“My son is not confident”, says a concerned Mom at a picnic I’m attending. She goes on to say, “He seems to have difficulty understanding what people are saying and responding to them in an appropriate time frame, so he is struggling in college.”unicaLanguage-based learning challenges are lifelong. They do not cease at the completion of high school. From work environments to socializing with peers, poor speech and language skills interfere with everyday life. Even students, with relatively mild problems can feel held back by communication challenges. Imagine wondering everytime you spoke to someone if you would understand and be able to respond in a timely manner. It would feel similiar to being in a foreign country and knowing the language, but only understanding some of the conversation. It’s incredibly draining, isolating, and frustrating.
Much research has demonstrated that students with learning disabilities experience emotional distress related to their difficulties. Students with learning disabilities tend to have higher levels of emotional concerns, such as depression, loneliness, and low self-esteem, than do their peers without disabilities.(Understanding Children’s Hearts and Minds)
Research suggests a relationship between learning disabilities and emotional distress exists. However, as a therapist working with children, teens, young adults, and adults everyday, it is clear that challenges in speech and language cause people to limit their career choices, quit or do poorly in school, and avoid learning opportunities.
In spite, of being a college student, short-term goal-oriented therapy for this young man will be helpful. Without support, untreated speech and language challenges may create anxiety, fear, and depression. Learning to understand his language strengths to help mangage his weaknesses and acquiring tools to navigate his challenges will help him become a confident communicator.