disabilities are hidden challenges which refer to the brains’
difficulty in processing information; taking in, storing, and
retrieving information when necessary. There are literally hundreds
of different types of learning disabilities. For example, a
commonly known one is dyslexia, which is the reversal of letters
and numbers. Others include auditory processing problems, conceptual
challenges, organizational difficulties, attention difficulties,
and more. Learning disabilities are not to be confused with
retardation. In fact, many individuals with learning disabilities
are very intelligent.
Individuals with learning disabilities function at different
levels. For example one of my patients was an investment banker
who made a substantial six-figure salary. He had dyslexia
along with public speaking anxiety. Another patient, a recreation
department worker, had a pervasive developmental disorder
where many aspects of her maturation process were affected.
I would not put these two people in the same social or therapy
group; however, they do have something in common.
The dynamic they have in common is as follows: the learning
disability creates internal confusion which leads to a propensity
for mistakes. The tendency for mistakes creates anxiety which
often leads to the need to avoid, which can become a phobia.
The more avoidance is present; the less potential there is
to develop skills in different venues including academics,
relationships, career, sports, performing arts, as well as
“survival” and independence skills. This dynamic
of avoidance commonly creates depression and poor self-esteem.
An amazing pattern is the fact that approximately 50% of
the thousands of individuals with social and performance anxiety,
with whom, my staff and I have worked since 1978 have had
a learning disability. It is rather astounding that this pattern
has yet to be identified in other clinical and research circles.
The earlier that a person understands the nature of their
learning disability the more ability there is to compensate
or make up for the challenge. This is a crucial dynamic in
resolving social and performance anxiety.
- Free video of Sally Raphael Show featuring a number of patients with social anxiety and learning disabilities. ($10.95 postage in U.S. $19.95 outside U.S.)
- Free Introductory CD
- Free social-ability questionnaire
- Free 17-step parenting methodology
- Comprehensive therapy in Great Neck, New York
- Parenting therapy via telephone
- Comprehensive audio self-therapy program
- The book, "Beyond Shyness: How to Conquer Social Anxieties" (Simon & Schuster)
- The Friendship Connection: socialization program for teenagers and adults with learning disabilities and developmental challenges
- "Social Therapy and the Learning Disabled: A 2 1/2 hour seminar on audio tape. (For parents)
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