Tips On Preventing Mental Health Issues

There are certain aspects of learning disabilities which increase the risk for an individual to experience mental health issues. Failure to identify a learning disability at an early age and to consequently delay the provision of intensive, individualized instruction results in school failure. A child who was well-adjusted as a five or six year old can acquire overlays of emotional disturbance after years of school failure. Anxiety and depression would be likely experiences for such a child from the age of nine or ten.

Certain specific learning disabilities are characterized by perceptual deficits, including misinterpretation of facial expression, body language, or verbal cues that lead to awkward social interactions. These, along with impulsivity associated with ADHD, contribute to generally poor social skills, which in turn lead to alienation or social conflict. Individuals of all ages with learning disabilities and ADHD are subject to ridicule from peers and are often the objects of bullying behaviors. Low self-esteem is a frequent by-product of learning disabilities.

School failure leads to disassociation from school settings, and the adolescent and teen with learning disabilities who has not received proper academic supports and services runs a higher risk than average for becoming involved with tobacco, alcohol and drugs. School drop-out is linked strongly to functional illiteracy; teens who drop out are at high risk of becoming involved in illegal activities and eventual incarceration, and for becoming teen mothers and fathers. Teen addictions, aggressive and other anti-social behaviors, and risky pregnancies are therefore linked to learning disabilities and ADHD.

Here are some basic suggestions for avoiding problems associated with poor mental health

  1. ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS/HER BEHAVIOR. We do not control others. We can only influence others to want to change their behavior.
  2. ESTABLISH AN ATMOSPHERE OF MUTUAL RESPECT BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR CHILD. Children respond more positively when adults are consistent, honest, open and supportive.
  3. DETERMINE THE BEHAVIOR OR EVENTS THAT TAKE PLACE BEFORE AND AFTER UNWANTED OR UNDESIRABLE BEHAVIORS. It is important to identify the things in the environment which set off or positively reinforce the child’s inappropriate behavior.
  4. ESTABLISH CONSEQUENCES THAT ARE NATURAL AND/OR LOGICAL AND APPLY THE CONSEQUENCES OBJECTIVELY (WITHOUT ANGER). If the consequence for the child is to sit and think for 15 minutes, to also yell in anger or to spank the child will destroy the effect of the learning process.
  5. PERMIT THE INDIVIDUAL TO MAKE HIS CHOICES AND TO LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES. If the individual makes the choice, then the outcome should rest with the one making the choice. When the parent accepts the consequence, then the parent denies the child the opportunity to grow and mature.
  6. MAKE CERTAIN EACH OF YOUR CHILDREN IS A VALUED CONTRIBUTOR. Maturation demands that everyone is treated as a full-fledged member of the family.

Permission to adapt granted from LDA America