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Specific Learning Disability: An overview

Specific learning disability 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.

Symptoms can include:

  • Persistent difficulties in reading, writing, arithmetic or mathematical reasoning
  • Inaccurate and slow reading and difficulty with spelling
  • Problems with grammar, punctuation or organization while writing
  • Difficulty in remembering number facts
  • Trouble applying mathematical concepts while solving problems

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. 

Types of Learning Disabilities

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 judge 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 which affects a child’s ability to learn number related concepts and perform mathematical calculations using its functions and symbols.

Diagnosis

For the appropriate diagnosis of specific learning disabilities, several types of tests are conducted, which include

  • Intelligence tests, such as the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WIPPSI), Differential Abilities Scales (DAS), Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), etc.
  • Achievement tests, such as the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT), Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement (WJ), etc.
  • Visual-motor integration tests like the Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration and the Bender Visual Motor Integration.
  • Language tests like Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation, Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals and the Test of Language Development.

Treatment

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 –

  • Special teaching techniques can be used that may include multisensory experiences to help a child learn.
  • Some modifications can be done within the classroom, such as giving extra time to complete the tasks or providing recorded tests to enable the child to hear the questions.
  • Children with reading impairment can benefit from listening to audiobooks or using word-processing programs.

For children with writing disabilities –

  • Students can be allowed to offer oral exams.
  • A child can be allowed to use an audio recorder in class instead of taking notes on paper.
  • The teacher may also provide printed study notes to reduce the need for writing.

For impairment in mathematics –

  • Visual techniques can be adopted to draw pictures of word problems or using coloured pencils to mark different parts of problems.
  • Learning math concepts can be easier with rhymes and music.
  • Computers may be used as well for math drills and practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 normal or above normal 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.

In the case of a learning disorder, the child may have above-average intelligence but will struggle to learn. 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. 

Why Cadabams?

  • Our treatment programs and methods are designed to cater to your child’s unique and evolving needs.
  • We can help advance your child’s skills with our education plan and resources which is precisely tailored for them.
  • We monitor your child’s progress on a regular basis and constantly focus on updating the programs accordingly.
  • Our child development experts work with you and other members of the mental healthcare team to help your child cope up with learning disabilities in an effective way.

Luxurious Living

At Cadabams, we provide clean, modern, fully furnished accommodations with all the necessary creature comforts.

Modern Amenities

Kitchen and dining hall, laundry facilities, indoor games area, yoga and meditation hall, outdoor games area for cricket, badminton, Round the clock psychiatrist and counsellor support, 24×7 ambulance on demand.

Healthy Cuisine

Our everyday menu is curated by Dieticians aimed at providing healthy and nutritious and tasty meals to satisfy everyone’s palate.

Entertainment Options

Recreation facilities such as TV, sports, gym, picnics and outings and more.

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.

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