes it difficult for them to make friends because they find it difficult to approach people, worrying about how their disabilities and disorders might be belittled by that person.
● Social Isolation: The social stigma gives out an idea that people despise children suffering from learning disabilities and disorders. The children thus, do not feel like approaching people and seeing them being repulsed by them. Hence, these children often socially isolate themselves, keeping themselves away from any stranger’s eyes.
● Shame and Anxiety: These children become anxious to voice their doubts in class, for the shame of coming off as dumb. The shame also leads to children refraining from going back to school.
● Low Self-Esteem: On being ridiculed by society and even their peers, the self-confidence in these children takes a dip. They try to escape reading out class lessons or being in focus because they don’t have the self-esteem left in them as the social stigma has stuck close to their mind.
Also read: Breaking Down The Single Parent Stigma
How can parents help?
Children with learning disorders and disabilities require special care to get away from the impacts of social stigma. It might be hard for the parents to cope with it all, but trust me; it’s harder for the children.
The best that you can do for your child is- make them feel loved. Make them feel wanted. Let them know that you are there for them no matter what. Let them know that what society thinks of doesn’t matter as long as they are happy and content. After all, they are the reason for your happiness and society’s opinion of them doesn’t come in the way of you and your child.