Resources for Struggling Teens

    Resources for Struggling Teens, " And So On" Blog by Jena Young 


    Most of the students that RiSE interacts with have overcome and preserved through their learning differences and have gained insight and become more self aware in the process. It has been a long road for their families, but since we are awarding scholarships to students heading to college and on the next steps, we mainly ( and gratefully) hear their success stories.


    I am writing today for the students that are struggling and need additional help that their school or family is unable to provide.


    Sometimes this happens from behavioral issues, trauma, depression and other issues that need to be addressed. Since there are not many resources for this, I felt the need to pass the information along. I am doing so more as a mother than the Co Founder of RiSE; however, we do realize many students have learning differences and many have not yet been remediated or discovered before the child needs additional support.


    If your child is struggling with this, I certainly empathize and hope some of these links are helpful. I do not know the cost and at this time RiSE is not financially awarding or giving grants in this area. Please contact them directly to discuss if this is a good fit for your situation.



    The Amen Clinic for Spect and Brain Scans- They have thousands of scans and are able to see if there is a brain injury, concussion, ADHD, and even overactive areas of the brain that supplements, neurofeedback, medication, meditation and exercise could greatly and positively impact.




    Hayes, Davidson and Associates – Intervention and Rehabilitation Placement

    Maureen Grady at In Mind Collective, Atlanta therapist:

    Evoke Wilderness Program


    Aspiro Wilderness Program


    Outward Bound- Look for specific weeks for troubled teens.


    NATSAP National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs


    NAMI National Association for Mental Illness


    Not my Kid website. Their mission is to: Empower and educate youth, families, and communities with the knowledge and courage to identify and prevent negative youth behavior.



    The “And So On” Blog by Jena Young


    Jena Young is an advocate for students who learn differently and the Co-Founder of RiSE Scholarship Foundation, Inc.

    The advice in this blog is from her personally and not intended as professional advice from RiSE. 












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    LD Teens & Risk for Depression, Behavioral Problems and Substance Abuse

    AND SO ON ...... Blog by Jena Young, Co - Founder of RiSE Scholarship Foundation, Inc.

    Addiction is something most parents fear, for good reason. The connection of addiction and LD is not very well researched and not often discussed which causes much shame for the families and the students. This is a real issue. The statistics are concerning. As the Co-Founder of RiSE, which is a scholarship and non profit organization that raises awareness of LD, I also read 100’s of personal essays per year from LD kids. This experience along with the growing epidemic of drug abuse in the country weighs on my heart.


    Many LD students have diagnosed depression and have been bullied; many struggle with feeling less than, especially if they are in traditional school settings that are not able to support their needs. These experiences can impact their self-esteem and put them at risk along with some of the impulsivity caused by ADHD and poor judgment from executive functioning.


    Not all of our student applicants or award winners have struggled with this, but it is worth addressing and bringing to light. I feel that as we go through things and learn lessons as parents, the value is to pass along any information that may help someone else during their journey and hope that we all as a community can change the awareness of LD and addiction as well as find remediation’s that can change the outcomes for the better. I suppose that is the real backbone of starting RiSE,  in hopes to talk about what opportunities there are for help and also to share success stories and inspire others through the student’s own stories.


    As I began researching the LD statistics years ago, I knew that many people that were incarcerated had a learning difference. I always have been intrigued by this and wondered if they had gotten the appropriate help and early intervention, would it have been different for them.


    • 31% of LD kids are arrested within 3-5 years after they leave school. (1)
    • 50% of criminal offenders have LD (2)
    • Substance abuse overlaps significantly with learning disabilities and behavioral disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. (3)
    •  Learning disabilities affect 10.8 million children in the United States. (4)


    So, what can we do to help this? I am hoping the intervention at an earlier age for LD and teachers being aware of the different possible learning differences will have an impact. Mainstream teachers learning how to detect an LD (whether it be a language disorder, reading, math, processing etc.. ) and knowing the signs is essential. This is done by educating the teachers (not only special ed. teachers, but all educators) and having a schools that are open and willing to take the measures to help each child individually.


