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Learn the 6 Steps to Coping with Anger and How To Overcome Anger Triggers
They may also have difficulty with making friends and maintaining relationships. Vocational and job demands create additional challenges for young people with learning disabilities. Myth 6 Adults with learning disabilities cannot succeed in higher education. Fact More and more adults with learning disabilities are going to college or university and succeeding Gerber and Reiff With the proper accommodations and support, adults with learning disabilities can be successful at higher education. Fear Another emotional difficulty for adults with learning disabilities is fear. This emotion is often masked by anger or anxiety. Feelings of fear may be related one or more of the following issues: They develop coping strategies to hide their disability. For example, an adult who can hardly read might pretend to read a newspaper. Other adults may develop gregarious personalities to hide their difficulties or focus on other abilities that do not present learning barriers. Unfortunately some adults will have developed negative strategies such as quitting their job rather than risking the humiliation of being terminated because their learning disability makes it difficult for them to keep up with work demands. The fear of being found out is particularly troublesome for many older adults who have never been diagnosed with a learning disability or those who received inappropriate support. In later life, these adults often return to learning through adult literacy programs in order make up for lost educational opportunities. Seeking help is a difficult step forward for these adults because it requires them to stop hiding their disability. For these adults, returning to a learning environment is truly an act of courage! Low literacy skills and academic difficulties are not the only type of learning disabilities adults try to hide. Adults with social skill difficulties may live in constant fear of revealing social inadequacies. For example, an adult who has trouble understanding humour, may pretend to laugh at a joke even through they don't understand it. They may also hide their social difficulties by appearing to be shy and withdrawn. On the other hand, hyperactive adults may cover up their attention difficulties by using a gregarious personality to entertain people. Needless to say, adult literacy programs are a second chance to learn the basic academic skills missed out in public school. As mentioned above, going back into an educational environment is often a fearful experience for adults with learning disabilities. One of the main reasons for this is the fear of failure. Many adults reason that, if they have failed before, what is to stop them failing again and, if they do fail again, then this failure must mean they, themselves, are failures.. The tendency for adults with learning disabilities to personalize failure i. Educators need to be aware of these fears to help learner's understand that failure does not make them a failure and making mistakes is a part of the learning process. For most people, anxiety about failing is what motivates them to succeed, but for people with learning disabilities this anxiety can be paralyzing. Fear of failure may prevent adults with learning disabilities from taking on new learning opportunities. One positive characteristic that often helps adults overcome their fear of failure is their ability to come up with innovative strategies to learn and solve problems. Fear of Ridicule Adults with learning disabilities frequently fear the ridicule of others. Sadly, these fears often develop after the individual has been routinely ridiculed by teachers, classmates or even family members. The most crushing of these criticisms usually relates to a perceived lack of intelligence or unfair judgments about the person's degree of motivation or ability to succeed. For example, comments such as you'll never amount to anything, you could do it if you only tried harder, or the taunting of classmates about being in the mental retard class have enormous emotional effects on individuals with learning disabilities. For many of these adults, especially those with unidentified learning disabilities, these and other negative criticisms, continue to affect their emotional well-being into their adult years. Such negative criticisms often fuel the fear adults with learning disabilities have about being found out. Fear of Rejection Adults with learning disabilities frequently fear rejection if they are not seen to be as capable as others. If they come from a middle to upper class family where academic achievement is a basic expectation for its members, fear of rejection may be a very real concern. They may also fear that their social skill deficits will preclude them from building meaningful relationships with others and may lead to social rejection. Prior experiences of rejection will likely intensify this sense of fear. Environmental and Emotional Sensitivity Environmental Sensitivities Adults are often overwhelmed by too much environmental stimuli e. Many people with LD and ADD have specific sensitivities to their environment such as certain fabrics they cannot wear, foods they cannot tolerate, etc. The positive features of this trait helps adults with learning disabilities build meaningful relationships with others. For example, they are often very intuitive and in-tune with both their own and other people's emotions. Sometimes they are actually able to perceive other's thoughts and feelings. However, this strength also serves as weakness due to its propensity to overwhelm the individuals. Emotional difficulties occur when they are unable to cope with the onslaught of emotions they are feeling. Highly sensitive adults with LD may be moved to tears more easily or feel their own and other people's pain more deeply. For example, Thomas West, writer of "The Minds Eye", not only gives a thorough explanation of Winston Churchill's learning disability, but also describes his sensitive nature. West details Churchill's tendency to break into tears quite easily" West, even out in the public eye. He notes one incident in which Churchill was moved to tears after witnessing the devastating effects of a bomb. This description of Churchill also serves to highlight the strong sense of justice that many adults with learning disabilities possess. Unfortunately, this sense of justice often serves as a double edged sword. On one hand, it is refreshing to behold the passion of many of these individuals in their fight to overcome injustice. Often the individual may be unaware that their behavior has turned aggressive. They only wish make their point known and have others understand it. This type of over reaction is not a purposeful attempt to hurt anybody. It is more likely to be caused by a difficulty with monitoring their emotions and consequent behavior. Emotional Regulation Difficulties with regulating emotions are common for highly sensitive adults with learning disabilities. Kay Walker, describes the connection between learning disabilities and self-regulation problems in her paper "Self Regulation and Sensory Processing for Learning, Attention and Attachment. Others may experience difficulty regulating impulsive thoughts or actions. Fortunately, most adults have learned to handle their emotional sensitivity to avoid becoming overwhelmed or engaging in negative social interactions. Nevertheless, some adults may be so deeply affected that they become depressed or suffer from anxiety. Emotional wounds from childhood and youth may cause heightened emotional responses to rejection. In turn, social anxiety and social phobia may result 5. Difficulty Adjusting to Change Change is scary for everyone, but for people with learning disabilities and other neurological disabilities, change may be particularly difficult. Children with learning disabilities may prefer procedures to stay the same and have a hard time moving from one activity to another. Usually this difficulty becomes less of an issue as the child matures. However, adults with learning disabilities may still experience difficulty adjusting to change in more subtle ways. For example, some adults will have trouble moving from one work task to another without completely finishing the first task before moving on to the next one. Adults with learning disabilities are frequently described as inflexible when it comes to considering another person's view point or a different way of doing something. Adjustment to change is difficult for adults with LD because change brings the unexpected. In general, people with learning disabilities are less prepared for the unexpected. The unexpected may bring new learning hurdles, new job demands or new social challenges. Since all these areas can be affected by learning disabilities, it is no wonder why change can produce so much anxiety for adults with learning disabilities. To avoid the tendency to blame the person for their lack of flexibility, it is important to understand the neurological basis for this difficulty with adjusting to change. In addition, parents, instructors, and other professionals can help adults with learning disabilities by making transition processes easier through understanding and accommodating the adults' needs. Learning disabled students with superior cognitive abilities: A validation study of descriptive behavior. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Connecticut, Storrs. A review of the issues. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 30 3 , Identifying alterable patterns in employment success for highly successful adults with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 25 8 Trials and tribulations of a teacher with learning disabilities through his first two years of employment. Persisting Problems And Evolving Issues: Annals of Dyslexia, 36, Kirsch, Irwin S. Retrieved November 2, , from http: Occupational Therapy Department, University of Florida. In the minds eye:
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