Many students feel stressed out from time to time, especially in college. In fact, moving through college without encountering any stress is highly unlikely. And while stress is a common experience for college students across the board, some may be more effected than others. At Transitions, we understand that for students with learning differences, managing the stress associated with school can feel overwhelming. Thus, for academic success and overall wellbeing, it is vital to teach effective stress reduction strategies for students with learning disabilities.
Causes of Stress for Students with Learning Disabilities
School-related stress is the most common cause of academic failure among students with learning disabilities. There are several sources of stress students with learning disabilities may encounter throughout their education.
- Peer interactions
- Inadequate social skills
- Academic self-concept – students with learning disabilities often recognize their difference(s) in academic ability in comparison to other students. Being aware of personal areas of poor academic performance can contribute to increased levels of stress.
- Academic environment – academic administrators and teachers may be unaware or insensitive to the struggles of students with learning disabilities, thus not providing those students with adequate accommodations.
Effects of Stress on Students with Learning Disabilities
Students with learning disabilities who experience difficulties related to stress tend to display emotional, behavioral, and/or physiological disruption.
- Behavioral – distractibility, procrastination, avoidance, acting out, withdrawal or social isolation
- Emotional – increased irritability, frustration, and/or nervousness
- Physiological – changes in sleeping and/or eating habits, headaches, gastrointestinal upset
Stress Reduction Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities
- Organization – using calendars, schedules, and lists can be key to staying organized and on task.
- Utilize the academic advisor – meet with an academic advisor to learn about various educational resources (i.e. – tutoring services, writing support, etc.) and assistance available to students with learning disabilities.
- Communicate with professors – being proactive and communicating with professors is an essential part of academic success for students with learning disabilities. This means attending office hours, asking for clarification on assignments when needed, and being open about any course-specific difficulties.
- Relaxation strategies – there are so many ways to actively practice relaxation (i.e. – meditation, breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, etc.). Find one that works best for you and use it daily.
- Know your strengths – knowing your strengths and what you excel at can help promote academic success. For example, if a student knows he or she is better at retaining information through reading, ask the professor for a copy of the lecture notes to take home.
- Break it down –lengthy papers and big projects often feel overwhelming. Butbreaking down assignments into smaller, more manageable steps can be one of the most helpful stress reduction strategies for learning disabled students.
- Healthy lifestyle – establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including adequate sleep, balanced diet, and exercise can help you be less vulnerable to stress.
To learn more about stress reduction strategies for students with learning disabilities, or to find out about Transitions programs, call (518) 775-5384.