What is the future of a child with learning disability?
Q: My 7-year-old nephew has a learning disability. Doctors said that the development of his brain is 20% less than normal children . There is no learning disablily problem from his father's or mother's side. His mother was taking medication for urinary infection and she was not supposed to conceive at that time. He knew how to use the computer at the age of 3 but now it seems he is unable to memorise what he studies. Is it possible that he fell down and damaged his nervous system? What can we do now? Is there any cure for this? Will he be able to pursue his studies like engineering or something? What will be his future? The relationship between his parents and in-laws are not that good and there have been arguments and fights going on in the house. Could this have an affect on him?
A:Learning Disability (LD) is not a disease. There is a likelihood that he can get over the problem fully, as he grows up. I am not very sure that memorising whatever one has to learn is a necessary aspect of intelligence. Some can learn things by heart easily, others cannot. I do not wish to make a comment on the 80% of normal brain diagnosis. It may be nothing more than a guess. As Psychologists, we say that most of us use only a small part of the potential brain. A lot of people, who are walking about as successful, maybe using only 70% of their brain! There may have been some prenatal conditions that were unsatisfactory from the point of view of optimal health of the infant. Worrying about the causes of a specific problem is not as productive as doing something about it. Since you mention computers, I will say that a number of children with LD have been helped immensely by the use of computers. There are several child-friendly CDs in the market and many of them make the child use reasoning and thinking and help with spelling and grammar. Recently a friend of mine who provided individualized help for children who were identified as LD, and improved tremendously after the intervention said that she felt that there was Teaching Disability rather than Learning Disability. It would not be necessary to share this comment with his teachers! However, it is also important to find out what the child's interests are. Engineering is not the only course to do. If he is artistic and can draw or paint, encourage that. If he responds to music, let him learn to sing or play an instrument. Gradually he will cope with the subjects in school. There are many things you can do to help him. Let him enjoy his childhood, running, laughing, joking and making friends, being affectionate and helpful. School work is important, but such a strong focus, so early, is a little frightening. Relax! I personally don't think that a child who is bright at 3 years becomes dull at 7 years. Instead of arriving at conclusions of any kind, just let the child grow.