Tag Archives: Learning disabilities

Struggles your learning style? Not alone!

Today’s Daily Prompt asked what is your learning style. Mine is mega struggle to write right. Drives grammarians apples and shames me.

Strongest drive? To edit another'sgrammar. Not #emotionalintelligence.

Obsessed grammarians and power players seek perfection when good enough is good enough.

Power seekers who think they might be losing, loosing, lossing, lost, loose an argument often resort to correcting the other person’s grammar. Pressed to write without having to use lose or loose, I would write:

Power seekers who thing they might be going down to defeat in an agrument often resort to correcting hte other person’s spelling or grammar.

And yes, I misspelled three words in that one sentence. Spelling check caught two. Did you catch the third?  I did not at first and that is part of the problem. I don’t see mistakes even if I know the right way to spell a work.

Being corrected when you cannot do better creates shame. I know for I have a learning disability called dysgraphia. As I discussed in this Emotional Fitness Training blog post Alone with shame.  all the criticism hurled at me about how I wrote created mega shameful feelings for me as I was growing up.  

Although brighter than the average bear, I struggle as I write to spell correctly, punctuate correctly, use proper tenses, pronouns, and all the other stuff that the grammarians expect for a writer.  I  also cannot do math.  That is a learning disability called dyscalculia. But as I did not aspire to be a math whiz that has not been so big a burden.  

I did not discover I had a learning disability until long after the psychologists figured out some of us have brain glitches. My to bright, happy sons both became depressed in the early years of their education.  The school wasn’t worried but we were and paid to have an educational psychologist test them.  Not only did he describe their learning styles perfectly, he described mine also. Live and hopefully learn. Lifted some shame from my shoulders.  Of course, I wasn’t happy this particular combination of genes had been passed down the line, but I was and remain grateful more is known now about how people learn and how to help those who struggle at school to struggle less. 

I was also lucky to have more teachers who valued my content  more than the  many errors. And yes, there was the one who kept me in during recess to re-write spelling lists.  Made no difference in my spelling, but made her feel she was doing her job. sigh.


If you have a child struggling in school, particularly as third grade is approaching, think about the possibility of a learning disability. Think very hard about this particularly if you child is ahead of many other children in other developmental tasks, was happy until started in school or pressured to learn to read or write.

Start to educate yourself about how children learn and how your child learns. Do not let fear of labeling, shrinks, or psychologists hold you back. Vision and hearing are routinely tested, learning brain clitches are not but should be.  You would not expect a blind or deaf child to learn without help, no one would. A child who stuggles to learn should be helped also.  

Psychologists have identified what they call multiple “intelligences.”   Children and adults learn best when what they are learning matches their particular learning style, their talents, and what adults applaud.

Moreover, many studies are finding what is called emotional intelligence outweighs intellectual intelligence when it comes to living the good life. Teaching a child good manners, to be kind, to share and care promotes emotional intelligence and is as much a learned ability as an inherited one.  Manners matter.

MEGA WARNING: Much pressure is being placed on parents and children to teach reading and math readiness. Not a problem for the brightest of kids who have no learning challenges. Not so good for those who struggle to learn one thing or another.  Moreover, most of us do well in some areas, not so well in others. 


The media and the schools can easily make us feel the only thing that matters is doing well academically.  And yes, that is important in today’s world.  But it is not the end all or be all of life. Far from it.  Visit my Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises . Learn them for you, and teach them to your children. Easily practiced each one was specifically designed to improve  emotional intelligence.  

Remember that liking, commenting, or sharing is an act of social media kindness.  It strengthens you and helps me and others.

As always, thank you for your support, it means a great deal to me.


DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIAIf you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.



School struggles top must parent’s worry list.  Understandable in today’s world.
Hating school points to any number of problems.  School has its down moments for everyone, but hating school points to more serious problems.

parent advice for dealing with school struggles

This advice begins with some “when to worry” tips and ends with tips for how to handle worries.

Tip one: Check out expected age and stage developmental time lines.   Click here for access to the most comprehensive overview of what to expect when.  This list was put out by the Australian Goverment’s Department of Health.  It is the best I have found after much web surfing.

Most children don’t hit all on the times listed exactly, but being consistently at the bottom on any test should raise some concern; the more missed, the more one should worry.

Tip two:  Worry if a child cannot read simple sentences and if he or she reverses letters or numbers after the second grade – by then most have out grown these difficulties.  These are often signs of a learning glitch, disability or challenge. For more information about such struggles visit the web page of  The National Center for Learning Disabilities. 

Worry about a child that hates school to the point that getting him or her up and off has become the major battle of the day, with homework a close second? This often begins in adolescence, but can be seen earlier.

Tip three: Worry about bullying if the hatred of school develops suddenly.  Bullies often make threats that keep kids from sharing that they are being bullied.  This Stop Bullying Webpage is the place to go for more information about bullying, including what to watch for and how to help.

