• Learning disabilities in children, how to awake your child's power

Learning disabilities in children, how to awake your child's power

Learning disabilities in children, how to awake your child's power. Learning disabilities are neurologically-based processing problems. These processing problems can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing and/or math. They can also interfere with higher level skills such as organization, time planning, abstract reasoning, long or short term memory and attention.

Learning disabilities

Since difficulties with reading, writing and/or math are recognizable problems during the school years, the signs and symptoms of learning disabilities are most often diagnosed during that time.  However, some individuals do not receive an evaluation until they are in post-secondary education or adults in the workforce.  Other individuals with learning disabilities may never receive an evaluation and go through life, never knowing why they have difficulties with academics and why they may be having problems in their jobs or in relationships with family and friends.

Learning disabilities should not be confused with learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps; of mental retardation; of emotional disturbance; or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantages.

Generally speaking, people with learning disabilities are of average or above average intelligence. There often appears to be a gap between the individual’s potential and actual achievement. This is why learning disabilities are referred to as “hidden disabilities”: the person looks perfectly “normal” and seems to be a very bright and intelligent person, yet may be unable to demonstrate the skill level expected from someone of a similar age.

A learning disability cannot be cured or fixed; it is a lifelong challenge. However, with appropriate support and intervention, people with learning disabilities can achieve success in school, at work, in relationships, and in the community.

In Federal law, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the term is “specific learning disability,” one of 13 categories of disability under that law.

Learning Disabilities” is an “umbrella” term describing a number of other, more specific learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. Find the signs and symptoms of each, plus strategies to help below.

Learning disabilities

Specific Learning Disabilities in children:
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
Also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder, this is a condition that adversely affects how sound that travels unimpeded through the ear is processed or interpreted by the brain. Individuals with APD do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. They can also find it difficult to tell where sounds are coming from, to make sense of the order of sounds, or to block out competing background noises.

Dyscalculia
A specific learning disability that affects a person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts. Individuals with this type of LD may also have poor comprehension of math symbols, may struggle with memorizing and organizing numbers, have difficulty telling time, or have trouble with counting.

Dysgraphia
A specific learning disability that affects a person’s handwriting ability and fine motor skills. Problems may include illegible handwriting, inconsistent spacing, poor spatial planning on paper, poor spelling, and difficulty composing writing as well as thinking and writing at the same time.

Dyslexia
A specific learning disability that affects reading and related language-based processing skills. The severity can differ in each individual but can affect reading fluency, decoding, reading comprehension, recall, writing, spelling, and sometimes speech and can exist along with other related disorders. Dyslexia is sometimes referred to as a Language-Based Learning Disability.

Language Processing Disorder
A specific type of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) in which there is difficulty attaching meaning to sound groups that form words, sentences and stories. While an APD affects the interpretation of all sounds coming into the brain, a Language Processing Disorder (LPD) relates only to the processing of language. LPD can affect expressive language and/or receptive language.

Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities
A disorder which is usually characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal skills and weaker motor, visual-spatial and social skills. Typically, an individual with NLD (or NVLD) has trouble interpreting nonverbal cues like facial expressions or body language, and may have poor coordination.

Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
A disorder that affects the understanding of information that a person sees, or the ability to draw or copy. A characteristic seen in people with learning disabilities such as Dysgraphia or Non-verbal LD, it can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing place frequently, struggles with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination.

Facts about learning disabilities

  • Fifteen percent of the U.S. population, or one in seven Americans, has some type of learning disability, according to the National Institutes of Health.
  • Difficulty with basic reading and language skills are the most common learning disabilities. As many as 80% of students with learning disabilities have reading problems.
  • Learning disabilities often run in families.
  • Learning disabilities should not be confused with other disabilities such as autism, intellectual disability, deafness, blindness, and behavioral disorders. None of these conditions are learning disabilities. In addition, they should not be confused with lack of educational opportunities like frequent changes of schools or attendance problems. Also, children who are learning English do not necessarily have a learning disability.
  • Attention disorders, such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities often occur at the same time, but the two disorders are not the same.

