LEARNING DIFFERNCES

Adults, children, and teens with learning differences  

Learning differences mean adjustments to everyday life, career, and can make relationships difficult. People make mistakes that are humiliating and then feel misunderstood because they ARE misunderstood. This leads to inevitable depression and anxiety. When children, teens, and adults are highly sensitive, have learning or sensory differences, self-esteem is harder to sustain. Toilet training is harder, playdates are more complicated, playing alone is difficult. Your child may be irritable, have tantrums, be a picky eater, be explosive, angry, controlling, be a perfectionist, have difficulty separating, behaving well with other children, cooperating in school, and with homework. These are only some of the difficulties that might leave you feeling helpless and overwhelmed. This is impossible for any parent to navigate alone. I can help you understand why your teen is angry, withdrawn, controlling, perfectionist, passive, passive-aggressive, underachieving, socially isolated, depressed, and/or anxious or shuts down.  People with learning differences are more vulnerable and prone to anxiety and depression and can develop maladaptive defenses like drawing people into power struggles in order to cope. This leads to more emotional pain in childhood and as a young adult in college and in the work force.

I promise I can help with the challenging behaviors and social and emotional turmoil that feels insurmountable, and prevent failure to launch as young adults.

Many parents are afraid that their child or teen is struggling and they don’t have a handle on what’s wrong, and they think they are bad parents. Often a child’s problems have more to do with their constitutional differences. The best thing you can do to help them is to let them know you understand them, so they don’t feel alone with overwhelming feelings. I can help you understand why he or she is behaving the way they are. When there is a diagnosed or undiagnosed learning disability such as a Language-Based Learning Disability, Attention Deficit with or without Hyperactivity, a Non-verbal Learning Disorder, Spectrum Disorder, or Pervasive Developmental Delay, doing homework, being organized, remembering and developing planning skills suffer, and inevitably cause self-esteem to suffer. Kids and adults are frustrated, feel stupid, and become perfectionistic, angry, and defiant to compensate for feeling inadequate, helpless, and out of control. Since it's impossible to reach a bar of perfection, inevitably people feel like a failure, and are angry at themselves and risk being depressed. Children may become the class clown, seem hyperactive when they are really anxious, become bossy, and later drink or smoke to dull the pain of being different and unable to figure out how to fit in socially. I can help prevent that from happening and make sure development goes smoothly for success throughout the life cycle.

Learning differences can cause underachievement and academic failure, social isolation, and low self-esteem. This is easy to avoid. While children may need speech therapy, occupational therapy, and tutoring, they also benefit from play therapy and later psychotherapy to understand the diagnosis, which does not have to be a life sentence. Whether you are the parent of a child with a learning difference or you struggle yourself, there are ways of overcoming the struggles you experience. In my practice, people come to know and accept that which is challenging, and appreciate and focus on strengths, so that they don’t see themselves as flawed, rather that they just process differently. They come to value themselves for who they are, because of those differences. People with learning differences are often our artists, writers, screenwriters, and musicians. IMAGINE a world without them!

6.1 million children and teenagers have been diagnosed with ADHD and 1 in 59 children are identified with Autism, in the U.S. Genes associated with ADHD and Autism often cause a struggle with sensory processing, organization, and executive functioning difficulty, and challenges with memory. They also have abilities less apparent in the general population such as problems with details and dates, and writing talent, that should be appreciated and respected by us and others, but especially by those who have these differences, to mitigate the frustration of daily life, and the anger and sadness they feel that everything is so hard.

Language-Based Learning Disabilities, including Dyslexia, are seen in 15-20 % of the population. This population may have difficulty with reading, writing, and math calculations, as well as difficulty with coordination and attention.

 

  • Struggling to keep up in school often makes people feel helpless, and unintelligent, even when they are very smart. Self-esteem suffers and causes underachievement. Self-worth is necessary for academic and social success. I know how worried you are about your child’s future. Let’s work together to make sure they feel good about themselves to make the most of all of the other supports you have put in place.

  • I am happy to refer you to terrific evaluators to ensure a proper diagnosis, as well as tutors, and education attorneys when needed.

Non-Verbal Learning Disorders may be just as prevalent as Dyslexia but are often misdiagnosed. Difficulty processing nonverbal cues, body language, facial expression, nuance in conversation, and visual-spatial skills, organization skills, and social skills make life with nonverbal issues extremely difficult.

 

  • Children, teens, and adults can desperately want friends and feel painfully on the periphery, causing isolation and depression. This is incredibly painful to experience and to watch in someone we love. This is actually very easy for me to help with. Please know that I know exactly what to do and how to turn the situation around.

