Dating someone with an LD


#1

Hi,

My girlfriend has a learning disability, and even though she hasn't told me what type or much about it she has told me, at least, that she has lots of trouble with math. I've also observed that she is reading at about a 9th or 10th grade level, and she has some difficulty writing/typing. She is, however, taking piano lessons but is still at a beginner level (yet still knows more than me!)

I'm pretty much the complete opposite of her intellectually, but I have great empathy for her LD as I understand the limitations of acquiring knowledge. I care for this girl very much and would like to understand as much as I can about her LD so that I can understand her a little better and how to best relate to her.

We haven't spoken extensively about her LD, and even though we have a very honest, upfront relationship I'm hesitant to bring it up or ask. I don't know how sensitive she is to it - but I suspect I'm more sensitive about it than she.

Any advice is appreciated as this is pretty unfamiliar territory for me. I don't know hardly anything about LDs. Are there different types? Will one literature suffice for all types? What type of literature is available for understanding adults with LDs? How should I approach a conversation with her about it?

And please forgive my ignorance.


#2

Don't confuse a learning disability with intellectual capacity.

Just because the words are swimming on the page doesn't mean the person can't be "smart". That's the first thing to learn.


#3

There are a vast variety of learning disabilities. They are not all equal and many do not equate to lower IQ's.
She could simply have a form of dyscalculia or math disability , a form of dyslexia (language disability).
Some can be caused by brain injuries, some genetic.

If you are interested, then ask in a loving and sensitive way. I was struck by your sentence "I'm pretty much the complete opposite of her intellectually, but I have great empathy for her LD as I understand the limitations of acquiring knowledge".

Do not assume she has a low IQ.

I have a few learning disabilities. I have ADHD, mild reading dyslexia and cannot tell left from right. That may seem like a joke, but I feel my inability to distinguish left from right is the most debilitating for me.

One can have a leaning disability and be highly functioning in society and have a fabulous career. None of my disabilities have hindered my career.


#4

[quote="jrabs, post:3, topic:184513"]
I was struck by your sentence "I'm pretty much the complete opposite of her intellectually, but I have great empathy for her LD as I understand the limitations of acquiring knowledge".

Do not assume she has a low IQ.

One can have a leaning disability and be highly functioning in society and have a fabulous career. None of my disabilities have hindered my career.

[/quote]

Thank you.

And these are the types of biases I would like to overcome. I know so little about learning disabilities that I guess my own mind can't get around the idea that people with LDs are also intellectually disabled, which isn't true. In her case, however, I do sense that we're intellectually different, but I don't say that condescendingly or demeaningly -- we just are in certain respects -- and I think this *may *stem from her how she receives/processes information.

It's my own biases at play, but when I see someone who has difficulty with math and reads at a lower level than myself, I cannot help but make the association that she's intellectually disabled when she's truly not. (I feel like I'm walking on eggshells typing this.)

I like her for her, and I really just want to understand where she struggles in life. I guess the best policy is just to approach this subject delicately with her.


#5

Educational laws change and adapt but the old model, still in use in most places I believe, is that to be officially Learning Disabled as defined in a school setting is to have a significant discrepancy (difference) in Intelligence (IQ) versus achievement (Reading, Writing, or Math performance). In other words, a person with an IQ of 115 performing at the...25th percentile in Reading could (based upon need for services) qualify. Sometimes the word is overused and just in general refers to a myraid of issues.


#6

You may find that people who have a deficiency in one skill set often have a brain that overcompensates for it in another capacity. So, if she is bad at math she may be very creative or have really good social cues or emotional intelligence. So, she may not be a math professor one day, but if she is encouraged to find a niche, she can truly excel. You may also find yourself enchanted by the approach she takes to things since they are different from your own. Many entrepreneurs have learning disabilities and it their ability to think outside the box as a result of having to compensate for their disability that leads them to ingenious ideas and approaches. So, instead of taking the approach of figuring out what is lacking, take the approach of learning from her.


#7

I have two LD's, Dyslexia and ADD and a bit of hearing problem. I, however, am a published writer (when someone proofs my work) and very creative. My handwriting is impeccable. I cannot spell to save my life. My reading level is probably at most 6th or 7th grade, HOWEVER, I have a great comprehension level overall...so if I wanted to study advanced chemistry and had it read to me by someone who was good at annunciation and the text to follow along I'd understand every word.

Reading out loud is a nightmare for me, even if its just reading the description of a burger. But I could reproduce the above burger (or most dishes) with a simple sampling of the flavors.

As far as math. I still can't tell time on a "face clock" without a struggle. I stink at math when it's written down. But I can divide multiple digit numbers by three digit numbers in my head as well as figure pii, area and multiply large numbers....all in my head. Once its written down it becomes a tangled mess.

I also have a very high "over-qualify for Mensa" IQ.


#8

I'll come from a different angle. I know when you start out in a relationship with someone, it is really exciting to get to know them and to learn everything about them. I remember that with my husband. Slowly but surely, you will learn more and more about her, and I say enjoy this time of exploration. I know you are eager to learn more about her LD, but try to savour it, do you know what I mean? :)


#9

I had at least a couple of forms of dyslexia as a kid. Those were coordination issues, from micro to macro. To this day I can’t skate much or bike at all and learning to tie my shoes was a nightmare. I would write letters in mirror reflection, I would confuse the letters standing for similarly sounds or letters visually similar to each other… In fact, even these days, when I try to write by hand, quite often the letter I write is not the letter I wanted, let alone I can’t get a consistent writing style (different shapes of the same letters all over). Spelling was hard when I was starting school. Had some problems with grammar, too. Or syntax. Or style. I just didn’t seem to do grammar and syntax the way most people did, affecting declination, conjugation, word and sentence formation in a myriad of ways. I was also bad with prepositions and prefixes…

…Several years later, the teacher would ask me if she didn’t know. :wink: I ultimately finished law and I currently work in linguistics (despite not having a degree in it), while “finalising” my law Ph.D./SJD (whatever my degree will translate as, it being 9 years of law total).

Oh, and I had a consistent problem with maths from some point onward. I still calculated things faster than teachers did and so on, I just had a problem doing things their way, as in writing things down and out etc. Later, I developed a real problem with it, possibly because of hating the subject and the teachers’ terror. In the end, my last grade in maths was a bare pass and two grades below the next lowest grade (and that was the same year when I came on top of my class in a maths mock final largely due to tasks requiring material we *hadn’t *covered). I barely passed the logic exam at law because of all the algebra/geometry-like stuff there, correcting good answers into bad ones, but fortunately the time ran out.

I don’t even know what kind of IQ I have, it’s so messy with my brain. :stuck_out_tongue: I’ve got everything from 110 to 166 and I suppose every score is as good as the test in which it was given. :stuck_out_tongue:


#10

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