EMOTIONS AND LEARNING DISABILITIES
I said in my title page smart people with LD lead a topsy turvey life. Here’s why:
When smart people with learning gaps are functioning in their areas of strength, their emotions can ran the gamut between a quiet sense of satisfaction to excitement or joy in new learning and accomplishments. This pleasure of approval within oneself (and enhanced by others) leads to feelings of happiness, fulfillment, and contentment. One’s self esteem is nurtured by one’s sense of accomplishments.
But, here’s the rub: people in areas of strength function effectively and competently. Unfortunately it is assumed or expected that this high level of functioning is applicable in all of one’s functioning. Because of this expectation, people become disappointed in themselves when they struggle and/or fail. If this sense of disappointment is only sporadic, then more learning can evolve.
But when the disappointment is continual, like the dyslexic child who has to read every day, the ever present anxiety takes a terrible toll taken on one’s self esteem. Feelings of hopelessness, humiliation, shame, self-denigration can become the norm in one’s sense of oneself. This is one reason why living with learning disabilities is so difficult and why psychotherapy can be so helpful in disrupting this pattern.
Furthermore, because people with LD hate feeling stupid, there is this “walking on eggs” feeling because one never knows when humiliating exposure is around the corner. So, anticipation anxiety, over time, can become integrated into one’s sense of oneself. Psychotherapy again can be helpful.