My brother’s case: Detecting attention and learning disabilities in children

learning-disability-young-children

My brother is 27 years old this year. Ever since he finished college, he has difficulty landing a job. He would go to interview one after another only to receive that perfunctory remark “we’ll call you,” and yet receiving none. He has probably lost count of the interviews he has been into.

Although he doesn’t say it, I know those rejections are painful to him. There are probably times when he wanted to give up hope. While it’s also painful for me to witness what is happening to him, I couldn’t blame the companies for not considering him: my brother finished his bachelor’s degree in almost ten years.

Looking back when we were younger, my mom would always plead to my brother to take his studies seriously — sometimes in tears. In fact she would be more than happy to receive a card filled with 75s. To my mom, for as long my brother passed all his subjects, she’s already happy and contented.

But sadly for all of us, that was not the case. No amount of pleading and begging could make my brother achieve my mom`s little plea. So year after year, my mom would go to our school, and talk the teachers and principal into giving him added requirements for his subjects. It had always been like this with my mom and my younger brother.

Both my brother and I went to a catholic private school in which my parents paid expensive tuition fees. And having completed a coursework in intelligence assessment, where I evaluated two academically challenged, high school boys in a public school, I couldn’t help but look back and wonder: why didn’t the school thought of having my brother assessed intellectually and attentionally? Why? Haven’t they noticed that something is wrong with my brother?

Last month, after Yesha had her yearly evaluation with our homeschooling provider, one mother received a request for psychological assessment for her son. The evaluator who gave the request used to be a preschool teacher, apparently she has observed something different with the  son. The boy was only in kinder 2, yet the people in our homeschooling provider has already detected something. Which made me asked again: why didn’t anybody  in our school detected something with my brother? Why? Why? Why?

If our school has detected something and referred my parents to a psychologist, my parents could have availed a psychological assessment for my brother. If there is psychopathology, they could have been educated about his situation; they could have understood and emphatized with him; they could have done an early intervention which is vital. My parents wouldn’t have told him “batugan,” “bobo,” “good for nothing.” And my brother would have been spared from years of emotional pain, frustrations and disappointment.  He would not suffer from low self-esteem, low self-worth, and low self-confidence. Probably by now, he would have learned how to manage his diagnosis successfully and wouldn’t get stuck in a pit of one rejection after another. But it’s not just about getting an employment, it’s also about living his life to the fullest.

Going back to the homeschooling mom who was asked to have her son assessed. Oh my was she enraged! She chastised the evaluator for a good two hours. She probably felt insulted for the request. But really? It’s not about her ego, it’s about her son. She is doing that little boy a disservice for denying and ignoring that request. She was just probably thinking of herself.

So to moms who are actively involved in their children’s lives, if you observe something deviant in your child’s behavior, or if you were asked by the school teachers to see a psychologist, please heed to their advice and do so. It’s for your child. You’re not only helping him now, but you will also be helping him in his future.

To end, here are the signs to look for according to Mayo Clinic:

  • Has difficulty understanding and following instructions
  • Has trouble remembering what someone just told him or her
  • Lacks coordination in walking, sports or skills such as holding a pencil
  • Easily loses or misplaces homework, school books or other items
  • Has difficulty understanding the concept of time
  • Resists doing homework or activities that involve reading, writing or math, or consistently can’t complete homework assignments without significant help
  • Acts out or shows defiance, hostility or excessive emotional reactions at school or while doing academic activities, such as homework or reading

If you see these signs, please educate yourself and help your child.

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