Evanston resident Myrna Orenstein has issued a third edition of her book, “Smart But Stuck, Overcoming Frustrations from Learning Disabilities.”
A practicing psychotherapist here for 34 years, Ms. Orenstein personally knows the frustration of those who struggle to overcome a learning disability. Sometimes these disabilities go undiagnosed, even into adulthood, while parents and children are at a loss to understand why smart people can not seem to get their work done in school or at the office.
This edition of “Smart But Stuck” uses new information from neuropsychology to understand why some people have disabilities but still succeed, while others are mired in their inability to find the right pathway to success. Ms. Orenstein cites those who “hang in there” and develop the resilience to try and try again until they find the right path to success.
Ms. Orenstein thought that she would become an opera singer and had great experiences in three of Chicago’s finest choral ensembles. But her concern for others drew her to a new area in academics. She found that she had a learning disability (LD), undiagnosed because educators had not yet found the key to unlocking such concerns, and her ability to study this field of clinical social work was testing her, filling her with self-doubt. A supportive family, testing for learning disabilities, and tutors pulled her through.
Ms. Orenstein says that many people in this country (anywhere from 5 to 20% of the general population) suffer from a quantifiable learning disability.
“I feel that I can teach resilience to youngsters with LD and even those in advanced years,” says Ms. Orenstein, who is currently counseling a 94-year-old man. He was able to understand, as his history unfolded, that all the years of forgetfulness was not the fault of his personality, but a possible genetic problem. Seeing a possible attention-deficit disorder in this light has helped him develop a quiet pride about how he managed to compensate and succeed, she says.
There are no absolutes in resolving the problems of LD, because there are so many variations.
This newest edition of “Smart But Stuck” seeks to give families, individuals and businesses additional options to develop resilience and hope for all. It is available through amazon.com.