They feel different from others and are often less mature than their peers who do not have learning disorders. This makes it harder for them to meet peer expectations.

Teens with learning disabilities battle a sense of isolation and failure. Feeling desperate, some may get involved with sex, drugs or violence to win the acceptance of their peers.

Parents can practice proper social skills with their children:

• Using a chart, with your child, list the kinds of behav-iors your child’s peers exhibit. For example, how they approach members of the opposite sex.

• Examine how your child’s behaviors might be different.

• Rehearse appropriate responses to certain situations—like how to approach a member of the opposite sex; how to respond when someone harasses him; or how to say no to drugs.

• Identify classmates who exhibit positive behaviors. They might be good role models and friends.

• Teach social games and skills such as dancing, bowling or roller skating.

• Encourage your child to pursue what she’s best at. This will enhance her image with her peers, as well as her self-image.

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