Mental Health in Kids with Learning Difficulties

1 in 4 adults suffers from mental health issues. So if emotionally stable grown-ups can't deal with everyday stress, how do evolving children cope?

Mental Health. Everyone agrees it is one of the most important aspects of life. Yet we all tend to ignore it in our day-to-day lives.

We all have defining moments in our lives. And most of them come from our childhood. Start any conversation with a psychiatrist and sooner or later you are going to end up in your younger years. Every childhood is difficult. You either grew up too fast or were the smallest in your class. Maybe you had to wear glasses or braces or, god forbid, Crocs with socks. We all have our skeletons in the closet.

Today isn’t any different. Life is faster than it used to be. Often, nothing but perfection is tolerated. Follow that influencer, wear that skirt, listen to that artist, have the perfect haircut, don’t use that brand of shampoo and forget about the watch you just got for your birthday, it’s lame. Every day. All that while looking at peers’ photos on social media, showing their perfect little lives. Who wouldn’t get stressed out?


Children who have been diagnosed with a learning disability, such as dyslexia, are 200% more likely to be arrested than their neurotypical peers.


Statistically, 1 in 4 suffers from mental health issues. However, that number is far worse when dealing with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD,… So if grown-up, emotionally stable adults can’t successfully deal with stress, how do evolving children with learning disabilities cope with mental health issues?

Turns out, not so great. Research shows, children who have been diagnosed with a learning disability, such as dyslexia, are 200% more likely to be arrested than their neurotypical peers. A whopping 85% of young offenders have some sort of learning disability. Teenagers dealing with learning disabilities are also about 5 times more likely to attempt suicide. And among those who did commit suicide, 89% were dyslexic. Researchers have also looked at prisons and found that about 75% of inmates showed signs of dyslexia.

Surely there is a solution for this?

So why is nothing being done about this? Why isn’t there a systemic solution to this problem?


California spends 13 Billion Dollars / Year on special education. Their success rate is 12,43%


alifornia, for example, is throwing over 13 Billion Dollars into the special education sector every year, yet the failure rate is 87,57%! That means only a bit over 10% of children with dyslexia is functionally literate in 8th grade. The inefficiency of the educational system helps explain the fact that more than half of the mental health problems affecting adults actually start before the age of 14.

The whole of the United States spent more than 77 Billion Dollars in special education every year. That results in about $12,545 per pupil. You would sort of expect some support for that money, wouldn’t you?

Like what you are reading?

The educational system won’t help, what can I do?

Children can successfully avoid all the problems mentioned above with the right support. And yes, the job falls on your shoulders, parents.

Open Communication

The best thing you can do is to encourage open communication. Things are often left unresolved simply because a child may be afraid or uncomfortable speaking about his or her problems. Try to put yourself in the child’s shoes. They are already going through a tough period. Their body is changing, they are already going through a lot, the last thing they need is a learning disability on top of everything else.

When they are diagnosed with dyslexia or a similar issue, they might feel daunted by the obstacle, leaving them feeling insecure and afraid to speak about it. At that point, they need to feel your support. They need to know they can trust you with anything they tell you, no matter how bad it is. So creating an environment that supports open communication is vital for the child to overcome the disability and the psychological issues coming with it.

Help is Available

Sometimes open communication is not enough to overcome challenges related to mental health. In these cases, it is important to understand, mental health issues are nothing to be scared or ashamed of.

This can sometimes be problematic for both parents and children. So try to get the resources available on the topic and introduce your kid to them. You are sure to find some positive coping mechanisms that you can try with your child.

A good place to start looking is among the mobile apps. You can find everything from AI-based therapy solutions to guided meditation apps on both Apple’s AppStore and Google’s Play Store.

Be Proactive

Like with any other issue, the most important thing is to be proactive. Try to “read” the symptoms your kid is giving you and act accordingly. Every child is different, but some of the most common symptoms that something is wrong are low energy, excessive fears, problems with concentration, outbursts of anger, social withdrawal, changes in eating habits. Any one of those can point at declining mental health.

Listen to your child. Get to the cause of the issue. Find the solution. It’s the best you can do.

At the end of the day, the child needs to feel like she is in a safe environment, built on trust.

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