Juveniles Suffering From Learning Disorder



Juveniles Suffering From Learning Disorder

A court that listens to cases of individuals below the legal age has to be careful about their youths’ mental and behavioral state. There are various risks associated with juveniles among them substance use, education deficits, early aggression, and other special disabilities. The kids portray such behavior towards family members, neighbors, or schoolmates. This paper researches the issue of juveniles with learning disabilities.


    Research on crime statics shows that crimes involving juveniles are on the rise. The type of offenses may vary based on the location of the individual. There has been a hypothesis that learning disabilities are related to children’s delinquency. Courts have been established to prevent and divert juvenile delinquency (Antonoff & International Dyslexia Association, 2000). The efforts are important since Both the States and the federal governments have reduced their budget support for juvenile courts. In society, Juveniles are arrested for crimes such as capital offenses and misdemeanors. Studies show that most delinquent juveniles do not perform well in school. They are unable to go through the education system since they have a low IQ. Failure in school leads to rejection by society and schoolmates. Society has a stereotype of students who do not perform well in their studies, which may lead to the lack of self-worth by the juveniles (Mallett, 2012). Individuals with learning disabilities suffer most from te society prejudice, which leads to delinquency.

    Failure in school subjects steers young adults into antisocial behaviors due to frustrations and the lack of self-worth. However, some scholars argue that the learning disability portrayed by adolescent kids, learning disorder is not the lone factor that predisposes them to crime (Siegel & Welsh, 2014). The federal-state provides that a learning disability is a psychological disorder that affects the speaking, writing, and understanding of various concepts in life. Such individuals are unable to speak, think, read, spell, listen, or carry out mathematical calculations effectively. Factors such as environment and cultural background determine an individual’s level of involvement in crimes (Antonoff & International Dyslexia Association, 2000). Additionally, there are risk factors that may incline one towards learning disability. For instance, minority youths in society are more likely to develop learning disorders. Gender, poverty, poor family functioning, and education are the key determiners of learning ability.

    It is normal to find persons with learning disabilities in detention. It is not clear on the number of youths with a disability in America who are in detention due to the lack of research. The only available data are estimates that project the numbers of kids with disabilities. There have been a couple of legal reforms that are aimed at addressing the disorder in juvenile courts. Most of the kids in the justice system suffer from learning disorders, which makes researchers to contend that learning disabilities encourage crime (Antonoff & International Dyslexia Association, 2000). Several arguments have been raised to show why kids with learning disorders frequent juvenile courts. The first is the School Failure Hypothesis that contends that learning disorders predispose an individual to take actions that lead to prosecutable misdeeds. Learning disabilities have been associated with school dropouts, rejection, and lack of confidence (Mallett, 2012). After dropping out of school, kids start to engage in delinquent activities due to peer influence.

    The second hypothesis is the Susceptibility Hypothesis, which suggests that kids with learning disorders face intellectual, neurological, and cognitive difficulties in the society that then contribute to their delinquent and anti-social behaviors. This contributes to their presence in juvenile courts that are meant to deal with the behaviors. Furthermore, kids may suffer from suggestibility, low social skills, the failure to oversee consequences, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

The third argument is based on the differential treatment hypothesis. The hypothesis provides that kids without the disorder also engage in anti-social behaviors, but it is unlikely for them to show up in juvenile courts. This argument shifts the blame to the police, schools, and court personnel since they tend to show more seriousness when kids with learning disorders show certain anti-social traits (Siegel & Welsh, 2014). This develops a pattern where there are more kids with learning disorders in the juvenile court system. Despite the hypotheses, the relationship between delinquency and learning disability is not yet clear.

    Studies prove that it is difficult to determine if an individual suffers from a learning disability. However, if it is established that one is suffering from the disorder, it is possible to determine that the individual has a deficit in processing reality. This can be shown by testing the individual’s thinking, spelling, listening, speaking, and reading abilities. The disorder affects an individual’s sensory integration, attention, cognitive organization, and problem-solving (Mallett, 2012). This affects an individual’s ability to attain his or her maximum potential.

    A kid suffering from mental disorder shows various attributes such as acting without considering the consequences of their behavior. The child is also easily frustrated by small issues and shows no compassion when performing roles given to them. Kids suffering from learning disorder portray poor coordination, slow learning, and have problem problems in motor control (Mallett, 2012). Their brain receives and interprets information differently than normal kids. Also, such kids have a poor memory when remembering the sequence of events, need questions to be repeated, and have poor attention, which affects their normal learning ability.

