Parent’s Guide to identifying learning disabilities in their children

03:21:00 PICT Model School 0 Comments

Learning disabilities are neurological problems which interfere with basic learning skills such as reading, writing, comprehending, calculating and so on. Children with learning disabilities are prone to take longer to learn and may need individual support to develop new skills, understand intricate concepts and interact with other people. 

How common are learning disabilities?
In India, around 13-14 percent of all school children suffer from learning disorders. The past decade has witnessed a sudden increase in the recognition of learning disabilities in India. This sensitivity has benefited some children who have to cope with the invisible learning disability. Discovering your child’s special needs is often a confusing and painful process for parents. Learning difficulties can be subtle, multiple, and difficult to pinpoint, it can be hard for parents to know whether things are normal or not.

Identifying the type of struggle your child may have with learning is also imperative to future success. There is a distinction between a difficulty and a learning disability. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably but there is a distinct difference between the two. Everyone experiences some difficulty when learning something. We are not adept at every skill. A learning disability, on the other hand, refers to a disorder manifested by significant difficulties in acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities. 

Types of Learning Disorders:
- Dyslexia: It is a reading disability that causes a child to reverse letters (mirror image).
- Dyscalculia: It is a lesser known disability that affects mathematical calculations.
- Dysgraphia: It is a learning disability resulting from the difficulty in expressing thoughts in writing and graphing. 
- Dyspraxia: It refers to difficulties with fine motor skills such as hand-eye co-ordination, etc.

What are some ‘early warning signs’?
[1] Communication problems: The communication of your child delays, such as the pace of his/her language development slows down with the difficulty in speech. They face problems understanding what is being said and might not be able to communicate their thoughts and have a tough time processing information in one or more several areas of learning.

[2] Memory problems: These might include your child not remembering specifics of daily activities and not understanding or remembering multiple instructions. For example, despite of memorizing a set of words repeatedly, the child might still not remember what he has studied and learnt.
[3] Arithmetic problems: The child might face difficulty with mathematics while computing, remembering and learning time and money concepts. Very young children may struggle with learning to count; school-aged children may reverse numbers and misalign columns. This disability might affect the functional skills of a child such as playing board games, counting money, or measuring things.

[4] Writing problems: Handwriting is a complex process that involves processing information and putting thoughts on paper by coordinating vision and pencil movements to form letters and words. The child might struggle to organise letters, words and organise numbers on a page.

All children need love, encouragement, and support, and for kids with learning disabilities, such positive reinforcement can help ensure that they emerge with a strong sense of self-worth, confidence, and the determination to keep going even when things are tough.

In searching for ways to help your children with learning disabilities, remember that you are looking for ways to help them help themselves. Your job as a parent is not to “cure” the learning disability, but to give your child the social and emotional tools he or she needs to work through challenges. 
Parents should identify and immediately bring it to the notice of educators and should not hesitate or shy away which in turn affects the student's learning abilities. In the long run, facing and overcoming a challenge such as a learning disability can help your child grow stronger and more resilient.


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