Posted: January 15, 2021
For many children and teens, learning disabilities are a frustrating part of life. Learning disabilities not only bring a sense of shame and isolation, but they can also lead to mental health issues in some children.
What Are Learning Disabilities?According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a learning disability is any disorder of the fundamental psychological processes involved in understanding or using language. These can ultimately result in difficulties thinking, listening, reading, writing, math, and spelling. Learning disabilities are quite common among young children and teens. According to the NCES, of the 7 million students who receive special education services in the country’s public school system, 33% have at least one learning disability. Common learning disabilities children deal with are ADHD, dyscalculia (trouble with counting and numbers), dyslexia, and others.
Learning Disabilities and Mental Health Issues in Children and TeensWhile a learning disability isn’t a mental health issue in and of itself, both are closely related. When children and teens have a delay in learning, they can feel as if their academic efforts aren’t paying off. They can feel like a failure and, if their classmates aren’t sensitive, they can also feel like the butt of many jokes. This puts children and teens with learning disabilities at a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression. It’s important that parents and teachers of students with learning disabilities look for any signs of anxiety or depression. These may include:
- Sudden fear
- Trouble sleeping
- Anger issues
- Feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness
- Changes in social behaviors (not spending time with friends)
- Changes in appetite
- Thoughts of harming themselves