#BeUnderstood during Learning Disabilities (LD) Awareness Month

In the U.S., 1 in 5 children struggles with brain-based learning and attention issues that affect reading, writing, math, focus and organization. These issues are a lot more common than most people think, and while learning and attention issues may not be as visible as other health issues, they’re just as real. Learning and attention issues are often undiagnosed, and can lead to difficulty in school and later in life.

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These learning and attention issues can cause children to miss school much more than they should. Issues like bullying, feeling out of place and left out, and a general lack of interest in school due to learning and attention issues is not uncommon. Unfortunately, whether a student has an unexcused or excused absence, if they miss even 2 days per month, totally 18 days per year, they are considered chronically absent.

Many learning and attention issues go undiagnosed because parents, teachers and the other adults in their lives misunderstand what is actually going on. They often times have a hard time understanding their issues due to misconceptions and a lack of information and resources. As a result, children with learning and attention issues often face both academic and social challenges. There is nothing wrong with a diagnosis of a learning or attention disorder, it is much more common than people realize. Yet, again, it is going undiagnosed year after year.

Children who are chronically absent in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are less likely to read on grade level by the third grade. Students who cannot read at grade level by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In support of Learning Disabilities (LD) Awareness Month in October, Understood.org has launched the new #BeUnderstood campaign to generate awareness about learning and attention issues and encourage people who are seeing or experiencing signs of learning and attention issues to visit Understood.org, learn about these issues, and take that crucial first step in getting their kids the help they need to thrive in school, at home and in life.

If you are a parent struggling with children who have learning and attention issues that are causing them to miss school, the Absences Add Up campaign directs parents and community members to AbsencesAddUp.org, where they can find information about the importance of school attendance and resources to learn how to help children who are struggling in school, being bullied, managing chronic illness, or addressing mental health challenges.

With the right diagnosis, parents and teachers are better able to understand what their children are going through. This leads to a better understanding of the help that they need in order to be successful. When a child is able to fully understand and overcome whatever struggles they are facing, they will finally feel normal. They will have a higher self-esteem, feel more in line with their peers, and may even learn that they love attending school.

If you are a parent, a friend or family member who thinks that a child might be going through learning and attention disorders, you are not alone in this. Please help me and others educate parents, families and teachers about the signs that are staring them right in the face. Understood and Absences Add Up have resources for everyone to learn how to help these kiddos with whatever challenges they face.

If you think your child might have a challenge with learning, please do not wait. Every second counts.

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About Melissa

Written by Melissa Angert, editor of this fashion blog and author of Girlymama. You can also find her on Twitter as Melissa Angert. She is a mom of 3 living in Providence.