Can Learning Challenges be Fixed with a Pill?
With our extensive background in diversified training techniques, the TELLAL team knows how important nuance is in the way we all learn. From children to adults, the way we train and educate continues to evolve. As we expand our understanding of how we learn, the industry has recognised the value of shedding the ‘one-size-fits-all‘ approach. By partaking in global discussions on adapting methodologies to accommodate learning needs and creating more effective pedagogies, we can exceed expectations and outcomes when it comes to training. But what about those with learning disorders or challenges? What steps can be made to support youth and adults with more bespoke training? Is that enough? Is medication the key to overcoming learning obstacles? We wanted to take the opportunity to delve a bit deeper into a topic that doesn’t get talked about enough and what we can do when faced with learning challenges.
What are Learning Challenges?
There are a variety of different learning challenges or disorders that an individual can experience. Typically a “learning disorder is an information-processing problem that prevents a person from learning a skill and using it effectively”. They are also most likely to affect those with average or above average intelligence. As a society, we are much more aware of learning difficulties in children and many schools now possess the knowledge and procedures to accommodate them. Learning challenges can present in areas such as reading, mathematics, writing and non-verbal skills, though not necessarily in all of them. When caught or diagnosed early enough, many learning disorders can be effectively managed or even cured. Identifying those with these challenges as neurodiverse, helps to reduce the stigma associated with them and underline their link to how we absorb and process information, not overall intelligence. But our evolution in support for children in recent times has left a gap when it comes to adults. Many individuals in the older generations will have suffered with unrecognised learning issues throughout their life. For these people, their struggles during their formative educational years may have continued to haunt them during professional development training or courses. They may be silently frustrated by a seeming inability to understand and retain information in the same way as colleagues. One of the most commonly undiagnosed learning challenges in adults is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), that causes inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. In adults, it often results in an inability to concentrate, a tendency to veer from one subject to the next too quickly, sleeping issues and over-active cerebral distractions. Another common undiagnosed learning disorder that adults can experience is dyslexia. Presenting in many different forms, adults may suffer from dyslexia if they have trouble spelling or pronouncing words, are slow to understand jokes or learn new tasks or take an unusually long time to complete tasks with trigger attributes.
To Medicate or Not to Medicate?
When children or adults suffer from a particular learning challenge, the question is often raised over whether to medicate that individual to alleviate or cure the issue. Sometimes the learning disorder might be relatively mild, although its long-term effects are detrimentally accumulative. In this case many parents would opt to avoid medication for their child and an adult may consider it unnecessary as much of their everyday life is unaffected. In some countries around the world, prescribing medication for potential learning disorders has become all too common and is sometimes seen as a quick fix, when a more thorough examination might result in a different diagnosis. But medication can be highly effective for children and adults. When an individual feels stifled in their attempts to learn, especially in comparison with their contemporaries, it can be extremely alienating and take a toll on their mental health. When a small pill has the ability to bring clarity and allow an individual to connect more with the material, it can seem like an obvious fix. What needs to be taken into account is the individual’s specific needs, their personal circumstances and a desire to avoid unnecessary long-term medical dependence.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering with a learning challenge, there are non-medicinal ways in which you can get help. Here are some of the methods that could be highly successful in managing and reducing the impact of a learning disorder:
Alternative Treatment: Depending on the type of disorder, there are a range of lifestyle changes and treatment options that could be effective with children and adults. Typical examples would include more appropriate nutrition, regular exercise, exploring the benefits of Neuro Linguistic Programming and routine setting
Tailored Assistance: For young children, a specialist tutor or learning disability educator could help to improve their academic experience and journey by identify their unique issues and tackling them accordingly. For adults, additional help could take the form of extra time allowances for courses, mentor engagement or bespoke training methodologies
Technological Support: We are lucky enough to live in a world that is driven by technology and advancements in software that can drastically improve our ability to educate and train. Many different programmes exist that can adapt information to suit the needs of the leaner so they can stay on track and on schedule. This type of software allows schools, institutions and companies to provide more tailored options to accommodate a wide range of learning issues