Mar 12, 2013
Genuine Friendship Helps Learning
Illustration photo

While awareness of abusers are up, a study said that a healthy personal relationship between teacher and student can help teens overcome learning disabilities.

By COLlive reporter

In addition to struggling in school, many learning disabled children are known to face social and emotional challenges including depression, anxiety, and isolation. Often beginning early in childhood, they become more pronounced during adolescence, an emotionally turbulent time.

For these youngsters, more positive relationships with the significant adults in their lives — including parents and teachers — can improve learning and "socioemotional" experiences, says Dr. Michal Al-Yagon of Tel Aviv University's Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, she reported that teens with learning disabilities were less likely to have secure attachment relationships to their mothers and teachers compared to peers without learning disabilities.

The absence of such close and supportive relationships had an adverse effect on the teens' social and emotional functioning, contributing to behavioral problems including isolation, depression, and aggression.

"We found that more secure child-adult attachments may act as a protective factor during this developmental period, whereas insecure attachments are a risk factor" for social and emotional issues, Dr. Al-Yagon says.

These results could help researchers design more effective interventions for children and adolescents with learning disabilities. Helping to strengthen their relationships with parents and teachers may decrease their emotional and behavioral problems.

The power of attachment

Attachment theory, which describes long-term relationship dynamics, seeks to explain how parental involvement, availability, and support can shape a child's social and emotional development. Insecure attachments are damaging to a child, hindering future relationships with peers, romantic partners, and family members.

For this study, Dr. Al-Yagon measured the socioemotional state and the security of attachments to parents and teachers for 181 adolescents with learning disabilities and 188 with typical development, all between the ages of 15-17.

Participants completed a series of questionnaires regarding their attachment to their mother and father, perceived teacher availability and rejection, loneliness, experience of positive and negative emotions and behavioral problems.

Adolescents with learning disabilities were discovered to have less secure attachments with significant adult figures compared to their non-disabled peers, which had a direct impact on their socioemotional state.

Within the disabled group, those who had more secure attachments to their mother and father, or who considered their teacher caring and available, exhibited fewer negative emotions, feelings of loneliness, and behavior problems — all of which can interfere with learning.

Building closer relationships

These findings can help guide clinicians in developing effective treatment strategies, says Dr. Al-Yagon. Examples include family intervention techniques that focus on creating more secure attachments between parents and children, or school workshops to help teachers understand the needs of their learning disabled students and make more of an effort to include them in classroom activities.

While social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties cannot be entirely avoided, Dr. Al-Yagon believes that a little effort, care, and attention can go a long way toward helping learning disabled children and teens feel happier and more secure.

"Parents and teachers should be aware not just of academic difficulties, but also of socioemotional difficulties — and work to treat them. They should not avoid or ignore issues such as depression or aggression, which are another dimension of the original problem," she advises.

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
oy veh
this is all information which could be gleaned from Torah but it didnt seem to reach some of our own kids teachers.......unfortunately too many of them
(3/12/2013 12:27:59 PM)
thank you

(3/12/2013 2:40:06 PM)
A different Perspective
I am a young woman in my early 20's getting my Master's Degree to become a Therapist. First off, i want to point out something that article was wrong about. Learning difficulties does NOT equate to being disabled. I myself have ADD and Dyslexia. With strong discipline, a lot of hard work, and some wonderful teachers, and a supportive family, i actually have ZERO trouble reading or writing. I love both reading and writing when it used to be hard for me. And i have developed my own techniques on focusing for long periods of time and do very well.

I work with children who are actually disabled. Saying a child with learning issues are all disabled, is something VERY wrong to do and very derogatory. We are NOT disabled. If i was "disabled" i would not be in a top graduate school, balancing my own patient load, and about to earn my Master's Degree. Adults and children alike need to see the potential and work hard together as a team to reach that potential. Many of us "disabled" kids and adults with learning issues have a very high IQ, higher than most. It just doesn't always reflect in our grades.

You want success? Then throw away the derogatory attitude and treat everyone equally. We do NOT need to be treated differently. We need to be pushed hard and be shown that we have potential.
(3/12/2013 2:40:40 PM)
That's the problem with Lubavitch Jewish Day Schools!
The problem with Chabad Jewish Day Schools is that when very inexperienced and uneducated "teachers" (they go to seminary for like a year and then suddenly become "teachers." No licencing exam or graduate school. Im sorry, but they are not real teachers) encounter a student who learns differently or has a learning disorder such as ADD or ADHD they label them "disabled" despite their high IQs. They are NOT disabled!!! Many "teachers" give up on their students instead of helping them achieve their high potential!
(3/12/2013 3:14:51 PM)
old timer
the problem is not just with the schools. we have lost the ability to truly communicate and listen to each other. that is why our children feel lonely and misunderstood....
(3/12/2013 6:23:15 PM)
The problem with schools...schools are breeding grounds for intolerant attitudes towards children who have different learning styles. The bullies should be taken out of these schools and sent to places for abusers. There are nasty sick children who get pleasure from hurting others, many of these children are in Jewish schools. Protected and never dealt with because of who their parents may be. Disabled is a negative term, others use it very lightly. What would happen if their grandchild had a challenge, to learning, would that word be used ?
(3/13/2013 10:35:26 AM)
What's Your Opinion? Post a Comment

Your Comment:

Comments must be approved before being published. Thank You!

Make COLive® your homepage | Contact Us
© 2018