Children with learning disabilities are as smart or smarter than their peers. But they face difficulty in reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and organizing information, calculations and arithmetic.
A learning disability can’t be cured or fixed; it is a lifelong issue. But with intervention children with learning disabilities can succeed in school and go on to lead successful careers later in life.
Children with learning disabilities may present with DYSLEXIA – a language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding written words, DYSCALCULIA- a mathematical disability in which a person has a difficult time solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts, DYSGRAPHIA- a writing disability in which a person finds it hard to form letters or write within a defined space.
IDENTIFY EARLY SIGNS OF LEARNING DIFFICULTY IN YOUR CHILD
- Speaks later than most children
- Pronunciation problems
- Slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word
- Difficulty rhyming words
- Trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors, shapes
- Extremely restless and easily distracted
- Trouble interacting with peers
- Difficulty following directions or routines
- Fine motor skills slow to develop
Primary School Grades One to Four
- Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
- Confuses basic words (run, eat, want)
- Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home)
- Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+, -, x, /, =)
- Slow to remember facts
- Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization
- Impulsive, difficulty planning
- Unstable pencil grip
- Trouble learning about time
- Poor coordination, unaware of physical surroundings, prone to accidents
Middle School Grades Five to Eight
- Reverses letter sequences (soiled/solid, left/felt)
- Slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other spelling strategies
- Avoids reading aloud
- Trouble with word problems
- Difficulty with handwriting
- Awkward, fist-like, or tight pencil grip
- Avoids writing assignments
- Slow or poor recall of facts
- Difficulty making friends
- Trouble understanding body language and facial expressions
High School Students and Adults
- Continues to spell incorrectly, frequently spells the same word differently in a single piece of writing
- Avoids reading and writing tasks
- Trouble summarizing
- Trouble with open-ended questions on tests
- Weak memory skills
- Difficulty adjusting to new settings
- Works slowly
- Poor grasp of abstract concepts
- Either pays too little attention to details or focuses on them too much
- Misreads information
WHY ACT EARLY?
Learning difficulties can be identified as early as kindergarten anad grade one. Unfortunately parents fear stigmatizing their child and delay professional help creating more difficulties for the child. Statistics show that 80% of students with a learning disability have trouble reading. 90% percent of these children will read normally if they receive help by the first grade. But unfortunately 75% percent of children who receive help after the age of nine will have some difficulty throughout life.
Step One : Go for Educational Assessments for diagnosis of Learning Disability
- A session with parents to get an understanding of your child’s academic, social and emotional strengths and concerns.
- An assessment of your child’s psychological and emotional functioning to explore what may be contributing their difficulties. This is done using drawings, stories and discussion.
- A standardised cognitive assessment. This will include child’s Verbal Ability ( information, comprehension, arithmetic, reasoning, attention and concentration, analytical thinking) ; Non Verbal Ability and Perceptual Skills; Working Memory. These scores provide a cognitive and learning profile and a Full Scale IQ score.
- A standardised assessment of skills in the classroom including literacy and numeracy. Assessed areas include:
- Reading Speed
- Decoding and Blending Skills
- Reading Comprehension
- Writing Skills
- Numerical Operations (completing sums)
- Mathematical Reasoning (applying mathematics in real world situations)
- A diagnosis of dyslexia or other learning or emotional difficulty, if it is applicable.
- A follow up consultation to discuss the results of the assessment and answer any questions or concerns that you have.
- A comprehensive set of specific recommendations to further support your child. This includes your child’s strengths and difficulties, strategies for supporting learning and motivation, strategies to manage their emotions and/or behaviour both in and outside the classroom, identification of learning difficulties, dyslexia or giftedness, and identifying additional support a student might need in school or exams.
Step 2: Create a Individual Education Plan for your child with your special educator/ schoo; counsellor/ teacher