Parents, teachers, relatives, and neighbors recognize the special challenges of those who love and teach children and adults with learning disabilities. They are usually sensitive, kind and generous like little children. Because they are small in stature, people are more forgiving of what they can and cannot do.

Teenagers with learning disabilities

However, as these cute little kids grow into teenagers and adults, they have accelerated difficulties. It is still very dependent, while it becomes more difficult to control, guide and teach. Abilities may lag, but the body and hormones change daily. A teen with LD may not understand or be confused about many aspects of life when she is in social situations. Sensitive to others in any way, this teen may react negatively to any correction or criticism. What may have started as a casual joke can be interpreted as hurtful teasing.

Learning disabilities can make the social scene very difficult for teenagers.

Brain disorders express themselves in many strange ways, including a frenzy of hyperactivity. This hyperactivity can irritate the very people the teen hopes to attract as friends.

Teens with physical or learning disabilities can become teased

As I have said in many of the previous posts and articles, bullying and teasing is about power. The bully looks for someone whom he can manipulate or humiliate in order to feel more important. Most teens with learning disabilities don’t have the social skills and communication skills to stop teasing. Self-esteem and confidence are not easy to find in any adolescent, but can be lacking especially in those who have severe physical or learning abilities. The amount of teasing, bullying, name-calling, and teasing that occurs in special education classes and school hallways internationally is overwhelming. This is especially true in middle and high school when independence is encouraged and gossiping is discouraged.

What should teachers and parents do?

Kindness and empathy for others is hopefully an ongoing conversation in your home and classroom. Help all children, but especially those with learning and social difficulties, determine if it’s a big problem or a small problem. If it’s a small problem, help them brainstorm techniques or ideas to solve it on their own. If it’s a big problem, involving safety, help them contact the bully or an adult. Tattling is getting someone into trouble. Saying is saving someone from harm.

self-awareness questionnaire

1. What do you think of when you see a teenager with a learning disability?

2. Do you feel like you have nothing in common?

3. Would you step up and intervene or seek help if you see someone being made fun of?

4. Do you agree with the difference between gossiping and telling?

5. Can you decide what is a big problem and what is a small problem in life?

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