Tag Archives: Psychologi

Testing, Quick And Dirty

A frightening statistic: According to the latest research, between 30 and 50 percent of all people diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorder also have some kind of learning disability. That’s a whole lot of little dudes and dudettes with a whole lot of challenge.

It’s not everyone, though. And one of the problems with this pair of comorbid disorders is that it’s difficult to determine if it’s only one of them or both. We found that separating out the two of them was almost impossible until we had each of the little dudes tested specifically to determine if they had a learning disability.

But first, before we kicked in for the expensive tests, we ran the idea past our doctors, a couple of teachers and the like to see if they had any concerns of idea that it could be a learning disability.

Now, for those of you who are worrying about this with your little dudes or dudettes, ADDitude magazine has come up with a relatively easy-to-give quick-and-dirty diagnostic test for your kid.

LD is a neurologically based disorder that results in problems processing and using information. Different children have different patterns of learning strengths and weaknesses; there is no one profile that describes all children. With that caveat, the magazine then goes into a checklist of some symptoms that could indicate your child has an LD. The questions are divided up between preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school.

Some of the statements from elementary school, k-4: My child has problems with rapid letter recognition and with learning phonemes (individual units of sound).My child has trouble blending sounds and letters to sound out words or remembering familiar words by sight. 

As you can see, it’s an exceedingly basic checklist, but it does have some quite specific markers for which you should be on the lookout.

Of course, once you decide that there is reason to worry that your child has an LD, the question arises: What next?

Well, according to the article, the best thing for you to do then is to go back to your child’s teacher. Discuss your concerns with the teacher and, if the teacher agrees with you there is a concern, you both can go talk to the special ed teacher to request a formal evaluation. If you don’t want to go through the school, you also can take your child in for an education/psychological evaluation with an outside professional.

Either way, the best thing for you to do is make sure, by setting up a thorough, professional evaluation what issues your child has. Only by knowing these issues can you begin to address them in an academic setting.

Of course, this is only a possibility. Most times, it probably will end up that your child has been goofing off a bit much or something like that. Still, I can tell you from personal experience that, if your child does have an LD, bringing in caring classroom teachers and special education teachers is definitely the way to go.

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Freaky Friday: Bully Brains

by Richard

This is actually kind of scary. We know that being bullied makes for some big-time backlash for the young dudes who get bullied. What we didn’t know until recently is that being bullied also makes some physical changes in the brains of those kids who get bullied.

Yeah, that’s right. Young dudes who get bullied actually suffer permanent changes to the structure of their brains because of the bullying.

If we thought there was a reason to crack down on bullying in schools before, brother, you’d better believe there’s more of a reason now.

They lurk in hallways, bathrooms, around the next blind corner. But for the children they have routinely teased or tormented, bullies effectively live in the victims’ brains as well — and not just as a terrifying memory.

Preliminary evidence shows that bullying can produce signs of stress, cognitive deficits and mental-health problems.

Now University of Ottawa psychologist Tracy Vaillancourt and her colleagues at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario plan to scan the brains of teens who have been regularly humiliated and ostracized by their peers to look for structural differences compared with other children.

“We know there is a functional difference. We know their brains are acting differently, but we don’t know if it is structural as well,”said Vaillancourt, an expert in the biology of bullying.

According to Vaillancourt, she finds changes to the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory.

Bullied young dudes have already been found to score lower on tests that measure verbal memory and executive function, a set of skills needed to focus on a task and get the job done. Mental-health problems, such as depression, are also more common.

Come on, dudes. This is ridiculous. We need to have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying in schools that’s actually enforced all the time, every time.  Kids need to feel safe when they’re at school, trying to learn.

I mean, come on. How can you learn if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder, fearing the next push or the next time someone starts name calling?

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