Tip four:   Do this simple ADD test: ask your child to stand without moving for three minutes. Make a game of it for younger children by saying you want to play army.  Without moving means eyes straight ahead, hands at side, breathing regular.  Then ask the child to rate how hard he found standing still on a one to five scale.  One is easy, five couldn’t do it, three so-so.  If the child does not remain still or doing so was very difficult, ADD may be a problem. CHADD is a place to find information and help.

Tip five: If the school is worried, you should be worried – they do know kids.

Tip six: Do not just worry act.  Get a professional and complete psychological and learning evaluation.

Tip seven:  If the school offers an evaluation that is a good place to begin, but it is also wise to persue an independent examination from a psychologist trained to deal test intelligence, learning styles, and educational performance.  If you cannot afford to pay for a private evaluation go to your local mental health agencies specializing in children.

Tip eight: Never go to a meeting at a school without an advocate by your side.  As with the evaluation, the advocate should not be connected to the school. If the school offers an advocate take advantage, but also bring an independent advocate with you.  Independent advocates can be friends or at some point a legal adviser or even a therapist.

Tip nine:  Never lose hope for you child’s future.  School success is important, but studies show others things matter more.  Manners matter, so does finding a passion, so does developing a good work ethic.  Some say these matter far more than academic degrees.

Tip ten: Develop strong emotional fitness skills and teach the same to your child.  My book Parents Are People To, An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents details how to do so.  For a quick start read look at my Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises.


Parenting is hard work and if a child is struggling with school parents worry and suffer.  Hopefully the above tips and resources will help you and your child move forward.

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA. If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.

As always thank you for following me. If you know someone else who will benefit from my thoughts, forward this to them. Liking, commenting, and sharing are other ways you can help me stay strong and spread some ideas others might find helpful.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, live now, have lots of luck.



Both parents and teachers need to work together to provide each child with the best education possible.

Made me laugh and weep. Much more is needed.
IMAGE BY Emergepeoria blogspot

A Resource for NY parents and teachers

I know and have worked personally with Gary Shulman and can endorse his abilities whole heartedly. He is offering two sets of workshops through  schools in NYCity

For Parents: Needs, Wants, Wishes and Dreams: Programs and Services that Bring Relief to Parents of Children with Special Needs and DisabilitiesLife can be stressful when your child is “labeled” as having a special need or disability. This interactive workshop will look at all the various support services out there to bring you some needed relief. There are many programs, services, systems and strategies that will help you maximize the strengths, skills and talents of your child while helping with the special needs. Intervention programs, social skills groups, parents support groups, benefits and entitlements, laws that protect your rights, respite services, special developmental clinics, sources of sensory stimulation and much more will be explored. The goal of this workshop is to provide you with: information, motivation and inspiration. You are not alone! Let’s share our needs, wants wishes and dreams together. “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” There are strong umbrellas out there to protect you from the storms and help you dance!For Staff: Needs, Wants Wishes and Dreams: Programs and Services that Support Parents of Children with Disabilities in Your Program

Parents of children with disabilities and special needs are often devastated by the “labeling” of their child. They turn to professionals for support, information and counseling. This workshop looks at a family in an holistic way. If there are stressors at home, it is difficult for a child to function appropriately at school. This interactive workshop will give you an overview of the programs, services and systems that can empower parents of children with special needs and disabilities. We will share our already existing knowledge base and expand from there to learn about the many “treasures” of NYC that help to maximize a child’s abilities and strengths while providing the necessary therapeutic intervention to deal with the diagnosed special need. Put yourself in the shoes of a parent whose child has been diagnosed as having a disability and with that mind-set let’s brainstorm together ways that we can provide them with support, hope and encouragement. This workshop will give you the tools to do that, and much more. You will be given information, motivation and inspiration to be the best possible support for your parents and their children.

For more information about how to arrange a workshop through  your school contact :Gary Shulman, MS. Ed. gary.shulman@hotmail.com,  646-596-5642


Working together with professionals is at often wearisome and at times only adds hurt to the pain of loving and caring for challenged child.  The more professionals and parents can partner constructively, the more help the child will receive.

Here is my thank you or welcome to the my blog gift – a quick introduction to The Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises. Learning them will help you stay calmer so your can keep up a caring attitude.

For more details about staying strong as a parent buy one of my E-books.

If you buy any of my books, please review it either where you bought it or on this through the comments on this blog.

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA. If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.

As always thank you for following me. If you know someone else who will benefit from my thoughts, forward this to them. Liking, commenting, and sharing are other ways you can help me stay strong and spread some ideas others might find helpful.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, live now, have lots of luck.



Intellectual Disability

IMAGE FROM: Belifenet.com  Link goes to a post defusing false beliefs about developmental disabilities.  One is that all so disabled are “sweet and happy.”

