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How To Spot A Learning Disability

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Problems With Reading And Writing

How to spot a learning disability

Many children have difficulty with reading and/or writing, but a child who has a learning disability may have several signs that are long lasting and are related to other possible signs. The child may be slow to recognise the connection between sounds and letters, or confuse simple words. Sometimes they reverse letters such as b and d.

Children With Learning Disabilities Can And Do Succeed

It can be tough to face the possibility that your child has a learning disorder. No parent wants to see their child suffer. You may wonder what it could mean for your childs future, or worry about how they will make it through school. Perhaps youre concerned that by calling attention to your childs learning problems they might be labeled slow or assigned to a less challenging class.

But the important thing to remember is that most kids with learning disabilities are just as smart as everyone else. They just need to be taught in ways that are tailored to their unique learning styles. By learning more about learning disabilities in general, and your childs learning difficulties in particular, you can help pave the way for success at school and beyond.

Supporting English Language Learners With Learning Disabilities

When an ELL is diagnosed with a learning disability, careful consideration as to programming is key this student will continue to require support in English language acquisition as well as receiving appropriate special education intervention and support. The Council for Exceptional Childrens Division on Learning Disabilities published a position statement in March 2014 entitled, Essential Components of Special Education for English Language Learners with Learning Disabilities. The position paper advocates for a seamless, supportive education that includes the following components:

  • Culturally and linguistically responsive teachers
  • Culturally and linguistically responsive and relevant instruction
  • A supportive learning environment
  • Assistance with English language acquisition
  • Support in general education classrooms
  • Intensive research-based interventions

The National Center of Learning Disabilities provides considerable research-based interventions and strategies to support the instruction of students with LDs, including those who may also be ELLs. An article on the NCLD website entitled, Effective Instruction for LD or At-Risk English-Language Learners, identifies the following effective and research-based strategies:

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Learning Disabilities Show Themselves In A Variety Of Ways

  • Does not connect letters and sounds
  • Cannot read grade-level text
  • Cannot understand what they read
  • Cannot understand number concepts
  • Does not understand that numerals represent quantities
  • Cannot form letters or remember which letters stand for which sounds
  • Has difficulty following directions, even with help
  • Has poor memory

How To Spot A Learning Disability In Your Child 9honey

Spot Learning Disabilities Early With New App

If your child seems to be struggling with their school work, its difficult for parents to know if perhaps theres something else going on.

If your child is regularly losing their homework, skipping words or whole sentences while reading aloud or getting into trouble regularly at school, it could be time to examine the situation further.

Its now estimated one fifth of Australian children experience difficulty reading, writing or doing maths at their age level, and some international studies say up to 10 percent of children suffer from dyslexia, one of the most common learning disorders.

Symptoms of a learning disorder

Whether your child has a specific learning disability, in that they experience difficulty in one academic area such as writing, reading or maths while doing well in other areas, or a general learning disability where your childs general cognitive capacity is reduced, its worth noting that neither has anything to do with his or her intelligence.

Some kids with learning disabilities are on par with their peers and others are considered to be brighter than average.

The only difference between a child with a learning disability and the kids next door is that their brains receive and process information a little differently to others.

Not only are there a multitude of disorders and conditions out there but learning disabilities vary in severity from person to person. That said, the most common disabilities to look out for include:

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Specialised Learning Support For Children With Learning Disorders

If your child is diagnosed with a learning disorder, its important to get support for your child as soon as possible.

With this support, your child can improve their skills and start to make good progress with their learning. This will help your child stay engaged with school and learning.

The best support for your child will depend on your childs learning disorder. You can talk to your childs teacher or other professionals working with your child to find out what will work best for your child and your family.

At school, support might include:

  • more intensive or frequent work with a learning support officer to support your childs individual needs
  • changes to the learning environment for example, your child might learn better if they sit closer to front of the classroom or away from distractions
  • changes to learning and assessment activities for example, your child might be able to have extra time to do assessment tasks or exams
  • assistive technology there are many devices and software that can make things easier for your child by turning text to speech, checking spelling, predicting words, presenting information visually and so on.