     The primary causes of the disorders are neurological deficits, birth abnormalities, poor parenting skills, lack of reinforcements, and abnormal EEGs. Juveniles with the disorder portray behaviors such as lying, excessive aggression, stealing, and disobedience. As they grow older, their behavior changes towards drug use, poor verbal skills, and promiscuity. Also, their thinking and perception of the world are different from the normal view. In class, such children perform poorly, argue with their teachers, and are in constant fights with their schoolmates (Mallett, 2012). Their behavior affects their learning and interaction ability, hence undermining their success. This is reinforced by their experiences in verbal abuse, labeling, and authorities bullying.

    Race and social economics also determine a child’s behavior. Kids from a minority group may lack a sense of belonging, which makes them feel alienated from the reality of life. If the school’s setting is in an environment that is different from the kid’s upbringing, it may affect their ability to interact. These present difficulties for the kids to achieve their intended goals in society (Mallett, 2012). Authorities, parents, and teachers may use force to punish the deviant behaviors shown by the kids. This action leads to further alienation of the kid since they are detached from reality. Some scholars have attested that schools contribute to the growth of a child’s behavior since they deny them the right to punish them whenever they go wrong (Siegel & Welsh, 2014). For instance, schools may prevent such kids from expressing themselves in class, which affects their self-esteem.


    Various laws have been drafted to protect the rights of kids suffering from learning disorders. Such laws include the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, the American with Disability Act, and the Individuals with Disability Education Act. These laws ensure that people with disabilities receive justice and the state and federal government help them to rehabilitate (Siegel & Welsh, 2014). The laws prevent an individual’s exclusion based on their disability. Furthermore, the laws set a classification of learning disorder individuals. The laws enable kids with the disorder to access education that is friendly to their mental status. The law broadly defines disability as physical and mental impairments that prevent an individual from interacting freely with others due to the impairment. Their rights are protected in employment, transportation, public accommodations, and telecommunication. The court has the power to determine if a certain individual is suffering from a disability since the ADA does not specify (Mallett, 2012). The Attorney General has the powers to examine prisons condition for the juveniles to determine if the correctional facilities are favorable to the kids with the disorder.

Kids within the country who are in both private and public schools and who face learning disabilities receive special consideration due to their status. Schools ought to identify and examine children to receive special treatment based on their learning disorder and behavior shown. What is more, the state can determine who can refer a child for special education treatment (Mallett, 2012). For a child to qualify for special education services, his or her parents need to be notified by the State so as to consent to the matter. After the consent, there is numerous reevaluation procedure to ensure that the kids suffer from learning disability and needs help. After the kid is selected, a district school is expected to develop an Individual Education Plan for the kid. This measure is meant to ensure that the kid receives the appropriate skills and knowledge based on his or her disability (Antonoff & International Dyslexia Association, 2000). When developing the program, the school has to determine the current level of education the child, educational performance, service to be offered, timelines, objective of the program, and the assessment procedure.

The law also protects children with disabilities by setting out punishment protocols. For instance, a kid with the disorder may be suspended under the same conditions set for a normal child. Any juvenile with the disorder can be suspended to another education setting for forty-five days due to school violation of policies such as selling of illegal substance or carrying a weapon to school (Mallett, 2012). Juvenile court is obligated to collaborate with the school in any court case that involves a kid with a learning disorder.

From the above examination of the juvenile court, it is evident that learning disorders affect a kid’s ability to interact with the society members. Also, the detachment from reality makes it difficult for them to determine the consequences of their intended action. Laws protect such individuals by ensuring that they do face further discrimination from society. Certain behavior such as the inability to read can be attributed to a learning disorder.


Antonoff, S. J., & International Dyslexia Association. (2000). Representing children with learning disabilities in the juvenile justice system. New York: International Dyslexia           Association, New York Branch.

Mallett, C. (2012). Youth with Learning Disabilities: Seven Things Juvenile Courts Should           Know. Juvenile And Family Court Journal, 63(3), 55-71.

Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. (2014). Juvenile delinquency: The core. Belmont: Wadsworth.

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