Learning Disabilities: How to support your teen

So your teenage son is going to be assessed for learning differences. How do you support him
through this? Well, let's talk about that today on tips on teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm
a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families
to live happier lives. I lead two organizations teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 c
three organization, child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California.
Every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's
answer today's. My teenage son is being tested for Dyslexia. I don't understand. How can he
be Dyslexic if he doesn't mix up letters? The school may also want him tested for Add and ADHD.
What are these conditions, and what should we do if he does, in fact, have one of these learning
differences? Thank you for your question. It's a big, broad question we're talking about today.
So let's jump down through definitions. Dyslexia. Dyslexia is basically

a learning disorder in which it impacts difficulty in reading because of problems recognizing
how speech sounds relate to letters and words. ADHD, which is the big umbrella for all of it,
is attention I'm sorry, attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which can involve heightened
impulsiveness, hyperactivity distractibility, again, is a very big umbrella and can look
a lot of different ways. But these are the two things we're talking about here that sounds like
your child will be assessed for. And what I would recommend first is hold off and let the testing
go through to determine, is it actually Dyslexia? Is it actually ADHD? Is it something else?
Is it visual processing, is it audio processing? It could be any number of things that your kid
may be going through right now. So go through the process, get the testing done, and then evaluate,
because there may be occupational therapy, vision therapy, educational therapy could be
medication recommended. Ultimately, you as the parent will

decide what is best for your child, given the recommendations from the medical professionals
that you consult with. So how do you support your kid through this? Number one, as hard as this
is, be patient this process. Be supportive, emotional support. There's a lot of things going
on, and he may need a lot of support. What he needs more than anything else is to know that you love
him and you're in his corner and that your relationship with him goes beyond this. So what I encourage
you to do is have times where the two of you have quality time, where you just enjoy your time together.
Regardless if his homework is done, regardless if his speech therapy is done, regardless of
all that, you need to make sure that you have quality time where he feels that he is enjoyed by
you, because his emotional well being impacts everything. Who he is now, who he is going to be,
how he sees himself. And the more confidence, the more belief he has in himself, because he sees
that in you, the more he can

hopefully rise up and do all this stuff he has to do to get to where he wants to go, whether that's
passing high school, whether that's college or wherever that is. It's a journey. It's a marathon.
Be patient. He's not going to do this perfectly. You're not going to do this perfectly also,
so be patient with yourself as well. I think it's really important from a parent standpoint
is that you don't forget the relationship between you and your son is paramount because it affects
everything, just like sleep does and food and water. Love and connection is a vital role in the
human experience and human family. So let the evaluators evaluate, consider the recommendations.
Decide if you want to follow those recommendations or you want to get second opinions. If he
is really struggling emotionally, you may want to consider a therapist who works with kids
and teens who can help guide you guys through this. I think that's really important. But again,
the biggest thing is focus on your relationship.

I can't hit that hard enough. Anyways, thank you for your question. If you'd like me to answer
your question here on Tips on teens, email us at tipsonteans@teentherapycenter.com. We also
have a Facebook group called Tips on Teens. Feel free to join us if you want this more prominently
in your feed on Wednesdays at noon. Again. My name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and
the nonprofit Child and Teen Counseling. We look forward to hearing your questions and talk
to you next Wednesday at noon. Bye bye.


So you’re a little confused about learning differences/disabilities? We do a rough breakdown of Dyslexia and ADHD in this Tips on Teens video. But if you’re wondering what you can do to support your kid with learning disabilities it’s not all that different from how we always suggest you support your child. Your teen with learning differences needs you to be patient and emotionally supportive. He or she needs to know at all times that you love them and you’re in their corner. Find a way to make them remember: your relationship with them is way bigger and goes beyond the circumstances of their learning struggles. 


Be sure to spend quality time with them. It’s possible for your kid to be deeply loved, but not feel loved. You can overcome this by connecting with them through doing things together that they like doing. This shows your kid that you enjoy them. For kids struggling with learning, emotional well being impacts everything. A strong connection with you will help them overcome. “My teenage son is being tested for dyslexia. I don’t understand. How can he be dyslexic if he doesn’t mix up letters? The school may also want him tested for ADD and ADHD. What are these conditions and what should we do if he does in fact have one of these learning differences?” “My teenage son is being tested for dyslexia. I don’t understand. How can he be dyslexic if he doesn’t mix up letters? The school may also want him tested for ADD and ADHD. What are these conditions and what should we do if he does in fact have one of these learning differences?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.