Learning disorder may make it challenging for a kid to read, write or perform basic math. Understand the symptoms and what you can do.
Many children with learning disorders, also known as learning disabilities, struggle in college for years before being diagnosed. This may impact a child’s self-esteem and enthusiasm. Learn how to spot the symptoms of a learning disability and what you can do to assist your kid.
Read: Speech Disorders
What is a learning disorder?
A learning disorder is a difficulty with information processing that stops a person from learning and applying a skill successfully. Learning problems typically afflict individuals of ordinary or above-average intellect. As a consequence, the condition shows as a gap between anticipated abilities, based on age and IQ, and academic achievement.
Common learning disorders have an impact on a child’s ability to read, write, do mathematics or communicate nonverbally.
Learning disorders in reading are typically based on trouble recognizing a spoken word as a collection of different sounds. This may make it challenging to grasp how a letter or letters convey a sound and how letter combinations form a word.
Problems with working memory — the capacity to retain and process information in the present — also may play a role.
Even after fundamental reading abilities are learned, children may have difficulties with the following skills:
- Reading at a normal pace
- Acknowledging what they read
- Recalling exactly what they read
- Making conclusions based on their reading
Read: Expressive Language Disorder
A learning issue in reading is generally termed dyslexia, although other experts may use the word to represent just part of the information-processing difficulties that may cause trouble with reading.
Writing involves sophisticated visual, motor and information-processing abilities. A learning disorder in the written text may produce the following:
- Slow and labor-intensive handwriting
- Handwriting that’s hard to read
- Difficulty putting ideas into writing
- Written material that’s poorly structured or hard to comprehend
- Problems with spelling, grammar and punctuation
Read: Global Developmental Delay
A learning disorder in mathematics may create difficulties with the following skills:
- Understanding how numbers perform and connect to each other
- Calculating math problems
- Memorizing basic calculations
- Using math symbols
- Understanding word problems
- Organizing and recording facts when solving a math problem
A kid with a learning disorder in nonverbal skills seems to acquire excellent fundamental language abilities and strong rote memory skills early in infancy. Difficulties are evident in visual-spatial abilities, visual-motor skills, and other skills required in social or academic functioning.
- A kid with a learning problem in nonverbal abilities may have difficulty with the following skills:
- In social situations, understanding facial expressions and nonverbal signals
- Using language properly in social settings
- Physical coordination
- Fine motor abilities, such as writing
- Attention, planning and arranging
- Reading comprehension or writing expression at a higher level, often emerging in later grades
Read: Communication Disorders
What are the causes of learning disorders?
The following are some of the factors that may have a role in the development of learning disorders:
- Genetics and family history A child’s chance of having a learning problem is increased if there is a family history of learning disorders.
- Prenatal and neonatal risks. Learning problems have been related to poor uterine growth (severe intrauterine growth restriction), prenatal exposure to alcohol or drugs, preterm delivery and extremely low birth weight.
- Psychological trauma. Early childhood psychological trauma or abuse may have an impact on brain development and raise the likelihood of learning problems.
- Physical trauma. Learning problems may be triggered by head traumas or illnesses of the neurological system.
- Environmental exposure. Toxic exposure, such as lead poisoning, has been related to an increased possibility of learning disorders.
Read: Developmental Coordination Disorder
Learning disorders symptoms
A learning disorder may be present if your child:
- Fails to meet or approach expected age and grade-level reading, spelling, writing and math achievement milestones
- Is difficult to understand and follow instructions
- Can’t remember what was just said
- Difficulty in walking, playing sports or handling a pencil
- Frequently misplaces or loses homework or school books
- Can’t grasp the concept of time
- Frequently does not do homework or activities that require reading, writing, or math, or fails to complete most homework assignments without support
- Assistance Behaves unnecessarily or destructively at school or during academic activities, such as homework or reading
Read: Pervasive Developmental Disorder
Learning disorder treatment
If your kid has a learning disability, his or her doctor or school may suggest:
- Extra help. Your kid may learn methods to enhance his or her academic, organizational, and study abilities from a reading specialist, math tutor or other qualified experts.
- Individualized education program (IEP). Students who satisfy specific requirements for a learning disability must get an individual education program in public schools in the United States. The IEP establishes learning objectives as well as methods and assistance to help the kid succeed in school.
- Accommodations. Classroom accommodations may include extra time to finish assignments or exams, being situated near the instructor to encourage concentration, using computer programs that assist writing, having fewer arithmetic problems in assignments or giving audiobooks to complement reading.
- Therapy. Therapy is beneficial to certain youngsters. Occupational therapy may help a kid with writing difficulties improve his or her motor skills. Language skills may be addressed with the assistance of a speech-language therapist.
- Medication. Your child’s doctor may prescribe medicine to help him or her cope with depression or severe anxiety. A child’s ability to focus in school may be improved by medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- Alternative and complementary medicine. Alternative therapies, such as dietary modifications, vitamin usage, eye exercises, neurofeedback, and the use of technology gadgets, need further study to establish their efficacy.
The treatment strategy for your kid is likely to change over time. You may seek extra assistance or request changes to an IEP or adjustments if your kid isn’t making progress.
Meanwhile, explain to your kid the importance of any extra services and how they may assist in simple words. Also, pay attention to your child’s belongings. Encourage your kid to explore activities that will boost his or her self-esteem.
When treatment is taken together, these may help your kid improve his or her abilities, develop coping mechanisms, and utilize his or her talents to enhance learning both in and out of school.
Read: General Adaptation Syndrome
Looking help for learning disorders
Early intervention is important since the issue has the potential to worsen. If a student does not learn to add in elementary school, he or she will struggle with algebra in high school. Learning disabilities may cause performance anxiety, melancholy, low self-esteem, persistent tiredness and motivational loss in children. Some youngsters may act out to divert attention away from their academic difficulties.
If there are worries about a child’s learning difficulties, his or her teacher, parents or guardians, doctor, or another expert may seek an assessment. Your kid will most likely go through a series of tests to rule out any vision or hearing issues, as well as other medical concerns. A team of specialists, including a psychologist, special education teacher, occupational therapist, social worker or nurse, may often perform a series of tests on a kid.
The findings of testing, instructor comments, parental or guardian involvement, and a review of academic achievement are used to diagnose a learning problem and determine the need for assistance. It’s also possible that a diagnosis of severe anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is related. These factors may cause academic skill development to be delayed.