    It also requires that public and charter schools have the resources in place to be able to accommodate the needs of the student body. Also it is about parents getting involved and the community as a whole embracing that each child learns differently and reduce the shame attached to both LD, depression and addiction.


    From my experience the education is a huge foundational piece, of course, but in addition ( if needed) adding therapies to help each child be comfortable with himself and his surroundings. This may include helping with the sensory issues, social skill training and looking at triggers from diet and allergies which can exacerbate the behavioral issues. Aside from those, outside of school having emotional therapy available (DBT, Art therapy, adding ways of coping with anxiety ) and addressing any mental issues which affect the brain chemistry is also is just as important.

    Additionally recognizing shame is often a big stumbling block for parents to ask for help and to discuss treatments, accommodation and other parts of all of these issues. The more all of this is  discussed and the more information is shared, the more we all can benefit from what is helpful and how to overcome these statistics.


    Here are some helpful topics to links and topics for researching:



    My next blog will include some resources for students that are no longer thriving in the traditional setting of school and may need more intensive work for their behavioral challenges. As always, these are my personal opinions and suggestions.


    Resources for above statistics:

    • Wagner’s , 1991 National Longitudinal Study
    • Nancy Cowardin, ABA
    • 3. & 4. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University



    The “And So On” Blog by Jena Young


    Jena Young is an advocate for students who learn differently and the Co-Founder of RiSE Scholarship Foundation, Inc.

    The advice in this blog is from her personally and not intended as professional advice from RiSE. 

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    deer valley viewGratitude, we hear so much about this now in current readings and newscasts. We hear this from many spiritual and religious practices and from psychologists and counselors. We realize that being grateful puts things and situations in perspective. By searching for gratitude, we can find the “silver lining” and worth from our experience whether it was something we enjoyed or an adverse situation where we had to overcome obstacles and dig deep to find our strength and patience.

    This year the main essay for our RiSE Scholarship Award application is based on this topic. Applicants are asked to express their experience with gratitude in regards to their journey with learning differently.

    I have personally seen my perspective change when that is the way I am interpreting things, is this case with you? I have seen that if I recall the times where I have had to work hard to overcome a situation (an IEP meeting that I had to research because I knew nothing about what to ask for, a project that was tough for my child to complete, a time where we had to homeschool because there was not an acceptable option) that there is always a small thread of thankfulness. I can accept it may not have been something I would have chosen, but usually during those times I have shown my child that I am on their team. I am supportive of him or her. I have maybe even shown a teacher or school staff another option or way of looking at a child with a learning difference.

    Of course the idea of your child (as well as you or your family) having a difficulty is not what we would have planned, however, being as it may we can reframe the idea. We can change our perception of it. We all have that opportunity. As parents and students with adversity, we all have that gift.

    The culture is changing. Educators are realizing the need for teaching alternatively. It may be a slow process, but change is occurring. With each of our success stories and our personal insight on what might work better and what is helpful for our student a shift is taking place.

    I can recall many gifts I have received through these years since my children's diagnosis (es). I can, of course, recall things I do not care to repeat, but those also were lessons in themselves. Also I realize that gratitude takes time to look back and reflect. It is not found while in the midst of the crisis, the calls from school, or when in the middle of the storm. It comes from time passed and seen more clearly with baby steps of success.

    I would love to hear how you have reflected on learning differently with gratitude. Has it given you an opportunity or a character trait that has helped you? Have you learned things you would not have known without this experience? Feel free to email us at

    The “And So On” Blog by Jena Young


    Jena Young is an advocate for students who learn differently and the Co-Founder of RiSE Scholarship Foundation, Inc.

    The advice in this blog is from her personally and not intended as professional advice from RiSE. 









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    What are you doing this summer?

    photo[1]Using your Summer Break to Possibly Help with College Applications It’s not too late! It may be mid summer, but use these hot summer’s days to get a job, volunteer, attend a mission trip …..all to help your college application.

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    Managing Anxiety for Students

    jeep with yoloI have been increasingly aware that  many of the students that RiSE interacts with (that have been diagnosed with learning differences and ADHD ) seem to have a higher likelihood of having anxiety. We know this is true statistically,  but seeing it firsthand in our student’s stories has heightened my awareness.

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