October is here and for many it’s the time for spooky movies, pumpkin spice lattes, and reverse trick-or-treating! However, October isn’t just about the festivities of fall and Halloween.
In fact, did you also know October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month?
What is a learning disability?
A learning disability hinders a person’s ability to perform a certain task, most commonly it causes educational challenges in reading, writing, and math skills.
Some common learning disabilities include:
- Auditory Processing Disorder– which is an inability to recognize the different sounds in words, and can cause difficulties blocking out background noises.
- Dyscalculia– which causes difficulties with reading numbers and symbols. Problems may also arise in understanding certain math facts.
- Dysgraphia– which causes difficulties in handwriting and fine motor skills. Illegible handwriting and poor spelling are also a common issue.
- Dyslexia– which causes difficulties in reading and comprehension.
- ADHD– which causes difficulties with staying focused, paying attention, and sitting still.
- Nonverbal Learning Disabilities– which causes difficulties with body language and coordination.
Learning disabilities don’t always have the same symptoms in every individual, but they can impact an individual’s quality of life. Moreover, these disabilities cannot be cured, but with the proper tools and support, many are able to overcome the daily challenges they face in social, work, and educational environments.
Who does it effect?
Learning disabilities can impact children and adults alike and it’s estimated that 15-20% of Americans are affected by a learning disability. Not only does this make it harder for these individuals to overcome certain challenges, but not everyone receives the help they need.
The signs of a learning disability are most noticeable during early school years, however, not everyone receives the proper diagnosis and may go into adulthood without the resources they need to succeed in their home, school, and work lives.
What can you do to help?
1. Become a Mentor
You don’t have to be a teacher to assist those with learning disabilities. Sometimes people with learning disabilities just need someone to talk to or look up to when life becomes challenging. In fact, Eye to Eye, an organization that focuses on empowering those with learning disabilities, offers mentorship programs that allow you to aid and assist these individuals. Eye to Eye’s mentorship programs focus on boosting self-esteem, confidence, and independence.
2. Spread Awareness
The next best thing you can do is to spread awareness about individuals with learning disabilities. Many of them can overcome their challenges, we just have to break the stigmas that currently surround individuals with learning disabilities.
Most commonly, social and work settings can be challenging, especially for adults who don’t have access to proper assistance. Just by showing your support to these individuals, you’re giving them a brighter future for tomorrow.
3. Give Back
Every school has a special education program, however, many of these programs are understaffed and underfunded. This is difficult for students who have a LD and have difficulties learning in a traditional classroom.
So, why not host a bake sale or community run to raise funds for your local school? These funds can go to buying new books, furniture, or classroom tools aimed at assisting the children in special education programs.
Of course, we recommend contacting your school’s administrator beforehand to avoid any legal issues, but more than not your charitable cause will go a long way.
You can also give back to adults with learning disabilities. In fact, LDA or Learning Disabilities Association of America is looking for volunteers statewide. You can find your local state chapter through an interactive map, and give back to adults who may be struggling with literacy, comprehension, math, or other skills that may hinder their ability to prosper in the workplace.
The more you can give, no matter how big or small, the better our world will be. Individuals with learning disabilities are not failures, and with a little help they can achieve success and overcome daily tasks many of us take for granted.
How can you help someone with a learning disability this month? Share your ideas in the comments below.