Parents want their child to excel in academics and when they don’t get an optimum result they tend to blame the child or teachers or the school. Parents and teachers need to know about learning disabilities before they label the child as lazy, dull or not interested in studies. While every kid has trouble with homework from time to time, if a certain area of learning is consistently problematic, it might indicate a learning disorder. By understanding about learning disabilities, a child could get the right help to overcome classroom challenges and succeed in life.
Learning disabilities, or learning disorders, are an umbrella term for a wide variety of learning problems. A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation, in fact, most are just as smart as everyone else. Their brains are simply wired differently. This difference affects how they receive and process information. Simply put, children and adults with learning disabilities see, hear, and understand things differently. This can lead to trouble with learning new information and skills and putting them to use. The most common types of learning disabilities involve problems with reading, writing, math, reasoning, listening, and speaking.
Learning disabilities look very different from one child to another. One child may struggle with reading and spelling while another loves books but can’t understand math. Still another child may have difficulty understanding what others are saying or communicating out loud. The problems are very different, but they are all learning disorders. It’s not always easy to identify learning disabilities. Because of the wide variations, there is no single symptom or profile that you can look to as proof of a problem. However, some warning signs are more common than others at different ages. If you’re aware of what they are, you’ll be able to catch a learning disorder early and quickly take steps to get your child help.
The following checklist lists some common red flags for learning disorders. Remember that children who don’t have learning disabilities may still experience some of these difficulties at various times. The time for concern is when there is a consistent unevenness in your child’s ability to master certain skills.
Preschool signs and symptoms of learning disabilities
- Problems pronouncing words
- Trouble finding the right word
- Difficulty rhyming
- Trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, days of the week
- Difficulty following directions or learning routines
- Difficulty controlling crayons, pencils, and scissors or coloring within the lines
- Trouble with buttons, zippers, snaps, learning to tie shoes
Ages 5-9 signs and symptoms of learning disabilities
- Trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds
- Unable to blend sounds to make words
- Confuses basic words when reading
- Consistently misspells words and makes frequent reading errors
- Trouble learning basic math concepts
- Difficulty telling time and remembering sequences
- Slow to learn new skills
Ages 10-13 signs and symptoms of learning disabilities
- Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills
- Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems
- Dislikes reading and writing; avoids reading aloud
- Spells the same word differently in a single document
- Poor organizational skills (bedroom, homework, desk is messy and disorganized)
- Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud
- Poor handwriting
Learning disabilities are often grouped by school-area skill set. If your child is in school, the types of learning disorders that are most conspicuous usually revolve around reading, writing, or math.
|Common Types of Learning Disabilities|
|Problems reading, writing, spelling, speaking|
Difficulty with math
|Problems doing math problems, understanding time, using money|
|Dysgraphia||Difficulty with writing||Problems with handwriting, spelling, organizing ideas|
|Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder)||Difficulty with fine motor skills||Problems with hand–eye coordination, balance, manual dexterity|
|Dysphasia/Aphasia||Difficulty with language||Problems understanding spoken language, poor reading comprehension|
|Auditory Processing Disorder||Difficulty hearing differences between sounds||Problems with reading, comprehension, language|
|Visual Processing Disorder||Difficulty interpreting visual information||Problems with reading, math, maps, Pictures.|
Other disorders that make learning difficult
Difficulty in school doesn’t always stem from a learning disability. Anxiety, depression, stressful events, emotional trauma, and other conditions affecting concentration make learning more of a challenge. In addition, ADHD and autism sometimes make learning more of a challenge.
Getting help for children with learning disabilities
When it comes to learning disabilities, it’s not always easy to know what to do and where to find help. Turning to specialists who can pinpoint and diagnose the problem is, of course, important. One also needs to work with the child’s school to make accommodations for the child and get specialized academic help. Parent’s role can’t be overlooked as a parent knows the child better than anyone else.