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Specific learning disability(SLD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that negatively impacts a student’s ability to listen, speak, read, write, or make calculations. Since such disorders usually begin at an early age, it is easy to identify the learning difficulties of students during that time. However, some issues may not be recognized until adulthood.
Learning disabilities can vary from one child to another. For instance, one child may be struggling with spelling and reading, while another loves to read but won’t understand simple math equations. Sometimes children may have difficulty communicating and understanding what another person is trying to say. To identify the learning difficulties of students, you have to understand that the problems are very different.
Since there is a wide variety of learning disorders in children, there is no single symptom or profile that you can look at as the cause of the problem. But, there are some warning signs which are common and can appear at different ages. You must know what these signs are so that you can catch the disability in the early stages and take on learning disability treatment and intervention for your child.
Listed below is a checklist of common red flags that come with learning disorders in children. You have to remember that children who don’t have learning disorders can still face difficulties while learning. You should be concerned when your child is consistently uneven in mastering specific skills.
Symptoms of learning disabilities at preschool age:
Symptoms of learning disabilities from age 5-9:
Having a learning disability is a lifelong challenge. But, with appropriate support, learning disability treatment and intervention, one can achieve success in school, at work, in relationships, as well as in society.
Learning disabilities is an umbrella term that refers to the following specific learning disorders in children.
Dyslexia: Dyslexic individuals have difficulty with reading. They find it hard to associate the letters they see on a page with the sounds they make due to which they can’t read something fluently and effortlessly.
The signs of dyslexia can be seen in children even before they start learning to read. It is often seen that people with the condition will have difficulty breaking down spoken words into syllables as well. Children in kindergarten won’t be able to learn to recognise and write letters as quickly as their peers. Besides, dyslexic individuals may also have troubles with spelling and accuracy.
Dysgraphia: In dysgraphia, a child’s handwriting ability and motor skills are affected. They will have difficulty with writing, the spacing between words, grammar, spatial planning on paper, punctuation, etc.
Dyscalculia: Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability that affects a child’s ability to learn number – related concepts and perform mathematical calculations using its functions and symbols.
For the appropriate diagnosis of specific learning disabilities, several types of tests are conducted, which include
If learning disorders are not identified and managed at the right time, it can have adverse impacts throughout the life of an individual. In addition to having low academic achievements, they will be prone to developing poor mental health, psychological distress and have a higher risk of dropping out of school and under-employment/unemployment.
So, is there any treatment for learning disabilities?
Although there’s no cure for a specific learning disorder, certain ways can be followed for SLD treatment and improving the reading, writing, and mathematical skills of a child.
For children with reading difficulties –
For children with writing disabilities –
For impairment in mathematics –
What are some early signs that my child might have a learning disability?
Children have their own pace and style of learning things. But if you see that your child is having trouble with numbers, speech, or letters, it’s one of the early signs that your child might be having a learning disability. Although the child may have average or above-average intelligence, they will often find it hard to express their knowledge and master certain tasks.
How do I know if my child has a learning disorder or is just a “slow” learner?
If your child is a slow learner, their thinking skills and intelligence will develop slowly as compared to other children in their age group. However, they will go through the same basic developmental stages as other children.
It could be due to a deficit in the functioning of the central nervous system making it difficult for them to read, write, reason, memorize, pay attention, and lack in motor coordination, visual perception, impulse control, etc.
Is there a cure for learning disorders?
A learning disorder is a lifelong issue. Although it can’t be cured, it can be managed with the right support and intervention so that children with the disorder can do well in schools and build a successful career in their lives.
Do learning disabilities run in families?
Yes, learning disabilities have a genetic component and can run in families. Just like other traits that we inherit from our parents and grandparents, learning abilities can also be passed down in the family through the genes. It is highly likely for a child to have similar learning disabilities as their parents.
Does a learning disorder mean that my child is less intelligent?
Learning disorder, in no way, indicates that a child is less intelligent. Children with a learning disorder, such as dyslexia or dyscalculia will need additional help and will have to adopt certain strategies to overcome their difficulties. A learning therapist can guide your child on how to study more effectively.
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A child with SLD is able in all areas like other children except in one of the areas of learning like difficulty to write (Dysgraphia).
Dysgraphia is difficulty in writing resulting in inaccurate and illegible writing. Dysgraphia exists in a varying degree which does not match the person’s intelligence and ability to read.
Dyslexia is the difficulty with the use of both written and oral language. Dyslexia varies between individuals and can occur in people of all abilities; Most often, people with dyslexia have distinctive talents as well as a typical cluster of difficulties.
Dyscalculia is the difficulty with mathematical skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication and mental arithmetic. People with dyscalculia also have difficulty with abstract concepts of time and direction or a sequence of events. They may also have a poor sense of direction and can get lost.