Outside school, you could look into support like specialist coaching or tutoring in your childs specific areas of difficulty.

Learning Disabilities In Motor Skills

Motor difficulty refers to problems with movement and coordination whether it is with fine motor skills or gross motor skills . A motor disability is sometimes referred to as an output activity meaning that it relates to the output of information from the brain. In order to run, jump, write or cut something, the brain must be able to communicate with the necessary limbs to complete the action.

Signs that your child might have a motor coordination disability include problems with physical abilities that require hand-eye coordination, like holding a pencil or buttoning a shirt.

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Diagnosis And Testing For Learning Disabilities And Disorders

Since diagnosing a learning disability isnt always easy, dont assume you know what your childs problem is, even if the symptoms seem clear. Its important to have your child tested and evaluated by a qualified professional. That said, you should trust your instincts. If you think something is wrong, listen to your gut. If you feel that a teacher or doctor is minimizing your concerns, seek a second opinion. Dont let anyone tell you to wait and see or dont worry about it if you see your child struggling. Regardless of whether or not your childs problems are due to a learning disability, intervention is needed. You cant go wrong by looking into the issue and taking action.

Keep in mind that finding someone who can help may take some time and effort. Even experts mix up learning disabilities with ADHD and other behavioral problems sometimes. You may have to look around a bit or try more than one professional. In the meantime, try to be patient, and remember that you wont always get clear answers. Try not to get too caught up in trying to determine the label for your childs disorder. Leave that to the professionals. Focus instead on steps you can take to support your child and address their symptoms in practical ways.

What Learning Disabilities Are And Are Not

Spot the warning signs of a learning disability

When discussing the childs learning problems with her, it is critical to explain what the disorder is and what it is not. You may find that the child holds many misconceptions about her disorder , and it is important that you clarify and correct this misinformation.

During these discussions, emphasize her strengths and affinities, and do not simply focus on her weaknesses and difficulties. Express optimism about her development and her future.

Remind your child that she can indeed learn, but that she learns in a unique way that requires her to work hard and participate in classes and activities that are different from those of her peers and siblings. Emphasize the fact that this situation exists through no fault of the childs. Explain that learning is a particular challenge for her and that it may take longer for her to master skills than it will take her classmates. Remind her that she will finish the race, though she may have to take a different route. Let her know that the adults in her life are solidly on her side.

Draw on learning struggles and challenges that you faced and outline the strategies you used. This information can be comforting for a child. I do not find it useful to cite famous people with learning problems as a means of inspiring and motivating a child.

From The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child, by RICHARD LAVOIE. Copyright 2007. Reprinted by permission of Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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Learning Disabilities In Reading

There are two types of learning disabilities in reading. Basic reading problems occur when there is difficulty understanding the relationship between sounds, letters and words. Reading comprehension problems occur when there is an inability to grasp the meaning of words, phrases, and paragraphs.

Signs of reading difficulty include problems with:

  • Letter and word recognition.
  • General vocabulary skills.

Social And Emotional Skills: How You Can Help

Learning disabilities can be extremely frustrating for children. Imagine having trouble with a skill all of your friends are tackling with ease, worrying about embarrassing yourself in front of the class, or struggling to express yourself. Things can be doubly frustrating for exceptionally bright children with learning disabilitiesa scenario thats not uncommon.

Kids with learning disabilities may have trouble expressing their feelings, calming themselves down, and reading nonverbal cues from others. This can lead to difficulty in the classroom and with their peers. The good news is that, as a parent, you can have a huge impact in these areas. Social and emotional skills are the most consistent indicators of success for all childrenand that includes kids with learning disorders. They outweigh everything else, including academic skills, in predicting lifelong achievement and happiness.

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What Causes Learning Disabilities

A learning disability happens when a person’s brain development is affected, either before they’re born, during their birth or in early childhood.

