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Everyone agrees that a certain amount of stress or pressure can provide a sense of urgency to meet a deadline. When the deadline is met, the stress is relieved. In other instances, people avoid a stress by choosing not to travel by plane, for example. In medicine, it is well known that chronic stress has an impact on health. Chronic back pain, headaches, sleep disturbance, heart disease and depression can be linked to long-term exposure to ongoing stress.

Children also experience stress. Sources of stress could include the spelling test on Friday or the championship soccer game this weekend. A major source of chronic stress for children with learning challenges and ADHD stems from the simple act of going to school every day. 

How can being in school all day, which is a normal experience for children, result in chronic, possibly debilitating stress for students with LD or ADHD? These students are placed in an environment in which they experience failure, in some form, every day. The source of the stress may be issues unrelated to knowledge, like finding out you misread test questions or did the wrong problems for math homework. Now you have an undeserved poor test grade, or you are behind in your math homework.

Often neither the teacher nor the student really knows what the problem is. Neither has an accurate sense of the student’s learning challenges or cognitive strengths. And students aren’t able to develop coping strategies for their particular learning challenges on their own. They need guidance and support from the adults around them – teachers at school and parents at home.

On March 23, 2017, Dr. Jerome Schultz will discuss with parents the implications of chronic stress for students with ADHD and LD, and offer strategies that can stop this self-defeating cycle. A former Special Education teacher, Dr. Schultz offers a unique, yet practical perspective on the chronic challenges facing our children in school, and how to help them cope with confidence. Join us at Xavier University’s Cintas Center by registering now.

Blogger Mary Ann Mulcahey, PhD, shares her expertise in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and ADHD, and the social/emotional adjustment to those issues. If you have questions, please contact Mary Ann at mmulcahey@springer-ld.org.

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