Hi, I’m Samantha from Learning Success. We produce videos to help parents embrace their child's brilliance and unleash their full potential.
There are an abundance of studies that link learning struggles to emotional issues such as anxiety and depression. A study published in current psychiatry says
“This study revealed that dyslexia had negatively influenced adolescents’ self-esteem and caused them to feel different from others with poor school achievement and lower feeling of well-being. Dyslexic adolescents in this study also suffered from externalizing and internalizing symptoms withdrawal, somatic complaints, anxiety/ depression, social problems, thought problems, aggression and delinquent behavior that were significantly higher in poor than typical readers. They showed significantly higher scores of depression as assessed by HRSD and anxiety as assessed by HRSA.”
Or this book by Neil Alexander-Passe, which is the result of his 15 years of research into the emotional effects of dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Neil went through these struggles himself and wanted to make sure his kids didn’t suffer in the same way. So he dove in deep and then published what he found.
It’s pretty clear that there’s a strong link between learning struggles and emotional struggles. And anxiety over schoolwork happens fast.
We found that about 85% of struggling students experienced symptoms of low self-esteem and high anxiety. Symptoms such as
- Expressing that they feel stupid
- Getting emotional or procrastinating over school or schoolwork
- Having more difficulty under stress
- Difficulty paying attention
Beyond this, what was even more troubling was that almost as many showed signs of extreme emotional stress. These were emotional symptoms such as:
- Doing anything to hide their problem
- Emotional sensitivity
- Mood swings
- A strong sense of justice
Physical Symptoms of Stress
Many exhibited physical symptoms as well. Symptoms such as:
- Stomach aches, nausea, headaches, or vomiting
- Unusual heavy or light sleeping
- Unusual sweating
The trouble here, beyond the fact that these children have to experience this, is that it will dramatically worsen the learning problem. When there are anxiety issues, this leads to the higher processing centers of the brain actually shutting down. Which makes learning academics nearly impossible. This starts a downward spiral. Learning difficulties lead to anxiety. Anxiety leads to more learning difficulties. And so on. And so on. Until the child finally just gives up entirely. It's not a story with a happy ending.
What happens is that the symptom actually becomes the bigger problem. Because anxiety can decrease learning ability dramatically. The anxiety itself becomes the bigger problem. The difficulties caused by anxiety far out shadow the difficulties caused by a specific learning disability. Both emotionally and academically.
This anxiety can spiral out of control. Causing more and more learning challenges. Causing more and more bad behavior and making everything far more difficult. Soon the effects of anxiety are a far bigger issue than anything else. Performance will suffer, and even worse, learned helplessness can creep in.
That’s why we always recommend that, when there is a learning struggle you start with confidence building first. Get your child past their anxiety. Help them develop a growth mindset. Once you’ve done that, then start working on the underlying problem. That gets them ready to tackle academics. That’s precisely the path that the Learning Success system takes.
More academics is not the solution. That just makes the emotional problem worse. Prepare them for academics and you’ll have a much better result and your child won’t have to suffer.
Anxiety is fear felt in the body. Once you help them build confidence they won’t have fear. Confidence is the opposite of fear. So build confidence and anxiety fades.
Once your child builds a growth mindset, then they will realize that mistakes are not only a part of the learning process but also a necessary part. They’ll no longer get emotional over mistakes because they’ll know that’s just part of the game. And more importantly, they’ll no longer fear mistakes. Their fear is at the root of all of their avoidance behaviors. Get rid of that and the behaviors just fade away.
And once you build up the underlying cognitive micro-skills then academics will come easier. Learning will accelerate.
More Homework Can Make Things Worse
Don’t pile on more and more homework if they are not ready for it. That just increases anxiety. It makes the situation worse. It increases fear. It increases avoidance strategies. More homework. More practice. More tutoring. It’s all just more of the same problem that got them here.
One other tip is this. Add physiological exercises that improve mood into your child’s routine. Yes, you can actually shift your child’s mood by using the body. You can help your child counter some of those negative feelings with physiology. And things will turn around. Instead of more and more negative feelings, your child will be happier and will eventually once again develop a love of learning. It’ll take a little time and work but it will happen. Just keep up the good work.
And the outcome will be far better than letting those negative emotions just build and build into terrible anxieties and even possibly depression. Once set in deep those anxieties can last a lifetime.
Anxiety Can Mimic a Learning Disability
Also remember. When a child is anxious, that alone can mimic a learning disability. Fear decreases focus. Sometimes anxiety is the only problem. There may not be a learning disability. Maybe something happened that got blown out of proportion in the child’s mind and then they become anxious around reading, or writing, or math. That’s just one more reason to deal with emotions first. They might be the only problem.
But if you do suspect that there is a learning struggle, we’ve got you covered. We’ve created a simple to understand short video covering the common learning disabilities and how to spot them.
If your child is struggling in school then consider starting them on a free trial of the Learning Success System. It's jam packed with confidence building techniques and all the exercises you need to help your child overcome a learning struggle.
Setting your child on the right path to becoming a fantastic learner who easily earns great grades. They'll no longer have to suffer with everything that comes with a learning struggle.
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- Build confidence
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