SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY

Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) are a group of disorders that pose as the biggest challenge in the path of academic achievement for a child. The most common academic difficulties faced by children diagnosed with SLD are reading slowly and incorrectly, skipping lines while reading aloud, making repeated spelling mistakes, untidy/illegible hand-writing with poor sequencing, and inability to perform even simple mathematics. They invariably fail to achieve school grades at a level that is matching with their intellectual abilities. The following checklist lists some common red flags for learning disorders:

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Preschool age

  • Problems pronouncing wordsmith
  • Trouble finding the right word
  • Difficulty rhyming
  • Trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, days of the week
  • Difficulty following directions or learning routines
  • Difficulty controlling crayons, pencils, and scissors, or coloring within the lines
  • Trouble with buttons, zippers, snaps, learning to tie shoes

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Ages 5-9

  • Trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds
  • Unable to blend sounds to make words
  • Confuses basic words when reading
  • Slow to learn new skills
  • Consistently misspells words and makes frequent errors
  • Trouble learning basic math concepts
  • Difficulty telling time and remembering sequences

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Ages 10-13

  • Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills
  • Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems
  • Dislikes reading and writing; avoids reading aloud
  • Poor handwriting
  • Poor organizational skills (bedroom, homework, desk is messy and disorganized)
  • Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud
  • Spells the same word differently in a single document

Common types of learning disabilities may be presented as follows:

  • Dyslexia – Difficulty with reading; Problems reading, writing, spelling, speaking
  • Dyscalculia – Difficulty with math; Problems doing math problems, understanding time, using money
  • Dysgraphia – Difficulty with writing; Problems with handwriting, spelling, organizing ideas
  • Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder) – Difficulty with fine motor skills; Problems with hand-eye coordination, balance, manual dexterity
  • Dysphasia/Aphasia – Difficulty with language; Problems understanding spoken language, poor reading comprehension's
  • Auditory Processing Disorder – Difficulty hearing differences between sounds; Problems with reading, comprehension, language
  • Visual Processing Disorder – Difficulty interpreting visual information; Problems with reading, math, maps, charts, symbols, pictures.

While there is no cure for specific learning disorder, there are many ways to improve reading, writing, and math skills for a child. Treatment usually includes both strengthening the skills and developing a learning strategy tailored to take advantage of a child’s strengths. For example, repetition and mnemonic devices might make it easier to memorize a math formula, and drawing a picture to illustrate a word problem might help a child visualize what is being asked. Treatment for specific learning disorder often also involves multimodal teaching. If a child has trouble comprehending a subject with his or her eyes and ears alone, other senses such as touch, taste, and even smell can play a role in the learning process. Similarly, learning to convert one sort of problem into another format may help (e.g. changing a traditional math problem into a word problem). A learning specialist can help determine the services or accommodations a child might benefit from at school. Psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy in particular, may also be helpful in treating the emotional and behavioral problems that can accompany specific learning disorder.

LEARNING DISABILITY
LEARNING DISABILITY

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