This can be caused by things such as:

  • the mother becoming ill in pregnancy
  • problems during the birth that stop enough oxygen getting to the brain
  • the unborn baby inheriting certain genes from its parents that make having a learning disability more likely known as inherited learning disability
  • illness, such as meningitis, or injury in early childhood

Sometimes there’s no known cause for a learning disability.

Some conditions are associated with having a learning disability because people with these conditions are more likely to have one.

For example, everyone with Down’s syndrome has some kind of learning disability, and so do many people with cerebral palsy.

People with autism may also have learning disabilities, and around 30% of people with epilepsy have a learning disability.

Signs And Symptoms Of Learning Disabilities: Ages 10

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  • Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills.
  • Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems.
  • Dislikes reading and writing; avoids reading aloud.
  • Poor handwriting.
  • Poor organizational skills .
  • Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud.
  • Spells the same word differently in a single document.

Paying attention to developmental milestones can help you identify learning disorders

Paying attention to normal developmental milestones for toddlers and preschoolers is very important. Early detection of developmental differences may be an early signal of a learning disability and problems that are spotted early can be easier to correct.

A developmental lag might not be considered a symptom of a learning disability until your child is older, but if you recognize it when your child is young, you can intervene early. You know your child better than anyone else does, so if you think there is a problem, it doesnt hurt to get an evaluation. You can also ask your pediatrician for a developmental milestones chart or access one in the Get more help section below.

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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

Trouble With Focus And Organization

Do you struggle to focus when youre working on something or following a conversation? Maybe you tune out or have trouble sitting still for long periods of time. Or maybe youre generally forgetful and absent-minded, and often run late.

These can be common signs of ADHD . Its common for people not to be diagnosed with ADHD until adulthood. ADHD also tends to run in families. So if you have a child or other family member with ADHD, theres a greater chance you could have it, too.

Find out how ADHD is diagnosed in adulthood, including where to find specialists.

There are many well-researched ways to treat ADHD. You can also learn about alternatives like exercise and mindfulness meditation.

Simple tricks can help reduce signs of ADHD, too. You can minimize distractions around you, like having your desk face a wall instead of the window. Use earphones if theres outside noise that distracts you. You could also try using fidgets.

If you struggle with organization, technology like apps can be a big help. You could also try color-coding and breaking projects down into smaller, more manageable steps.

You may also want to read about the connection between ADHD and emotions.

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What Every Parent Should Know

Children with specific learning disabilities are eligible for special education services or accommodations at school under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act external icon and an anti-discrimination law known as Section 504.external icon The U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague letterpdf iconexternal icon providing clarification to both parents and practitioners about ensuring a high-quality education for children with specific learning disabilities, including children with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia.

Types Of Learning Disabilities

Identifying Preschoolers with Learning Disabilities – Part 1

There are many different kinds of learning disabilities, and they can affect people differently. It’s important to note that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders are not the same as learning disabilities.

The main types of learning disorders include:

Dyspraxia. Dyspraxia affects a person’s motor skills. Motor skills help us with movement and coordination. A young child with dyspraxia may bump into things or have trouble holding a spoon or tying their shoelaces. Later, they may struggle with things like writing and typing. Other problems associated with dyspraxia include:

  • Speech difficulties
  • Telling the difference between similar-sounding words
  • Remembering things they’ve heard

Visual Processing Disorder. Someone with a visual processing disorder has trouble interpreting visual information. They may have a hard time with reading or telling the difference between two objects that look similar. People with a visual processing disorder often have trouble with hand-eye coordination.

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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.

Visual Motor Integration Tests

Common visual motor integration tests include the Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test and the Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration. Findings from these tests may help to determine if a child’s brain is properly connecting visual cues to motor coordination.;

In other words, are they able to draw what they see?;If they are having a difficult time integrating visual and motor skills, it will be very tough for them to learn to write or draw properly without special support.

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