Tip : Identify How Your Child Learns Best
Everyonelearning disability or nothas their own unique learning style. Some people learn best by seeing or reading, others by listening, and still others by doing. You can help a child with a learning disability by identifying their primary learning style.
Is your child a visual learner, an auditory learner, or a kinesthetic learner? Once youve figured out how they learn best, you can take steps to make sure that type of learning is reinforced in the classroom and during home study. The following lists will help you determine what type of learner your child is:
Learning Disorders In Children
Find information and resources for people with developmental and behavioral disabilities
Many children may struggle in school with some topics or skills from time to time. When children try hard and still struggle with a specific set of skills over time, it could be a sign of a learning disorder. Having a learning disorder means that a child has difficulty in one or more areas of learning, even when overall intelligence or motivation is not affected.
Some of the symptoms of learning disorders are
- Difficulty telling right from left
- Reversing letters, words, or numbers, after first or second grade
- Difficulties recognizing patterns or sorting items by size or shape
- Difficulty understanding and following instructions or staying organized
- Difficulty remembering what was just said or what was just read
- Lacking coordination when moving around
- Difficulty doing tasks with the hands, like writing, cutting, or drawing
- Difficulty understanding the concept of time
Examples of learning disorders include
- Dyslexia difficulty with reading
- Dyscalculia difficulty with math
- Dysgraphia difficulty with writing
How Prevalent Are Learning Disabilities
Experts estimate that 6 to 10 percent of the school-aged population in the United States is learning disabled. Nearly 40 percent of the children enrolled in the nations special education classes suffer from a learning disability. The Foundation for Children With Learning Disabilities estimates that there are 6 million adults with learning disabilities as well.
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Ggsc Summer Institute For Educators
A six-day workshop to transform teachers’ understanding of themselves and their students
We dont really know. But the reality is that, in our public schools, access to special services sometimes depends upon having a diagnosis or labeland its possible that the way we treat students with these labels is holding them back. Here are several research-backed tips for educators and parents to reduce the negative effects of labels and the stigma around them.
Signs And Symptoms Of Learning Disabilities And Disorders
If youre worried, dont wait
If you suspect that your childs learning difficulties may require special assistance, please do not delay in finding support. The sooner you move forward, the better your childs chances for reaching their full potential.
Learning disabilities look very different from one child to another. One child may struggle with reading and spelling, while another loves books but cant 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.
Its 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 youre aware of what they are, youll be able to catch a learning disorder early and quickly take steps to get your child help.
The following checklists offer some common red flags for learning disorders. Remember that children who dont 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 childs ability to master certain skills.
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New Findings Point To Differences In Brain Structure And Function
New research in the fields of neuroscience and neurogenetics is deepening our understanding of the differences in brain structure and function in children with learning and attention issues. Brain scans and other tools are also helping researchers measure the biological impact that instructional interventions have on children with dyslexia and other issues.
As studies expand how we think about and address learning and attention issues, its important to note that the science is still emerging and that studies need to be replicated to confirm these findings.
In the field of learning and attention issues, brain imaging technology is still considered to be only a research tool. No brain imaging technology has been validated by the research community for clinical use in lieu of behavioral evaluations to diagnose either ADHD or dyslexia.
There is tremendous variability from one person to the next in terms of brain anatomy and brain function. Any differences that might serve as diagnostic markers need to be tested in large-scale studies and replicated by other researchers before brain scans can be used to reliably identify dyslexia in clinical settings.
Guinevere Eden, Ph.D.,Director of Georgetown Universitys Center for the Study of Learning and former president of the International Dyslexia Association
Public Perceptions Reveal Widespread Misconceptions
Despite how common learning and attention issues are, there is still widespread confusion among the public about the nature and impact of these issues. Recent surveys, detailed below, highlight the perceptions of three key groups: parents, educators and healthcare professionals who work with children between the ages of 3 and 20. These surveys are consistent with previous research on public perceptions4 and underscore the ongoing need to:
- Raise awareness and reduce stigma among parents, 43% of whom say that they wouldnt want other parents to know if their child had a learning disability.
- Clear up misconceptions among educatorsa third of whom believe that sometimes what people call learning or attention issues is really just laziness.
- Keep learning and attention issues top of mind among healthcare professionals, only a fifth of whom say they almost always ask parents and children about symptoms of learning and attention issues.
