Many kids with learning disabilities also face social and emotional challenges, which in adolescence can lead to depression, anxiety and isolation.
For these youngsters, more positive relationships with the significant adults in their lives — including parents and teachers — can improve learning and “socioemotional” experiences, said Michal Al-Yagon, Ph.D., of Tel Aviv University in Israel.
In a recent study, Al-Yagon reported that teens with learning disabilities were less likely to have secure attachment relationships to their mothers and teachers compared to peers without learning disabilities.
The study, found in the journal of Journal of Youth and Adolescence, suggests the absence of close and supportive relationships can harm a teens’ social and emotional functioning. In turn, this void can contribute to behavioral problems including isolation, depression, and aggression.
“We found that more secure child-adult attachments may act as a protective factor during this developmental period, whereas insecure attachments are a risk factor” for social and emotional issues, Al-Yagon said.
These results could help researchers design more effective interventions for children and adolescents with learning disabilities. Helping to strengthen their relationships with parents and teachers may decrease their emotional and behavioral problems.