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13 Things Children with Learning Disabilities Need You to Know

13 Things Children with Learning Disabilities Need You to Know

The simplest way to explain learning disabilities is to say they are an entire classification of behaviors and functions that prevent learning in a “typical” way. Learning difficulties impact a person and make the learning experience difficult for a host of factors from many different areas of life. When these types of issues are not explained by developmental or neurological disorders, or by vision or hearing loss, or motor skill disorders, but they significantly interfere with a child’s academic achievement or activities of daily living, then a diagnosis of learning disability follows.

Learning Frustrations

    Typically, when a child shows persistent difficult learning how to read, or write or in mathematical reasoning during formal years of schooling, they are suffering from a learning disability. They may demonstrate symptoms such as slow or effortful reading, poor written expression with little or no clarity, difficulties remembering facts, or inaccurate mathematical reasoning. Their testing shows difficulties in academic skills of various types, and they present a range of scores that are well below average.

    Most learning disabilities are diagnosed when a child has been in school for a year or two. If a child shows persistent difficulty in academic skills such as struggling to remember number facts or mathematical reasoning, inaccurate or slow reading even with great effort, or a tough time clearly expressing themselves in writing, they are more than likely dealing with some type of learning disability. There are some learning disabilities, however that manifest themselves earlier on in a youngster’s life.

    Learning disabilties poster

      Experts in developmental studies tell us that there are age appropriate times for certain achievements to occur. Babies are expected to begin walking at a targeted time in their development. The same can be said for showing that they understand what is being said or for having the motor skills and ability to turn themselves over independently. These time-sensitive achievements are called milestones. When developmental tasks fall significantly outside the range given to developmental milestones, this could be an indication of some type of learning disability.

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      Although there are a lot of things we already know about learning disabilities, as neuroscience continues to expand its research, we are learning more about them all the time. There still is much to learn and perhaps one of the best places to start is to walk a mile in the shoes of a child who experiences a learning disability.

      Here are 13 things kids with learning disabilities would like you to know:

      1. We are not our disorder

      This is facing the problem square on, right from the start. Having a disorder is one component of a person, and must not be considered more than one single component. So often, people allow the disorder to take on what seems like a life of its own in which it takes shape and hold of not only the person with the disorder, but that person’s loved ones as well. In other words, many times, people allow disorders to take over and control everything about that person entirely.

      Most likely, this is because of all the other emotions that attach themselves to the situation, strong, negative emotions such as frustration, anger and fear. Once these heavy-duty emotions take over, the road back is hard to find. It serves everyone well to be able to keep it all in proportion even if that means taking a step back and letting go of something we feel may be overwhelming.

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        2. Our difficulties aren’t anyone’s fault

        Of course, it is not a good thing to blame anyone or to treat a kid with a learning disability like they’re doing anything wrong, but it is also just as important to make sure as a parent to not blame themselves. Learning disabilities are disorders like diabetes, acne or any other. As such, it can be worked with and its negative effects dealt with and lessened with proper attention and care. Reminding ourselves it is not anyone’s fault is a great way to remember that nobody wins if we look for someone or something to blame.

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        3. Our feelings count too

        Having a learning disability does not in any way connect to any type of emotional disability or delay. Ignoring a child’s emotional well-being is detrimental. This applies not only from other children or teachers who ridicule and respond negativity to them in school, but more importantly by siblings and even parents, or caregivers at home. If anything, they are more emotionally vulnerable and in a position to be scarred for life emotionally by the harsh way they are treated.

        4. Yelling or punishments won’t makes us learn any faster

        Although we may not yet fully understand the connection between the two, anger seems to follow frustration quite often. And as caring parents who want to see their children excel, they sometimes let our disappointment and frustration in watching them struggle. If they let their feelings get the best of them and lose sight of the one who is really feeling the effects, they may give into our anger and actually try to strong arm the outcome they would prefer to see.

        Needless to say, this would be a total lose-lose scenario and only make things worse all the way around.

        5. We’re not doing this to make you mad

        This follows closely on the heels of yelling and punishments because when parents do this, it is very likely that their child will feel as if their parents believe their lack of success is intentional and like they are holding them responsible not only for the lack of progress they are making, but also for doing it on purpose. Talk about carrying a heavy load! As adults, we need to stand back and again, realize who it is that is struggling here and offer a way to support, not tear down further.

