LDA does not endorse or assume responsibility for any service, treatment, method, or product provided by this newsletter. Such listings are presented solely for the reader’s information.
Thank you to all who volunteered and attended the International LDA Conference in Baltimore. And thank you to all who stopped by the LDA-MD table to introduce yourself. We are so glad you did.
At LDAMC we have recently finalized our mission statement. It is as follows:
The Learning Disabilities Association of Montgomery County strives to support the education and general welfare of all individuals with learning disabilities, their families, and professionals living in the Montgomery County community.
We communicate with our community through social media, an online monthly newsletter, and an online calendar of community events.
We support our community by sponsoring social groups for individuals with LD and parents of children with LD, mentoring for teachers of students with LD, providing one-on-one support via our helpline, and sharing up-to-date professional resource lists of local service providers.
We educate our community by producing and coordinating programs and events such as workshops, an annual conference, and member social events.
Your membership supports our efforts to provide services at little to no cost to our entire community. Other membership benefits include reduced costs at events, the option to advertise on our website and our newsletter, and the option to submit articles for publication in our newsletter.
We hope you enjoy our March issue on Related Services. Please note our upcoming board meeting on March 18 at which all members are welcome. As always, if you have not already liked our Facebook page, do so now! We will be posting this newsletter as well as announcements of various upcoming events on a regular basis.
LDAMC is an entirely volunteer-run organization. We are sad to report that our long-term volunteer who created our calendar every month needs to step away from her volunteer duties. If you would like to be more involved in LDAMC, this is a perfect opportunity. Please email email@example.com if you are interested.
The following is a true story. Sam (not his real name) was in my office the other night with his mother. Sam is a very bright 11 and 1/2 year old with multiple learning challenges including reading, writing, and math. We talked about how Sam’s difficulty with understanding what people are saying and with putting his own thoughts and feelings into words impacts every area of his life. His mother and sister talk very fast and it is hard for him to keep up. Testing has documented that he processes information slowly. We talked about how it is difficult for him to keep up with his friends’ conversation sometimes as well.
There are several reasons why growing up with a learning disability might lead to secondary emotional difficulties:
Lowered self-esteem. Research has demonstrated that there are clear links between a person’s self concept and school performance. Think of Sam who gets tired, loses stuff, and only gets the answer 25% of the time when he is called on in class. He takes longer on tests and doesn’t get to do fun stuff like the other kids. He experiences blows to his self -concept on a daily basis.
Lowered sense of self-efficacy in learning. Self-efficacy refers to a sense that “I can do it.” Unless children develop these beliefs that they are able to learn, they have little incentive to keep trying when it gets hard. There is evidence (Torgesen, 1990) that consistent failure on important school tasks often leads to a lowered sense of self-efficacy for learning, which then predicts a lack of persistence on new learning tasks.” So repeated early failures in learning can lead to a sense of “I can’t do it”, failure to try, and academic underachievement. Adult may assume the child is just lazy.
Children who don’t learn to read by third grade often fall further and further behind their peers. However, the “wait and see” and “he’ll grow out of it” approach still exists among many people.
Self-blame. Remember the child does not know any other way of being in the world. So these children frequently develop the idea that “I’m stupid and I’m no good at school work.” Such self-attributions are flexible until about age 12; at that point they become fairly fixed. The feeling of shame is very common among children with learning disabilities. I watch them try to hide their written work as they write across the table from me. They find ways to compensate, like trying to memorize every word in the English language, but feel like they are “imposters.”
In addition, the co-occurrence of LD and AD/HD is very high; some authorities report that the relationship is 40-60% in both directions. The complication of having both dyslexia and AD/HD involves in part the fact that reading and writing require more intense focus and stamina than for typically developing children. Focus and stamina for learning are exactly what are problematic for children with AD/HD. In addition impulsivity is a common problem for these children. Added together with having difficulty putting thoughts and feelings into words, frustration mounts into acting out behaviors.
How can we help?
Early identification is extremely important. Remediation needs to be intensive. In addition a thorough assessment is important to help parents understand the complete picture of their child’s abilities.
