For some children, learning is an effortless process while others struggle to keep up with their classmates. But a child falling behind in their schoolwork doesn’t necessarily mean he or she has a learning disability; they could just need more time or more instruction. A learning disability is an inability to understand or perform spoken language, reading, or math problems due to information-processing problems.
Not every student struggling with reading or math has a learning disorder. There are specific signifiers of learning disabilities in reading, written expression, or math. Here are some common signs of a learning disability.
Signs of a Learning Disability
Recognizing the common signs of a learning disability can be the first step to finding treatment for your child. If you notice these signs, ask your child’s teacher or guidance counselor to set up an evaluation; it’s essential to catch learning disabilities early. If left untreated, there can be academic and emotional ramifications in the future. Some traits of learning disabilities are:
- Problems with reading comprehension, writing, or math
- Difficulty focusing or following directions
- Trouble expressing a thought or correctly pronouncing a word
Remember, it’s not your responsibility to diagnose your child. A professional should evaluate your son or daughter for learning disorders. Having trouble with reading comprehension or understanding math concepts isn’t always a disorder. Again, your child could simply need a little more guidance.
Diagnosis of learning disabilities is based on specific criteria. A student’s inability to understand a word as a distinct set of sounds could be a common reading disability called dyslexia. Without this ability to decode letters, students with dyslexia don’t recognize how letters represent speech and how this forms words. Dyslexia, and other learning disorders, are easily treated with educational programs, accommodations, and therapy.
Writing involves several brain functions: visualization, motor skills, and information processing. Dysgraphia is a common written expression learning disorder. Students usually have trouble with handwriting or with expressing themselves through writing.
A math learning disorder is recognized by having trouble with reason and problem solving or understanding basic mathematic concepts. A common math learning disorder is dyscalculia, which is sometimes referred to as “math dyslexia.”
If you think your child has a learning disability, have him or her evaluated. The sooner you understand how your child learns, the easier their academic journey will be.