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> Nitzan Services > Questions and Answers > Miscellaneous Q & A

Miscellaneous Q & A

When dealing with teenagers, sometimes it's difficult for parents to be firm about treatment (whether with pills or any other treatment) when the teen isn't cooperating. How much should we take the teen's opinion or desires into account? How should one relate to and approach the teen with this topic?

In adolescence and also in younger ages, there's space for frank and truthful dialogue with the child. The key to dialogue is the listening that allows the parent to learn the child's points of view and the difficulties he deals with. Through cooperation and understanding it's possible to transform the child into an active partner and plan the proper treatment together with him. The advantages and disadvantages in whichever way he will choose should be considered together with him. When a parent imposes his will on his child, he doesn't gain anything from this and certainly not the cooperation that's so necessary for the success of every treatment. In the "Parent's Coaching Program", we coach parents how to carry out effective dialogue.

Do you think that teachers today in the school system have enough knowledge on the topics of ADHD and learning disabilities?

In our opinion, teachers have a lot of knowledge in the field of learning disabilities and ADHD. On the other hand, many teachers claim that they lack tools to effectively cope in the class with students suffering from learning disabilities and ADHD. The Nitzan Association runs workshops for teachers with the goal of providing tools and skills for dealing effectively with these students.

Is there an empirical connection between the style of school books in the lower grades and learning disabilities problems?

New programs have been developed that speak about such that children need to learn and not just fill out letters. Preventing writing prevents them from developing. Some parents are very confused when the teacher says, "You should go for an evaluation; you'll get an exemption from writing and you'll be tested orally." When talking about extra time on tests, they have to measure the time needed for the student and how much he completes after the extension. Regarding problems with handwriting, practicing writing improves the results. The more we read, the more we come across a good role model, which in the end, helps to improve results.

I'm a home room teacher in middle school. In the 9th grade there's a student with learning disabilities who experiences stress and anxiety before exams and during which she feels pressure in her chest, increased heart rate, crying, difficulty concentrating...can somebody advise me how to help her?

Your willingness to help your student is certainly moving and I'm sure that your student feels how much you're concerned for her. A significant adult at the school is extremely important for the student's functioning and many times the student will remember that adult throughout the years as someone who was ray of light for her during his/her school years.

It's known that many students with learning disabilities suffer from test anxiety. It's important to note that the cause of the test anxiety is the learning disabilities, a result of the accompanying failures and frustrations over the years. Therefore, it's important to evaluate the disability and treat it correctly. Emotional treatment for anxiety isn't enough, since the anxiety is secondary to the learning disability.

We think that in order to help your student in this stage, it's worthwhile to check which evaluations have been performed, what are the recommendations that have been made, and if the recommendations have been implemented. Many times the recommendations written in the evaluation report are not carried out for different reasons. It's also important to stress that providing accommodations on exams is not enough and one should verify that there was in fact treatment given and at the given age mainly, acquisition of appropriate learning strategies in order that the student can bypass the disabilities and to express her abilities in the best way, mainly when approaching the bagrut (matriculation) exams. We'd love to help you later. If necessary, you're invited to call the National Center of The Nitzan Association and to consult with us by phone.

What's your opinion about therapeutic horseback riding? Does it work? Does it treat learning disabilities and ADHD?

Therapeutic horseback riding is one of the ways for working with children that's recognized as helping to cope with emotional issues. Coping with difficulties of different types, also as a result of disabilities or ADHD, almost always, if not always, is accompanied by emotional difficulties like frustration, depression, negative self image, low self-esteem, and so forth, and from here comes the importance of emotional treatment with children and training for their parents.

Therapeutic horseback riding is an example of a method of working with children that has emotional consequences and indirectly affects the academic areas as well.

It's important to evaluate how much the child is interested and responds to this type of intervention and if he doesn't like the riding, to try a different sort of treatment (e.g., music, art, drama...). It's important to stress that the success of the intervention lies in finding a good therapist, who has good chemistry with the child. The difference between horseback riding in general and therapeutic horseback riding is the therapist. The therapist is a person who's qualified for this work and has the talent to transform the riding into a therapeutic tool, just as an art therapist knows how to make use of art to work with the emotional needs and isn't just an art teacher.

The work on the emotional aspects can certainly help the child in coping with the implications of the learning disabilities or ADHD, especially in light of the fact that it's not done directly and doesn't relate to the academic parts in which the child had lots of difficulty and sometimes even resists receiving help because of sensitivity and frustration that he experienced.  For example, the studies of Professor Schechtman from the Haifa University revealed that emotional group work with children improves their academic achievements more than tutoring given for the same amount of time. In summary, we're very much in favor of working with children in ways that relate to emotional needs.

I'm the mother of three children, two soldiers and a 7-year-old boy in first grade. The teacher and school principal recommend that I take my youngest child for an evaluation since he's not focused and doesn't cooperate in class, doesn't want to write, always asks for the teacher or assistant to help him and be by his side, in short, isn't ready to work alone in class and at home refuses to do homework. Tomorrow, I'm supposed to take him for an evaluation, but I'm very worried and anxious; I don't know what's waiting for me. I understand that he has difficulties, but on the other hand he's very intelligent. I understand that he wants to play and have fun and he simply doesn't want to try.

Don't worry about the evaluation. The evaluation will give a current snapshot of your son's difficulties. From our experience over many years at The Nitzan Association, we know that detection and diagnosis as early as possible of children with learning disabilities and matching an appropriate treatment will enable better readiness and integration in the framework of the school's requirements. Similarly, early detection will prevent feelings of failure, anger, and low self-image, with all of the accompanying implications. We applaud you on your alertness to your son's situation and on that you are addressing the issue and turning for help. It's important at the end of the evaluation to go for a summary discussion with the evaluator and request a detailed explanation of your son's difficulties and recommended treatment methods. It's important to remember that the evaluation is only the beginning of the way. Many parents that we meet do not implement the evaluation recommendations in which they invested a large amount of money and this is a pity. It's recommended to go back and refer to the evaluation periodically, see what else was recommended but hasn't been done. In case you'll need guidance and consultation in the future, return to the center that evaluated your son or refer to the Nitzan branch closest to your place of residence.