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Types Of Learning Difficulties
A learning difficulty might often be termed a “hidden disability.” A person challenged by a learning difficulty is generally of average or above average intelligence, and many are able to hide the fact that certain aspects of academic learning give them issue for years, leaving these issues unaddressed until high school or later. The difficulty arises in the gap between the individual’s potential for achievement and ability to achieve, which is often hampered by a difficulty in receiving or processing information.
Learning difficulties can be verbal or nonverbal. Verbal learning difficulties affect one’s ability to read, write, or otherwise process spoken or written words, while nonverbal learning challenges can make it harder for an individual to process visual information or master abstract concepts like fractions. Some learning difficulties can also make it difficult for an individual to focus: At least 20% of those with learning difficulties have a condition that impacts the ability to focus or concentrate.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual classifies learning difficulties under the diagnosis of “Specific Learning Disorder,” differentiating between conditions marked by impairment in reading, mathematics, or written expression. This diagnosis occurs more often in males than in females.
The Learning Disabilities Association of America lists these specific learning difficulties:
What Are The Early Warning Signs Of Learning Disabilities
Children with learning disabilities exhibit a wide range of symptoms. These include problems with reading, mathematics, comprehension, writing, spoken language, or reasoning abilities. Hyperactivity, inattention and perceptual coordination may also be associated with learning disabilities but are not learning disabilities themselves. The primary characteristic of a learning disability is a significant difference between a childs achievement in some areas and his or her overall intelligence. Learning disabilities typically affect five general areas:
Among the symptoms commonly related to learning disabilities are:
- poor performance on group tests
- difficulty discriminating size, shape, color
- difficulty with temporal concepts
- distorted concept of body image
- reversals in writing and reading
- general awkwardness
- lack of hand preference or mixed dominance
- difficulty with tasks requiring sequencing
When considering these symptoms, it is important to remain mindful of the following:
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What Are The Treatments For Learning Disabilities
The most common treatment for learning disabilities is special education. A teacher or other learning specialist can help your child learn skills by building on strengths and finding ways to make up for weaknesses. Educators may try special teaching methods, make changes to the classroom, or use technologies that can assist your child’s learning needs. Some children also get help from tutors or speech or language therapists.
A child with a learning disability may struggle with low self-esteem, frustration, and other problems. Mental health professionals can help your child understand these feelings, develop coping tools, and build healthy relationships.
If your child has another condition such as ADHD, he or she will need treatment for that condition as well.
NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
How Are Adults Diagnosed With Ld
A specific learning disorder is diagnosed through a clinical review of the individuals developmental, medical, educational, and family history, reports of test scores and teacher observations, and response to academic interventions . The evaluator must be licensed to evaluate LD typically, LD evaluations are conducted by psychologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, licensed psychological counselors, or school psychologists.
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When Should A Problem Be Suspected
Be aware of how each child is doing. A preschool student should be checked, for example, if he or she has a much more difficult time than other students in pronouncing or rhyming words or in learning numbers, the alphabet, the days of the week, colors, or shapes.
See the articles on Literacy Milestones for more information about where children should be in their reading development. Also, see the Accomplishments in Reading table from the Snow, Burns, and Griffin book, Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children. If a student shows consistent problems with several milestones, then you may want to have him or her evaluated for possible learning or reading disabilities.
Remember that students learn differently and at different rates. Not all students will develop in the same way or at the same rate, but most students develop at a steady pace so that by the end of third grade, they are able to read grade appropriate material fluently with comprehension. It is important that a student not get too far behind in learning how to read reading difficulties are best addressed when they are caught at a young age.
Signs And Symptoms Of Learning Disabilities: Preschool Age
- Problems pronouncing words.
- Trouble finding the right word.
- Difficulty rhyming.
- Trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, or 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, or learning to tie shoes.
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Learning Alternatives For Teens
Fortunately, IDEA guarantees free special education in public schools for all children with an LD who are between the ages of three and 21. However, a public school environment is not always the right approach for a teen with a learning disability or ADHD disability.
Not all public schools are able to provide the kind of support a child or teen with learning difficulties needs. While one in five children in the US have learning and attention issues, only one in 16 public school students have Individualized Education Programs for specific learning disabilities, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
However, there are many alternative education options for teens with LDs. And, alternative public schools and private schools designed for students with learning disabilities exist around the country. Other than an alternative school, a tutor can be helpful for a teen with an LD. In addition, homeschooling works well for some families, if parents are committed to educating themselves about what their child or teen needs in order to learn better.
