The Label “Learning Disability” can be Misleading

The Label “Learning Disability” can be Misleading

 

This is a label placed on children who have average or above intelligence but struggle with academic learning. Some of these children are excellent learners and performers in the real world outside the classroom, so how can we say they have a learning disability. Maybe it would be better to just say their learning style does not coincide with how academics are taught in most school systems, rather than placing a lifelong negative misleading label on them.

If a child accepts the term learning disability and incorporates it into their self-concept, it can influence their choices, goals, aspirations, expectations, judgment, and how they handle challenges and setbacks. Also, teachers and parents may change their expectations of the child. Dr. Helms believes that the term “disability” should only be used when a child has a significant mental, vision, hearing or physical disability.

Why do some very intelligent children struggle with academic learning? There can be many reasons, Dr. Helms believes that there are two primary causes.

The first primary cause is that many students are right brain dominant.

We all have a right and left brain connected by a thin strip called the corpus callosum. All of us use both brain hemispheres for most tasks, but most of us have a dominant right or left brain. This determines a lot about our personality traits, strengths, weaknesses and how we learn best. Right brain dominant individuals tend to have a wide focus and are sensitive to all their surroundings, rather than a narrow focus that is required for many tasks, especially academic learning. Right brain dominant students tend to be more creative, artistic, out of the box thinkers, hands-on learners and socially adept. Unfortunately, our educational system caters to left brain dominant students that have a narrower focus, can memorize a lot of facts and are more organized and detailed. There is nothing bad about being right brain dominant if the left-brain thinking systems are not too weak. Many of the most successful and famous people in the world are right brain dominant. The good news is that left-brain thinking systems can be strengthened with proper strategies. Just because a right brain dominant child does not fit into the mold of our public educational system, should they be labeled with a so-called lifelong disability?

The second primary cause as to why some very intelligent children struggle with academic learning is that many children have weaknesses in their “Foundational Processing System”.

These are the information processing systems that academic learning relies upon. If any of these processing systems are weak it will be virtually impossible for the child to perform up to or near their true academic potential. The terrific news is that these processing systems can be strengthened with the proper methodology and strategies. This is what our BRAIN LAUNCH programs were designed to do.

If your child is struggling in school and not working near their true potential contact a BRAIN LAUNCH Occupational Therapist Provider in your area to schedule a consultation. Soon, our website will have a “Provider by zip-code Finder”, to assist you with this process. For now, please send a note using the form on our “Contact Us” page so we can assist you.

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