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Monday, January 6, 2014

Success Stories Offer Hope for Individual with Learning Disabilities

Over the past few months, I have been telling you about Darren Scott and his family.  Youll recall that Darren was a youngster I tested when he was in the second grade.  His was a family who brought remarkable skill to understanding the impact a learning disability had not only on Darren, but the whole family.  Lets fast forward 15 years and see how the Scott family is doing

I heard from Darren this past summer.  Now in his 20s and a college graduate, he had recently started a new job.  He was excited about his work and felt skilled in the interpersonal elements required in his current position, but dysgraphia continued to affect his required writing language skills.  He called to ask if I could provide documentation that would enable him to use voice dictation software at work.  How happy I was to do so!  This simple request, one so easily fulfilled, enabled Darren to continue using the technology and accommodations that had supported his achievement throughout this education.  His self-awareness and ability to advocate for himself continued to be a critical facet of his success, as his learning disability had not gone away.  He had learned to use tools that prevent difficulties from hindering his progress, and he needed the same accommodations in the workplace.

Darrens mother, Becky Scott, also a contributing blogger on this site, raised her boys and then embarked on becoming trained as a coach.  She specializes in guiding families through the process of understanding the effect that the presence of a learning disability has on the family.  Becky teaches her clientele to create power and momentum rather than being hindered by learning disabilities.  Her practice is avidly supported by her husband, Rich.  It is my experience that many parents find a new identity for themselves as they learn to navigate the world of education, self-esteem, and peer relationships for their learning disabled child.  Is that perhaps occurring for you too?

Darren and Nelson are unusually close for brothers at this stage of life, having discovered in one another true friendship.  Rather than feeling resentful by the additional attention his brother required from their parents in their school years, Nelson has a rich understanding of who Darren is and the gifts and challenges his learning disability created for both of them. 

Why have I shared the story of the Scott family?  
What is the take away for you, the parent of a youngster with a learning disability?  It seems to me that this story illustrates many elements that are of benefit to all families who are similarly affected by the presence of a learning issue.  The way the Scotts operated, can become a roadmap for any such family.  

Lets take a look at the tools they used, and which you can too:

·       They listened to their instincts and to one another. 

·       They sought input from a knowledgeable professional, even when those who worked with their child in the school setting minimized their concerns.

·       They recognized that identifying the issues at hand was only the first step in a lifelong process and that ongoing conversation between all family members was essential to the well-being of themselves and each of their children. 

So I encourage you to:

·       Always trust your gut about your child. 

·       Find the professionals you need to guide you in understanding your child and what he or she needs at home and in school.

·       Include everyone in the family in these conversations.

·       And finally, but perhaps most importantly, listen to what your child is telling you.
These tools will help you and your children navigate the challenges ahead.

May we all be well,    Jennifer
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