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LD and Depression
Q: My 14-year-old has LD and no self-esteem. We think she may be depressed. She doesn't have a lot of close friends and says she has no one to do things with. She is very active in sports through school and other kids talk to her, but outside of school she is not socially active. How do we help her with these things? How do we tell if she is depressed or if it is just teenage girl emotions?
A: It would be worthwhile for you to take your daughter for a consult with a psychologist or other mental health worker who is very experienced dealing with adolescents with learning disabilities. Go to your school guidance counselor for a referral, or try the Learning Disabilities Association of America at 1-888-300-6710 to see if there is a branch of this parent advocacy group in your community.
Many children with learning disabilities experience other social/emotional problems. Signs of depression in adolescents should not be ignored. Read Betty Osman's book, Learning Disabilities and ADHD: A Family Guide to Living and Learning Together. She has two particularly pertinent chapters dealing with social and emotional issues of children with LD.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.