By: LD OnLine (2003)
A child who struggles in school often also struggles with feelings of self-worth, or self-esteem. Children know when they are not as successful as other children. Often their parents share this message as they compare siblings. Teachers or others who work with them often even reinforce this idea by letting the child see in facial expression or other mannerisms that they expect less of a child with "disability." A child who struggles with a poor sense of self-esteem is often very sensitive to what others say. Sometimes this leads to misperceptions as "anticipated", rather than real, negative perceptions are internalized.
Some children with low self-esteem can seem unmotivated or reluctant to become involved in group activities. They will often say "I can't do it." With a little verbal support and structure as they begin a task delight often follows as they see how successful they can be.
Other children with low self-esteem often externalize their feelings. This means they act out and may often get into conflicts or fights. This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy as they expect to be singled out and given attention when they get in trouble. For some the "bad kid" label is better than letting others know how hard they are struggling with basic academic skills such as reading or writing. When teachers, paraprofessionals or volunteers who work with them in after-school programs catch them being good rather than getting into trouble they too will respond positively.
To make this even more complicated, children with LD, due to the inefficiency of their information processing mechanisms, may misread social cues and intent. Children with ADHD may be so distractible that they do not attend to the full cause and effect sequence of events. They often do not see how a behavior of theirs can result in the response of the other child.