Myth: Learning and attention issues are a sign of low IQ.
Fact: Your IQ score is a measure of a wide range of cognitive abilities, which include visual and auditory processing, logic and reasoning, attention, short-term memory, and processing speed. If an individual has a learning or attention issue, this does not automatically mean that he or she has a low IQ. In fact, there are signs that some of our most intelligent and highly respected historical figures have dealt with some form of learning difficulties, like Albert Einstein and dyscalculia or Leonardo da Vinci and dyslexia. The brains of those with learning or attention issues work in very different ways when we look at how information is received, processed, stored, and retrieved. Most often, there is a specific area where a person’s skill is lacking, and those with learning and attention issues are generally of average, or above average intelligence.
Myth: Learning difficulties can be outgrown.
Fact: Learning difficulties stem from the neurological differences found in the structure of the brain, limiting its ability to store, process, and produce information. Considering this, these difficulties cannot be outgrown. Most often, individuals find ways to adapt to their deficits. What can be done to help remediate, or treat, these difficulties is to develop and strengthen the foundational skills of the brain through new pathways of learning. Research shows that the brain can change, and within the past decade, some amazing programs have been developed to make learning easier and help target these essential skills.
Myth: Those with learning difficulties are lazy.
Fact: More often than not, those who are unaware of their learning or attention issues are frequently labeled as “lazy” or “stupid”. In reality, these individuals are having to work harder to get the same results as someone with no learning issues. They have experienced repeated failures academically, and sometimes emotionally, that they often give up and feel as though they have no control over what happens, something we call learned helplessness. These characteristics get associated with the behavior of an individual, without looking at what is actually going on underneath it all.
Myth: Learning disabilities can be easily diagnosed.
Fact: There is no easy way to know if a child has a learning difficulty. What we do know, however, through extensive research and hereditary studies, is that learning difficulties often run in families. A detailed family history can be vital in determining the risk factors of various learning difficulties. This information is then supported by evaluations from other important sources such as medical examinations, a child’s developmental, social, and school performance, academic testing, and even psychological assessments.
Signs that your child may have a learning issue can include the following:
- Dislike or difficulty with reading
- Delayed speech
- Coordination or balance issues
- Difficulty with math
- Hard time organizing thoughts and expressing oneself
- Memory problems
- Poor handwriting; reversal of letters
- Problems paying attention
- Difficulty following directions or understanding words/concepts
- Difficulty adjusting to change and discipline
Heard any other potential myths? Let’s discuss!