Learning disabilities

Common learning disabilities

  • Dyslexia – a language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding written words. It may also be referred to as reading disability or reading disorder.
  • 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.
  • Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders – sensory disabilities in which a person has difficulty understanding language despite normal hearing and vision.
  • Nonverbal Learning Disabilities – a neurological disorder which originates in the right hemisphere of the brain, causing problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative and holistic processing functions.


Know your child's strengths
Children with learning disabilities are often highly intelligent, possess leadership skills, or are superior in music, arts, sports, or other creative areas. Rather than focusing solely on your child's deficiencies, emphasize and reward your child's strengths. Encourage your child in areas of interest outside the classroom.

Collect information about your child's performance
Meet with your child's teachers, tutors, and school support personnel to understand performance levels, and attitude toward school. Observe your child's ability to study, complete homework, and finish tasks that you assign at home.

See the tips below on how to organize information about your child’s learning disability.

Have your child evaluated
Ask school authorities to provide a comprehensive educational evaluation including assessment tests. Tests for learning disabilities are referred to as assessment tests because they evaluate and measure areas of strengths and weaknesses. A comprehensive evaluation, however, includes a variety of procedures in addition to the assessment tests, such as interviews, direct observation, reviews of your child's educational and medical history, and conferences with professionals who work with your child. Either you or the school can request this evaluation, but it is given only with your written permission.

Since you are one of the best observers of your child's development, it is important that you be an active participant in the evaluation process. If you don't understand the test results, ask questions !
Work as a team to help your child

Learning disabilities

If the evaluation shows that your child has a learning disability, your child is eligible for special education services. If eligible, you will work with a team of professionals, including your child's teacher, to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP is a written document summarizing your child's current educational performance; annual goals and short-term objectives; nature and projected duration of your child's special services; and methods for evaluating progress. For students 16 years and older, an IEP must include a transition plan to move the student from school to the "real world."

If your child does not qualify for special education, it is still important for you to work with your child's teacher to develop an informal program that meets your child's learning needs. You are a vital part of your child's education!

Talk to your child about learning disabilities
Children with learning disabilities must be assured that they are not dumb or lazy. They are intelligent people who have trouble learning because their minds process words or information differently. It is not easy to talk with your child about a disability that you do not fully understand. Be informed. It is important to be honest and optimistic-explain to your child that they struggle with learning, but that they can learn. Focus on your child's talents and strengths. Tell them you are confident that with effort and the right help they will be able to meet the challenge and succeed!
Find accommodations that can help

Teachers can change classroom routines to help children with learning disabilities. Meet with your child's teacher about these possibilities: reading written information aloud, allowing extra time on exams, taping lessons, and using technology. Have your decisions written into the IEP.
Monitor your child's progress

Watch your child's progress to be sure that your child's needs are being met. Keep your child's education folder up to date, adding new samples of schoolwork and test results. If your child is not making progress, discuss your observations with school personnel and work together to make changes. Keep a copy of your child's IEP and review it before each IEP meeting.
Know your legal rights

Learn about your special education rights and responsibilities by requesting a summary of legal rights in your native language from your child's school. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that your child has the right to a "free and appropriate public education."
IDEA is a law that requires all states and territories to provide a public school education to children with disabilities between ages three and 21, no matter how severe their disabilities are. As soon as children with learning disabilities are identified, they are entitled to services under this law.
If your child is identified as having a learning disability, it is your right under IDEA to have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Basically, this is a written document that summarizes your child’s educational performance, plans short-term educational goals and outlines annual goals. It also identifies criteria for measuring progress. You are a big part of this program so don’t be afraid to speak up.
Learning disabilities
Tips on how to organize information about your child's learning disability

  • Start a folder of all letters and materials related to your child's education.
  • Add copies of school files and names and dates of all tests and results, including medical exams and information from other professionals.
  • Collect samples of schoolwork that demonstrate your child's difficulties, as well as strengths.
  • Keep a contact log of discussions with professionals.
  • Keep a log of your own observations.

This information will help you monitor your child's progress. Review it with other professionals as your child grows smart. Is ADHD a learning disability