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You, Your Family, and Learning Problems:

As you have seen, the signs and behavior related to your family being at risk are generally not age-related. They apply just as much to children as to adults. Keep this in mind as you consider the following sections. You may need to make substitutions such as school for work and sibling or peer for spouse. Nonetheless, usually what is a problem for an adult is a problem for a child; and behavior that works well for children also works well for adults.

It is easier to keep this perspective if you do not think in terms of the situation. Rather, think in terms of behavior and attitudes. As you develop skills in working with your family, you will find you often cannot do much about the situation but can influence attitudes and behavior. Learning to focus on what people are feeling and doing is the first step in being of real help and making your family less at risk. Just do not overlook the fact that the behavior or attitudes in this and later sections are as likely to be seen in children as in adults.

Sometimes you wish you could; but you cannot come out and say, “Oh, I thought you knew. I have learning problems. I have trouble understanding and cannot learn easily. Many things are difficult for me.” No, you have to cover them up. It has gotten to the point you do not understand, do not know why you have problems, if you ever understood or ever knew.

You have trouble making choices and most decisions are more than you can handle. “I’ll probably say it wrong,” often is your reply when asked what you think about most anything, if you reply at all. It seems to you everyone else understands what they see on TV, read in the paper, or hear from the neighbors or at the store. You see, read, and hear; but much of it makes little sense to you. You have the same problem when your doctor tells you what is wrong with your child and what you need to do. It is the same with teachers, the person you got to fix your car, notices you get in the mail, and the call you got today having something to do with your insurance. Other people understand and do what needs to be done. If you understood, knew what needs to be done, you would do it. At least, you would try.

You do try. You try and try; but trying and then trying harder does not help. It is frustrating and very confusing. Usually, you do not have any problems. Things go along alright.

There is no accounting for it. You can do some things very well and others hardly at all. Even worse, you do something fine for a while and then mess it up. You forget to do something or do not remember an important step. You do not quite follow the directions or instructions. There is the problem. You do not pay enough attention, take it seriously enough. You are not careful. That is it in a nutshell. At least that is what they tell you, have always told you.

Why not ask people to explain things better? Why not ask someone to help you? Why not get someone to check things you do to be sure you have them right? “No chance,” you say. You are not about to give them the opportunity to point out how dumb you are. You already know you cannot learn well, cannot do things well. You do not need anyone rubbing your nose in it. Anyway, you have tried all that and you still have trouble, still mess things up. What is the use?

On and on it goes. It is no different than when you were a kid. School was a joke. The ones who got all the help, all the attention were the ones who did not need it anyway. The smart kids were teacher’s little joys. There was no way you could be one of those. You spent most of your time getting yelled at, getting into trouble, and sitting in the hall. They all had it in for you. It is no wonder you quit cooperating and trying to get along a long time ago. No more than you went to school, it did not matter much anyway.

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