        Einsteing on Learning Disabilities

          6. We’re still kids, so give us a break

          Hearing this means that parents are willing to step outside ourselves as parents or grownups even further and realize that to a child, it may not really be all that important in the first place. This is extremely important – it follows the old saying about ‘walking a mile in another person’s shoes.’ Although it may be a struggle for a child to try and keep up academically, they are still just a kid and sometimes (and this is in no way a bad thing) it may not seem all that devastating until adults make it that devastating.

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          7. Be patient, some things may take us longer to learn

          This is not an inability. So with patience and repetition, many times those who know how to work with this specialized population often move mountains. They may move slowly, but we know that slow and steady often times wins the race. Patience is key to helping a child become confident in their abilities, especially if they are compromised in some way.

          8. We’re just regular kids deep down

          All children need to develop a sense of belonging, stability and esteem in order to develop into healthy, productive adults. Having a learning disability doesn’t change that in any way other than possibly to make it even more important because of negatives that are flung at the child like targeted missiles. Yet, most people tend to behave differently toward a child with learning disability. Finding a mid-point, a type of balance and normalcy, is critical to helping a child develop and maintain healthy habits.

          9. Little acomplishments mean a lot to us

          Keeping the lens of the other person’s shoes in place, it is not a far leap to realize that what may seem like no big deal to adults, can be a major accomplishment to a child, especially when it is a struggle. By noticing little accomplishments and molding them, parents help create bigger, greater accomplishments and there may be nowhere to witness this more so than with a child with learning disabilities. Make a big thing out of little accomplishments and watch in amazement over what follows.

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            10. If you believe we will succeed, then we will too

            Children with learning disabilities are predestined for much more rejection and frustration in their lives than most. But, if they see that those people who matter most to them haven’t given up hope and have a positive outlook toward life’s challenges, they too, will pick up that winning attitude and stay motivated even in the face of adversity. Model the type of determination and grit that you know your child is going to benefit from throughout their life.

            11. Reward us with gifts or praise, even for little things

            Rewards don’t have to be costly. Sometimes a pat on the back means as much, if not more, as any gift might. Since success isn’t something that comes very frequently to children with disabilities, genuine, heartfelt praise is worth its weight in gold. The trick is to make sure it is genuinely from the heart, and make sure you don’t wait for what you might consider a major event. Remember how important little accomplishments are. Honor those events, even the little ones, because those little ones matter … BIG TIME.

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            12. Don’t give up on us

            When things are harder for us, the tendency to give up is greater. This applies with children who have learning disabilities even more because they are more likely to face difficulties and failures in every day events than others do. Teaching tenacity and determination and modeling how to fall down and get back up again, helps a child develop resilience, something they will benefit from tremendously throughout their lives.

            Pet Therapy

              13. Pets can be super helpful for us

              New studies can be found all the time, that tout the praises of how therapeutic a pet can be. This holds true for children with disabilities as well. From pleasure in friendship and companionship, to the physical benefits of touch in petting and holding a dog or cat, to the esteem building and overall sense of well-being pets bring, it is not surprising to learn about the successful statistics accompanying pets with children with disabilities, including learning disabilities.

              Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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              Last Updated on July 28, 2020

              14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

              14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

              Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

              What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

              The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

              Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

              It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

              Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

              In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

              Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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              Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

              1. Quinoa

              GI: 53

              Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

              2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

              GI: 50

              Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

              3. Corn on the Cob

              GI: 48

              Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

              4. Bananas

              GI: 47

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              Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

              They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

              5. Bran Cereal

              GI: 43

              Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

              6. Natural Muesli

              GI: 40

              Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

              7. Apples

              GI: 40

              Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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              8. Apricots

              GI: 30

              Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

              Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

              9. Kidney Beans

              GI: 29

              Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

              10. Barley

              GI: 22

              Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

              Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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              11. Raw Nuts

              GI: 20

              Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

              12. Carrots

              GI: 16

              Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

              13. Greek Yogurt

              GI: 12

              Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

              14. Hummus

              GI: 6

              When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

              Bottom Line

              If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

              More Tips on Eating Healthy

              Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

              Reference

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