There are many successful adults with learning disabilities, but what are the common traits that these people share? A 20-year research study by the Frostig Center in Pasadena, California answered this question and they identified 6 key attributes that contribute to success.
- Self-Awareness: Understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses is an important indicator of success because students can learn to utilize their strong abilities and, with the right support, deficits can be remediated. One of the best ways to define difficulties and talents is by pursuing a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation and then working with a learning specialist or educational therapist on remedial methods and compensatory learning strategies.
- Proactivity: Learning that we can control our future and that we can affect the outcome of our lives is another earmark of future success. Individuals that are proactive make and act upon decisions, assume responsibility for their actions, and are willing to consult with others and weigh options.
- Perseverance: Pursuing goals with repeated persistence despite difficulties is also a common characteristic of successful individuals with learning disabilities. These individuals are resilient, motivated by challenge and continue to refine their approach until they reach their objective.
- Goal Setting: Setting attainable yet flexible goals is another key trait for success. These goals cut across education, employment, family, and personal development and often includes a well-organized and planned approach.
- Support Systems: Supporting, guiding, and encouraging family members, friends, mentors, teachers, therapists, and co-workers are also important indicators of success for individuals with learning disabilities. Yet, as these individuals move into adulthood, they often reduce their dependence on others and usually switch roles to help others in need.
- Emotional Coping Strategies: Learning to manage disability-related stress and frustration as well as avoiding triggers is a final strategy for success. In particular, there appear to be three components of successful emotional coping:
- Awareness of the situations that trigger stress
- Recognition of developing stress
- Use of coping strategies that include
- seeking counseling
- asking for help and self-advocating
- switching activities to manage stress
- expressing feelings
- asserting oneself
- utilizing peer support and encouragement
- learning to ask for help
- planning ahead for difficult situations
- avoiding negative or critical people
- obtaining medication – if necessary
- working through differences with friends and family
- sharing with sympathetic friends and family
Clearly, one of the best things we can do for students with learning disabilities is to provide the nurturing support system and mindful discussions that will help them to develop these key attributes that lead to success.
If you would like to learn more about the Frostig Center study, SchwabLearning.org offers a free Parent Guide which describes each of the six success attributes in greater detail. Here is a link so you can get your own free downloadable copy: CLICK HERE In addition, to read more of the research conducted at the Frostig Center: CLICK HERE
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY. To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com, & www.learningtolearn.biz
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