Learning Disabilities

Many children go for years with their learning disability undiagnosed. They suffer silently with a mystery problem. Children with learning disabilities are bright, curious, and determined children. Catching learning disabilities early is the key to unlocking a child’s potential. Read on to uncover the truth about learning disabilities, early warning signs, and the most common kinds.

What is a learning disability?

When a child has a learning disability, one or more of their information processing systems doesn’t work like it should. A learning disability makes social situations and academic learning particularly difficult. It might feel somewhat like writing with your opposite-strength hand or walking everywhere backwards for one day. You would know what you need to do, but the action would feel difficult and awkward.

Children with learning disabilities are often labeled as lazy, dumb, slow, or uninterested in doing better. None of these are true. The true experience of a learning disability would be more complicated than the example described above. However, just imagine how you might feel going through every day knowing that people don’t understand what you are going through.

Early Warning Signs of Leaning Disabilities

It can be very difficult to spot a learning disability. The signs can look confusing or like another problem altogether. Unfortunately, there is no “cookie cutter” profile of a child with a learning disability. The way a learning disability presents itself can vary according to a child’s age, grade level, other strengths, and the combination of other learning problems.

Here is a list of some common early warning signs that a child may have a learning disability. A child with just one of the signs is not so likely to have a learning disability. However, it is the collection of symptoms that can alert a parent or professional to a complex problem.

For toddlers and preschoolers
-trouble learning alphabet, colors, numbers
-problems with pronunciation
-delayed talking
-easily frustrated and distracted
-trouble with rhyming
-problems with peers
-doesn’t follow directions well

For early elementary school children
-difficulty gripping pencil properly
-time problems (keeping track, planning, impulsive)
-confuses symbols
-transposes words and letters often
-gets common words mixed up
-is slow at learning and recalling new information

Common Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are commonly grouped into three school-related categories – reading, language/writing, and math.

-Reading disabilities are quite widespread among children. It is a complex task that requires memory, attention, recognition, comparison, and other skills. These must all happen simultaneously for reading to be effective. If one or more of these skills is impaired, reading becomes difficult. This is most commonly referred to as dyslexia.

-Language/writing disabilities are also called dysgraphia. This means that a person has problems coordinating hand movements, vocabulary, memory, and grammar. It is difficult for him or her to write while also thinking about something.

-Math disabilities are known as dyscalculia. A person with dyscalculia has problems working through math problems, memorizing math tables, and understanding abstract math concepts. This is a variable disability, meaning that many different things can affect how dyscalculia presents itself. Someone with a memory problem would have a different struggle than someone who has an auditory processing problem.

Learning disabilities are more common than many people think. These smart gifted children are often mislabeled. The systems in the human brain and body are very complex. It is a miracle that many people are able to read, write, and communicate with little difficulty.

By learning more about learning disabilities, you can be sure your child never has to suffer from one in silence.

You might also find the following helpful:

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Parent's Survival Guide to Puberty

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