Mental health and Learning Differences
I'm sure you have heard of Bell Let's Talk. Well, it's interesting to me that a big part of the topic is about Learning differences such as ADHD, dyslexia, and learning disabilities. If you watched the Bell Let's Talk show with Howie Mandell you would hear about his learning issues -- the attention concerns and his feeling of not fitting in.
When I was speaking at the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists conference this past Sept, a similar theme happened. I walked into the youth mental health workshop and the first topic with learning disabilities and ADHD. Really, I thought. This is the main focus. I've got to do something more.
As a person that has dealt with a learning difference I know about the shame that feels like a physical hit to your body and mind.
The fight and flight you live it as a way to get out of the pain that the shame of learning differently can cause and the anxiety of being met with challenges you don't feel equipped to handle. It's real but somehow we are not really putting these two areas together. Even though the data is there.
When talking to Elisheva Schwartz, one our online speaker from last years summit, she talked about how 60% of people with dyslexia or a learning disability deal with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, etc.
As a person with a learning difference, I feel there is still a separation around mental health and learning challenges.
I do wonder if we addressed the learning challenges and minimized the shame for a child that learns differently how would this impact their mental health in the future.
Instead of focusing on only the mental issues when the child is struggling with their learning -- let's help them understand how they learn and empower them which will also have an impact on their mental health.
We can do this.