  • If you are an adult struggling with a fast-paced work environment, feeling misunderstood in college, or by your boss or peers, I understand what you are going through. Everything is harder and it takes more time to process and remember and complete tasks. Multi-tasking and establishing and maintaining meaningful friendships and relationships feel frustrating and daunting. I can help you navigate these difficult challenges and help you accept and work with what is hard, and bring your wonderful strengths to the forefront so that you don’t punish yourself and become depressed by what is harder.

Sensory Processing, Non-Verbal Learning Issues, Spectrum Disorders

Many people with sensory processing issues have a host of challenges based on their nervous system either being overloaded and hypersensitive or not registering tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular input. These difficulties regulating sensory input cause people to have difficulty with touch, balance, coordination, handwriting, transitions, and a multitude of other difficulties. While occupational therapists work to improve a balance in the nervous system and coordination, the social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties you or your child may suffer from often go ignored. Self-regulation and affect regulation require a bottom-up and a top-down approach to deal with fight/flight/fright reactions and emotional stress that can result in underachievement and other behavioral compensations that make everyone miserable. I can help break this pattern. Call me today. Don’t hesitate to feel understood and make your life easier.

 

  • Perfectionism and the need to do everything perfectly so that you or your child won't feel like a complete failure makes life very frustrating because nobody is perfect.

  • Transitions are so hard that often the only way to prevent a tantrum or irritability is to preview the day or situation, and it's so hard to know when and how to help facilitate more independence.

  • Is your child or are you irritable or over-react and you don’t know why? It's so perplexing, isn’t it? Actually, there are real reasons for this. I can help you understand what is happening, prepare for it, know yourself and triggers better, and provide tools and strategies to cope with the intensity of feeling and reactions.

  • Do you secretly fear your child’s aggression or your own and have no idea what to do about it?

  • Are you often at your wit’s end, perplexed and rendered helpless by behavior that you just don't understand?

ADHD

Attention Deficit Disorder with and without hyperactivity affects approximately 3-7% of children, and for most, the challenges that one lives with as a child and teenager continue into adulthood if not tended to. Intelligence is not the issue, here. Most people with ADD are smart!  Often ADD or ADHD is misdiagnosed and is either really depression or anxiety. Getting a true diagnosis is very important because medication aside, the therapy is different depending on the underlying issue.

 

  • Do you or your child have difficulty remembering where you put things and lose your keys, homework, folders?

  • Does executive functioning make the organization of assignments, your room, backpack, writing, and life in general really hard?

 

  • Is it hard to focus and concentrate on tasks or have to overlearn?

 

  • Do you forget things?

 

  • Is time management and organization hard?

 

  • Is feeling different and discouraged that what seems easy for everyone else is harder for you or your child so that self-esteem suffers?

 

  • The challenges around focus, attention, and executive functioning often drive us mad, whether it's your child you are dealing with or yourself. The difficulty not only makes others angry and frustrated but you or your child are already feeling awful about yourself, so being yelled at by someone else only makes everyone feel worse and even depressed.

 

ADD/ADHD is incredibly challenging to live with. While some might call you or your child a ditz, secretly, you know you are struggling. DON'T  DESPAIR! I can help you learn strategies to make life easier, and also help with the feelings of self-reproach, maladaptive coping, frustration, and depression associated with this so that you or your child can be more efficient, but also be more accepting and appreciative of your strengths, build self-esteem, confidence, and stop driving yourself and others crazy!

 

Please reach out to me. I DO understand the emotions, behaviors, and can explain them, help parents, and help mitigate them in your child or yourself. In therapy, I bear witness to the struggling and suffering, reduce harsh self-punishing attitudes, help improve self-esteem and self-worth, and help people accept, value, and celebrate themselves. The process is more complicated, but I will explain the roadmap to work through these difficulties. These feelings and behaviors WILL get better.

 

I really can help you or your child or teenager reach your potential to succeed academically and professionally,  to feel good about themself, and to have lasting, meaningful friendships and relationships.

 

I am also happy to refer you to the best neuropsychologists for a proper diagnosis, the best psychiatrists for medication if you choose that route with therapy, interface with school, and provide recommendations for attorneys if necessary.

Adults with Learning Differences

Have you been struggling with self-esteem issues and frustration in the workforce and in your relationships and have inner turmoil that causes you to self-sabotage? You deserve the help you need to finally feel in control of yourself and your life. I am happy to have a consultation with you to see how I can help you deal with the frustration, anxiety, and depression that is inherent to learning differences, help navigate all that is hard, but also help you feel good about your strengths to ensure a meaningful and successful life.

Feel free to contact me for a free initial phone conversation.

I'm happy to think together about how you want to proceed on your own or with some guidance.

Call (914) 632-7111 or email me at sheriperlmantherapy@gmail.com or click here.

Let’s Get in Touch

If you would like to contact me regarding an appointment, you can use the form above,

send an email to sheriperlmantherapy@gmail.com or call 914-632-7111.

Sheri Perlman

OT,  LCSW

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Lower Westchester

Greater New York

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