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Learning Disabilities

Friends and FeelingsFrustration Is Frustrating

One of the most common results of social problems for the person with LD is frustration. Frustration is a deep sense of distress at not being able to solve a problem or not getting something you need. Because most people with LD have average or above average intelligence, their minds tell them that they should be able to play a board game or find a key. They may be frustrated when they don't succeed. When someone is frustrated, what is the person likely to do? Frustration usually leads to anger.

When angry, some people turn the anger inward. They blame themselves and become depressed. This is the loner in the cafeteria who turns down offers to eat with others. This is the girl who stays in class during assemblies and pep rallies to do homework. This is the boy who never talks to anyone.

Other people, when angry, blame everyone else. This is the kid who yells at her teacher for a bad grade or hits someone after he stumbles over his own foot. Sometimes such kids become known as troublemakers. It's hard for them to keep friends because they're always angry.

Why So Serious?

Why is the problem of frustration so serious? Think about these facts. About 40 percent of students with LD drop out of school. Thirty to 50 percent of American youth and adults convicted of crimes have learning disabilities. About 40 percent of teenagers who commit suicide in the United States and Canada were previously assessed as having a learning disability.

The constant frustration of not achieving as much as others wears down emotional resources. Since the disability is invisible, it is often overlooked because the person denies the disability or fails to let others know about it. The person worries in silence rather than asking for or accepting support. Help shrinks; frustration grows.

Other people with LD learn to laugh at themselves as a way of handling frustration. They turn their feelings into humor. A number of successful comics have a history of learning disability and are remembered by classmates as “class clowns.” Classmates like to be around someone who makes them laugh—but class clowns are not always popular with teachers.

Other young people blame themselves and become profoundly depressed. Depression is a serious state of sadness that gets in the way of working or studying or living well. Tragically this severe frustration may end in a suicide attempt. Sooner or later, almost all young people with LDs seek to avoid the pain and frustration of their disability. Too often they use alcohol or other drugs to numb their pain.

Today young people, along with the help of parents and teachers, are learning that counseling—and often medicine—can help them to cope with the frustration they feel and the ways in which they express this frustration.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaLearning DisabilitiesLearning Disabilities - Friends and Feelings - Getting Along With Others, Frustration Is Frustrating, School And Community Can Help