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Did you know that kids with learning disabilities are more likely to be rejected and victimized?

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Every morning for more than a year, Tyler woke up anxious and depressed. He hated going to school. He didn’t know why the kids called him “dumb” when he had trouble answering questions in class. He didn’t know why they stole his lunch, hit him when no one was looking and laughed at him when he tried out for the soccer team. He wanted to connect with them but he did not know how. It left him angry and frustrated. 

His exasperated mother said, “We know Tyler is struggling, but what can we do…where can we go?” Fortunately, a teacher recommended Child Development Institute, where our psychologists determined Tyler was dealing with mental health issues complicated by learning disabilities (LDMH).

Tyler joined our Mindfulness Martial Arts (MMA) program, which helps youth (ages 12-18) incorporate yoga, meditation and martial arts into their arsenal of coping strategies. “I’m focusing now on developing my own set of skills instead of winning games,” says Tyler. “I used to think about the past and couldn’t let things go, and then worried about the future and things I couldn’t control. Now I’m learning to think about the here and now.”

Tyler is now excited about the future. He says MMA dramatically improved his social skills and taught him how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. “I actually look forward to getting up in the morning and going to school. I realize now that it’s not about getting rid of the feelings. It’s more accepting that they are there. You notice them but don’t really act on them.”

The relationship between Learning Disabilities and Mental Health (LDMH) is complex. At CDI, we tailor treatment to meet each child’s individual needs. Our MMA program teaches youth to  become calmer, more focused on academic achievement, better able to cope with frustration and often, for the first time, experience a sense of belonging.

LDs are the most common form of disability in Canadian children. Kids with LDs are at greater risk for bullying and victimization, social isolation and rejection, or feelings of loneliness.

Help a boy like Tyler participate in the Mindfulness Martial Arts program by donating today.