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Struggling Teens

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Learn more how Total Transformation, an at-home program for parents, can help your troubled and struggling teen and heal your family



What are the possible causes of ADD/ADHD behavior?


Will being ADOPTED make adolescence  harder for my child?


How can I deal with the ANGER

 in our family?


Is my teen's BEHAVIOR just normal teenage rebellion?


What do parents and teachers need to know about BULLYING?




How can I help my OVERWEIGHT



Help!  My teen is a RUNAWAY


My teen is cutting.  What do I need to know about  SELF-INJURY?


What is 'normal' teen SEXUAL BEHAVIOR and what is cause for concern?


How can I help my teen adjust to our STEPFAMILY?


What are the signs of TEEN DRINKING and SUBSTANCE ABUSE?



Step-by-step program to help improve your child's focus and behavior at school and at home






Learning Disabilities


More Information on Learning Disabilities  -  Helping Resources

ADD & ADHD  -  Special Education  -  If Your Teen Begins to Fail in School



What Are Learning Disabilities?


The federal government defines learning disabilities in Public Law 94-142, as amended by Public Law 101-76 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act-IDEA):

Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.  The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.  The term does not include children who have problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, or mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Although the definition in federal law governs the identification of and services to children with learning disabilities (LD), there are variations between states and among school systems.  Visit Directory of Family Help to find state-specific information.





What Are Some Viewpoints about Identifying Learning Disabilities?


It is not always easy to identify one group of people who are clearly LD and another group who are not.  All of us have learning differences and difficulties.  Some people who are exceptionally skilled with language and even become English teachers have difficulty balancing their checkbooks.  Others who are nuclear physicists never do learn to spell correctly.  Many people never fail a subject in school but are at a complete loss when figuring out a diagram for making a simple house repair.  Similarly, children may experience real success in some school subjects, yet find other school tasks very difficult, frustrating, or time consuming to complete.


Individuals with learning differences may appear to possess the characteristics of a person with learning disabilities.  However, it is only when they are so pervasive or severe that they markedly interfere with learning or day-to-day living that a learning disability is suspected.


How Are Individuals with Learning Disabilities Served?


Free public education is mandated for children with learning disabilities from birth through 21 years by IDEA.  Depending upon the severity level and individual needs of each student, services may be in a private or public school through a continuum of program models.  Thus, students with more severe LD are often served in self-contained classrooms or residential settings, while students with mild to moderate LD are usually mainstreamed in regular classrooms with a range of additional services as needed.





What are some signs that a person may have a learning disability?


Warning signs of learning disabilities in secondary school students occur as a pattern of behaviors to a significant degree over time.  



They include the following:


Language/Mathematics/Social Studies


  • Avoidance of reading and writing

  • Poor handwriting

  • Tendency to misread information

  • Difficulty summarizing

  • Poor reading comprehension

  • Difficulty understanding subject area textbooks

  • Trouble with open-ended questions

  • Continued poor spelling

  • Poor grasp of abstract concepts

  • Poor skills in writing essays

  • Difficulty in learning foreign language

  • Poor ability to apply math skills





  • Difficulty staying organized

  • Trouble with test formats,  such as multiple choice

  • Slow work pace in class and in testing situations

  • Poor note-taking skills

  • Poor ability to proofread or double-check work



Social Behavior


  • Difficulty accepting criticism

  • Difficulty seeking or giving feedback

  • Problems negotiating or advocating for oneself

  • Difficulty resisting peer pressure

  • Difficulty understanding another person's perspective




Information from The Warning Signs of Learning Disabilities by Sue Bergert,

ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education.



Helping Resources


Ability Hub ~ Assistive Technology for people with a disability who find operating a computer difficult, maybe even impossible.


All Kinds of Minds ~ An institute for the understanding of differences in learning.


Council for Jews with Special Needs ~ Helps enrich the lives of children and adults who have disabilities by providing the necessary supports and resources for their participation in the Jewish community.


Council for Learning Disabilities ~ An organization of professionals from diverse disciplines committed to the lifespan service of individuals with learning disabilities.


International Dyslexia Association ~ Information and referral services, research, advocacy, and professional development on dyslexia as well as related language-based learning differences.


Learning Disabilities Association of America ~ Legal issues, advocacy, education, research, resources, fact sheets, state chapters, support groups.


Learning Disabilities Association of Canada ~ Offers understanding and support to people with learning disabilities, their parents, teachers and other professionals.


LD Resources ~ A collection of resources on various aspects of learning disabilities with comments from community members.


National Center for Learning Disabilities ~ Information, resources, referral services, innovative educational programs, seminars, and workshops.


More Information on Learning Disabilities


The Dyscalculia Syndrome ~ Dyscalculia is a term meaning "specific learning disability in mathematics."  People who suffer with a poor memory for all things mathematical have many other symptoms and characteristics.  Taken as a whole, these coexisting conditions comprise what this author terms "the dyscalculia syndrome."


Dyslexia, behavior problems: a fatty acid link ~ In addition to causing reading difficulties, left-right confusion, mirror reversals of letters and words, and sequencing and memory problems, dyslexia is often linked to movement impairments and to behavioral problems resembling ADHD.


Environmental Causes of Learning Disabilities and Child Neurological Disorders ~ Environmental and chemical exposure factors can cause damage to the delicate brain growth processes in the unborn child during pregnancy, thereby demonstrating potential to cause learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and other behavior problems.


How Principals View Learning Problems ~ If you are a parent and your child is having problems at school, the school staff probably believes that the problems are your fault - or your child's fault.  This is the power of school culture. 


LD Online: Learning Disabilities Information and Resources ~ Information and advice about learning disabilities and ADHD.


Math Learning Disability As Common As Dyslexia ~ Listen to this podcast.


Mis-Diagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children: Gifted and LD, ADHD, OCD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder ~ Common misdiagnoses stem from an ignorance among professionals about specific social and emotional characteristics of gifted children which are then mistakenly assumed by these professionals to be signs of pathology.


Poisoning the Well:  Neurotoxic Metals, Water Treatment, and Human Behavior ~ Although the dangers of lead poisoning have been known for years, substantial numbers of children continue to suffer from blood lead above danger level of 10g/dL.  The problem is especially serious because lead poisoning is associated with higher rates of learning disabilities, hyperactivity, substance abuse and crime.



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