Learning disabilities and disorders: Know the signs to help your child
Many children experience difficulties in writing, reading, memorizing and other learning-related activities. Hence, the common question 'Does my child have a learning disability?'
Finding out is never easy more so after the discovery of the disability or disorder. Having said this, it's important to differentiate between the two.
Disability vs. disorder
Disability is a social category while disorder is more of a medical category. A disability is a condition that reduces one's skills and abilities. A disorder is a condition wherein the body, a part or some parts is not functioning properly.
A child may have a physical or mental disability that affects learning in general. A disorder, on the other hand, hinders your child's ability to perform thereby diminishing his efficiencies.
Learning disabilities and disorders that took time to be diagnosed can lead to self-esteem issues among the children unknowingly suffering from these conditions.
Common learning disorders
Parents and teachers need to know the signs of a disorder, more specifically, for early intervention to take place. Nevertheless, it would be worth mentioning that you need to get familiarized with the common learning disorders first before you may recognize the signs.
Dyslexia. Dyslexia is characterized by words-related difficulties. A student who cannot or find difficulty in reading, spelling, recalling common, everyday words may have this disorder.
Dyscalculia. Dyscalculia, from the name itself, is characterized by numbers-related difficulties. A student who cannot perform simple mathematical equations or problems including sorting and sequencing may have this disorder. If the student has difficulties understanding even the most basic mathematical concepts, there is a need to look for further signs or conduct a series of tests.
Dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is a disorder characterized by difficulties in dexterity as well as other fine motor skills. A student with dysgraphia tends to experience difficulties in handwriting, writing while thinking, and spelling.
Causes of learning disabilities in children
Genetics is one cause that leads to the development of learning disabilities. The other more complicated causes are:
- Medical condition. When a child was exposed to alcohol and drugs before he was born, chances are, he may suffer from a disorder in the near future. The same goes for poor growth while still a baby. If he had injuries, he is more likely to develop a learning disorder.
- Environmental exposure. When a child is exposed to harmful elements such as lead, this may also lead to a learning condition.
Signs of learning disorders
While a child may have more than one learning disorder, it is very difficult to identify it. It requires training. Sometimes though, due to extensive exposure and experience in dealing with children with all sorts of learning styles, a teacher may develop this gut feeling in sensing that there is something wrong with a student.
This is more so when he struggles to process new concept, understand and follow instructions, remember what another person has just told him, and understand the concept of time.
Other signs that a parent or teacher should look for are:
- Lacks overall coordination especially holding a pencil or crayon
- Often forgets where he places his things
- Shows impetuous behaviors
- Shows poor listening schools
- Answers inappropriately to questions
- Speaks immaturely
- Struggles to find the right words to say
- Resists in engaging in school activities such as reading aloud and doing homework
- Displays defiance as well as strong emotional reactions when it comes to doing activities inside and outside the classroom
While at it, please take note that every learning disorder has signs. However, not all signs of a learning disability will show if a child suffers from it.
A professional assessment is necessary. Parents and teachers can collaborate on this part so that early intervention can be implemented.