IMAGE FROM: Press of Atlantic City  This link also takes you to an article about growing old when intellectually disabled. This many is luckier than most for his sister assumed responsibility for him. 

Why this parent advice topic

For a while, I am devoting a great many parent advice posts to getting along in school.  Having talked about the three main learning disabilities, I want to talk a bit about intellectual disabilities and the difference between those and a learning disability.

Intellectual disability: once called idiocy, then retardation, then developmental delay,  and most recently developmental disability, is now called intellectual disability as the result of a bill recently signed by President Obama.

Here is the definition of From the Center for Disease Control–note the new name has not yet been replaced by the CDC:

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.

Learning disability: The regulations for the United States Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA),  define a learning disability as a

…disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.

This  definition further states that:

…learning disabilities include such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

… learning disabilities do not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities; mental retardation; or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.


Read the previous posts if you have not done so yet.  The changing names represent two current trends.  The desire to dwell on strengths, but mostly the name changes are an effort to do away with stigma.  So my tips today are about reducing stigma.

Parent tip one: Understand the roots of stigma. Stigma stems from fear of the unknown what my guru Jerome Kagan calls one of the major sources of uncertainty.  It is build deep into our beings as a primal instinct and probably served as a survival skill during times when survival was difficult.  Temperment plays a part.  Some are very shy and hate all new and different experiences. Others are what the experts call “Slow to warm up;” these like to be cautious about exploring the new or different. Finally, some are bold and often might rush into where others fear to tread.

Parent tip two:  Understanding how we respond to uncertainty also helps.  What we do when faced with the new or different involves the following strategies;

If we can cast blame for our uncertainty on another person, “My teacher is stupid,” we feel anger and if we think we are stronger, we are likely to get aggressive in one way or another.  If we don’t feel stronger we simmer with anger, and in time may vent it when we feel safe to do so.  Sadly that often means venting in on an innocent.

If we blame ourselves for our uncertainty, “I’m stupid,” we get depressed and may shut down.

If we cannot find someone or something to blame, we get frightened and either run away or shut down – a form of running away.

Parenting tip three: Obviously, one way to end stigma is to share knowledge about differences both personal and professional. One of the reasons I talk about my problems it an attempt to share personal knowledge. I also share what I have learned professionally.

Parenting tip four:  Shame holds many back from acknowledging a stimatized difference.  Most shame is useless.  It develops in order to keep us from doing the unthinkable, meaning killing a family member.  Shame first appears in children just when needed to save the lives of smaller siblings who mess with your possessions including your parent’s attention.  To combat personal shame follow these steps:

  1. Check reality.  Are you killing someone, molesting someone, or trying to oppress someone? Are you betraying another and exposing them to danger?  Shame is warranted
  2. If shame is not warranted do the opposite of what shame says to do. What is that? Shames says hate yourself and disappear. Acting against shame means honoring your strength and making your shameful secrets public.

Parenting tip five:  Kagan also points out that a major source of uncertainty lies in what he calls conflicting beliefs.  Believe in a certain God?  Those who believe differently might make you uncertain about your beliefs or the other uncertain about theirs.  Tools some use to make war.  Applies also to stigmas attached to learning differences.  If you have any doubt about your intellectual ability both those who are seem smarter and those who seem less smart will create uncertainty in you.  Whenever you feel anger or shame growing ask yourself–what uncertainty is working on me.

Parenting tip six:  Kagen makes one other point about what leads us to hurting others.  His study of morality showed that across all cultures, all humans want to be caring and just. These are two universal imperatives.  Why then do we still make war on each other.  Because a third imperative works on us. That imperative–protect those like us from those who are different.


Life is a struggle, full of pain and suffering. Parenting intensifies the struggle. Parent a child who is different means more struggle.  Such struggles also afford us some of life’s best moments. Do all you can to fight shame, to protect your child and remember to be grateful for all you have been given.  Practice kindness every way you can, including liking, commenting, or sharing this post.


Disclaimer one: Advice is just advice.

Even the most learned researchers and theorists quarrel about much.  Take their advice and mine carefully.  Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; but don’t just think, listen to your heart.  Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you by others.  As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.

Disclaimer two: Forgive my grammatical errors

Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life I have been plagued by dysgraphia–a learning disability that is akin to dyslexia when one writes. It was the reason my high school English teacher thought I would fail out of college.  I didn’t.  Moreover,  with the help of some patient and good editors I became an author.  Still mistakes get by.  When I am in a rush,  posts might be peppered with bad spelling, poor punctuation, and worse words that make no sense.

Sigh, if you need perfect posts, you will not find them  here;  I will understand if you don’t follow me.  If  you want to hang in with me, thank you; if a post doesn’t make sense or bugs you too much, try reading it a few days later.  Often I catch the worse mistakes when I read the post after a few days.

Meanwhile, forgive me, it is an Emotional Fitness Training exercise and practicing it will strengthen your ability to deal with stress, frustration, and all the other negative emotions.