11 Facts About Athletes with Learning Differences

  1. Kids with learning differences are smart – often really smart.  They just have a weakness in processing language and/or numbers.

  2. Learning differences affect way more than reading, writing and math. They also show up in how kids interact, listen, move and feel about themselves.

  3. A learning difference can look like ADHD. Hallmarks are a a short attention span, fidgeting, disorganization, difficulty following directions, a poor sense of time.

  4. They really can’t remember what you said – even if they were listening. This often results from a weakness in short-term memory.

  5. Multi-step oral directions can be impossible.  With challenges in short-term memory and attention, plus general overwhelm, only the first step sticks.  

  6. They can sound like they’re lying when they’re not.  They often misremember the order of events or have trouble following a conversation. It’s not lying – it’s really how they remember it.

  7. They don’t interrupt out of rudeness.  They can struggle to get their thoughts out – and if they get interrupted they often lose the thoughts all together.

  8. They can struggle with left and right and telling time.  Orienting directions like up, behind, above and below can also be challenging.

  9. Their abilities can be inconsistent from day to day.  This does not mean that they aren’t trying when their communication or performance is “off”.

  10. They often lack confidence and are anxious.  This comes from a constant fear of being discovered or embarrassed.

  11. They often hide their differences out of shame or fear.  Many will be too self-conscious to admit that they couldn’t read the playbook, the team rules, the next set, the registration form etc.