Parents may have never understood their own struggles in school. Learning disabilities and AD/HD are often due to genetic factors. Their child’s struggles can bring back painful memories that they may need to deal with. They may be in a great position to help their child with empathy and compassion.
The child needs to develop an understanding of his or her own strengths and weaknesses. This needs to be provided in terms he or she can understand.
Building on strengths is the watchword in this field. It is essential while providing support and remediation for weaknesses. Sometimes we “overtherapize” a child to the point that they come to believe there must be something wrong with them. Children need to have every opportunity possible to show their strengths, in school, and at home.
Emotional issues related to the academic issues and learning disabilities needs to be addressed by parents and child in an ongoing way. It is often necessary to re-visit these issues over time as the child develops and encounters different types of difficulties. Children may understand their disabilities in different ways over the course of their development as their brains mature. It is extremely important that children understand their learning disabilities in order to be able to advocate for themselves and ask for what they need.
Providing assistive technology can be essential. A wide variety of technology and apps are available.
Any psychiatric disorders also need to be specifically addressed. If underlying AD/HD is not addressed, the child will have more difficulty taking advantage of remediation efforts. Depression and anxiety also need to be specifically addressed through psychotherapy and sometimes medication when necessary.
Sharing any new information obtained from outside sources with school personnel is important as well. In that way parents and teachers can better work together on behalf of the child.
In conclusion many children with learning disabilities develop emotional struggles that are secondary to their problems with learning. Addressing the remediation for the learning problems is not likely to have as much impact as addressing any secondary emotional and/or attentional issues as well. There are many things parents can do to help provide children with necessary supports as they develop. Dealing with their own feelings about their child and changing the way they view their child may be as important as remediation efforts. Finally helping the child understand that the learning struggles are not their fault and letting them know that you will provide understanding and support can go a long way to improving the outcome for children with learning disabilities.
Treasurer and Webmaster
You have a new or old computer; it doesn’t really matter. Best practice says you do need to do a little bit of maintenance to keep it safe and operating smoothly.
Microsoft has a built-in, free clean-up program which does not run automatically (Windows 7, 8,10). At a minimum you should activate it monthly. This program will clean out unused program files (temporary), your trash can and “extra” files which are loaded into the PC to make your connections become faster (caches).
From with the RUN prompt or the Cortana search bar – type in the word “cleanmgr” and follow the prompts for your primary drive – normally C drive. It is safe to put checkmarks beside each box that displays and then hit delete to clean up your PC.
There are many programs you can buy to do the same (granted, a bit more) but these programs just add unnecessary complications to your system. If you want to take your PC clean-up to an even higher and better level, then download the FREE version of C-Cleaner at www.piriform.com. Just follow the prompts, and it will clean out the above files and also install a maintenance program to do the same. Be sure to update the program in future months when requested since this company does a great job of keeping in sync when Microsoft does their weekly updates.
There are many more maintenance processes involved to keep your machine in 100% great operating condition, but the above will definitely get you working much quicker and safer.
LDAMC Board & Executive Committee Positions
Co-Presidents – Candace Sahm, Sarah Summerlin
Vice President – vacant
Treasurer – Richard Bell-Irving
Recording Secretary – Phyllis Forman
Corresponding Secretary – Ruth Brodsky
Immediate Past President – Bonnie Massimino
Newsletter Coordinator – Sarah Summerlin
Hangout Hive Facilitator – Susan Healy
Parent Connection Facilitator - open
Family Advocacy Representative – Judy Lantz
Helpline Volunteer Coordinator – open
Professional Resource List Coordinator – open
Membership Committee Co-Chairs –Abby Kuntz-Smith
Programs Committee Chair – Bonnie Massimino
Media/Website Committee Chair – open
Fundraising/Finance Committee Chair – open
SEAC representative – open
MCPL advisory committee representative – Richard Bell-Irving
LDA of Montgomery County, MD, Inc.
LDAMC has served the community since 1965. We are a 501-c-3 non-profit registered in Maryland. LDAMC’s mission is to provide awareness, advocacy, and education about Learning Disabilities. We are a volunteer organization, affiliated with LDA-MD and LDA of America. Elected officers and a Board of Directors, under the guidance of the national organization, determine local policies and procedures.