School alternatives often inspire unmotivated to learn. Student discipline is improved when teens care about what theyre learning and teachers recognize their gifts.
Lack Of A Learning Disability Diagnosis
Unfortunately, if a doctor does not recognize an LD in a child or teen, they fail to receive the support they need to succeed. Consequently, they will continue to fail at school. Additionally, teachers and parents may scold or punish them for their behavior because they dont understand whats causing it. Students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be suspended as students without disabilities.
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Tapping Into Our Students Potential
At home and in the classroom, educators and parents can easily get tripped up on the language to use with students with learning disabilities. Having a strength-based lens and a few scripts ready can make a big difference in how the students we interact with see themselves as learners.
We could all take a lesson from my student, Dawn, on positive mindset. When I later shared Dawns reaction to being diagnosed with dyslexia with her mother, we both teared up a little. Dawn gave me hope that as educators and parents, we can cultivate that resilience and strength in all the students who come to us with diverse learning needs.
Greater Good wants to know: Do you think this article will influence your opinions or behavior?
Rebecca Branstetter, Ph.D., is a school psychologist, speaker, and author on a mission to help children be the best they can be in school and in life by supporting school psychologists, educators, and parents. She is the co-creator of the Make It Stick Parenting course, which provides parents tools to build their childs social-emotional learning, and creator of the Peace of Mind Parenting course. She is also the founder of The Thriving School Psychologist Collective, an online community dedicated to improving mental health and learning supports in public schools. Learn more at www.thrivingschoolpsych.com.
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Treatment For Learning Disorders
Children with learning disorders often need extra help and instruction that are specialized for them. Having a learning disorder can qualify a child for special education services in school. Schools usually do their own testing for learning disorders to see if a child needs intervention. An evaluation by a healthcare professional is needed if there are other concerns about the childs behavior or emotions. Parents, healthcare providers, and the school can work together to find the right referrals and treatment.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Learning Disorder/disability
Children with learning disabilities struggle with school work more than their peers. This can take many forms. They may struggle to read, be confused by math, or have trouble with formulating their thoughts and communicating them. Overall, they need to work harder than peers for their accomplishments in school. Parents often say that homework is a battle or they find themselves working with the child every night to try to keep up. The child may appear inattentive, especially in school, because they cannot process information like other students. Most parents say that they sense that something is wrong and teachers often will confirm or bring to the parents attention.
Learning Disabilities In Writing
Learning disabilities in writing can involve the physical act of writing or the mental activity of comprehending information. Basic writing disorder refers to physical difficulty forming words and letters. Expressive writing disability indicates a struggle to organize thoughts on paper.
Symptoms of a written language learning disability revolve around the act of writing. They include problems with:
- Neatness and consistency of writing.
- Accurately copying letters and words.
- Spelling consistency.
- Writing organization and coherence.
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What Are The Causes Of Learning Disabilities
Learning disabilities can be present at birth for example, if a person has a medical, physical or neurological condition that makes it harder for them to process certain pieces of information.
Sometimes, learning disabilities are caused by external influences like someones experiences or the way they grow up. They can run in families.
Other Disorders That Make Learning Difficult
Difficulty in school doesnt 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 co-occur or are confused with learning disabilities.
ADHD Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , while not considered a learning disability, can certainly disrupt learning. Children with ADHD often have problems sitting still, staying focused, following instructions, staying organized, and completing homework.
Autism Difficulty mastering certain academic skills can stem from pervasive developmental disorders such as autism and Aspergers syndrome. Children with autism spectrum disorders may have trouble communicating, reading body language, learning basic skills, making friends, and making eye contact.
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The Ability To Handle Stress
If children with learning disabilities learn how to regulate stress and calm themselves, they will be much better equipped to overcome challenges.
- Use words to identify feelings and help your child learn to recognize specific feelings.
- Ask your child the words they would use to describe stress. Does your child recognize when they are feeling stressed?
- Encourage your child to identify and participate in activities that help reduce stress like sports, games, music, or writing in a journal.
- Ask your child to describe activities and situations that make them feel stressed. Break down the scenarios and talk about how overwhelming feelings of stress and frustration might be avoided.
Recognizing stress in your child
Its important to be aware of the different ways in which stress can manifest. Your child may behave very differently than you do when they are under stress. Some signs of stress are more obvious: agitation, trouble sleeping, and worries that wont shut off. But some peoplechildren includedshut down, space out, and withdraw when stressed. Its easy to overlook these signs, so be on the lookout for any behavior thats out of the ordinary.