Education - Learning
By: - at May 19, 2013

Learning Disabilities: Types and Signs

Child Learning DisabilityIntroduction:
The development of an individual is the result of biological, socio-emotional and cognitive processes that are intertwined and overlapping. As we grow, we develop skills related to memory, attention, visuals, auditory, and many more. Biological processes include appearance, genetic qualities, brain development, motor skills, perceptual abilities, body functions, and physical attributes like size and proportions. Socio-emotional processes encompass emotional development, understanding of oneís self and others, building relationships, reasoning patterns, behavior and other psychosocial aspects of human life. Cognitive processes are comprised of skills related to language, memory, attention, creativity, problem solving, imagination, and acquiring knowledge. Those who face difficulty in any of these are confronted with troubles as they join the mainstream schools. This is because all these facilities are equally essential to excel or even just to survive academically. To cope with school work one must be able to read, understand what was heard or seen, comprehend vocabulary and make use of schema to apply them in new situations.

What is a learning disability?
Otherwise known as LD, learning disability or disorder is a general term used for many kinds of obstacles in learning. Often misinterpreted, learning disabilities are not connected to having low intelligence or laziness. In fact, many students who have LD are smart and can compete with others given extra attention and intervention. They are often judged because of their difficulty to learn, acquire, access and communicate information. Simply stated, people with LD differ in their manner of seeing, understanding, and hearing. Their brains function in a way that they receive, process and communicate information divergent to what we consider normal. With this, they find it challenging to learn new skills and to apply them when the need arises.

LDs are products of heterogeneity in peopleís brain processing and that of their environment. Frequently, teachers and parents tend to assess the child according to a specific standard like the curriculum, its goals and demands. This will only increase the challenge for a person with LD as they are deprived of specialized, structured and individualized activities and measurements to correct, intervene and develop a specific weakness. When left unnoticed or neglected, students with LD will likely fall short of achieving academic goals in math, reading, speaking, writing, listening, and reasoning, resulting to low achievement and self-confidence.

Learning Disability Types and their Signs
The following are the identified learning disabilities that affect a personís ability to acquire knowledge and academic skills, thus, impeding success in social and academic life.

1)  Executive Function LD
Executive function is a cognitive process that controls all types of brain functions. It sets relationships or associations between the present and past experiences which is essential to organize things. When one has executive function LD, planning, organizing, researching, remembering, managing, and paying attention to even the most basic things is difficult. With school life being demanding, lacking such skills are obstacles to leading a team, doing timely and correct projects, answering and listening to test instructions effectively and even remembering what was read.

2)  Dyslexia
DyslexiaConsidered an LD and life-long challenge, this is the inability to correctly read and spell. Because the brain processes information differently, it makes recognition and sound production of printed words troublesome. People with dyslexia find it hard to associate letters to sounds even at the alphabet level. Because they canít recognize words automatically, they tend to fall under the label of being slow and inaccurate readers. Since most coursework are in the written form, dyslexics struggle with acquiring information from these sources. Consequently, with challenges in decoding symbols, assigning meaning and comprehension is slow. This LD can extend to reading, writing and even to speaking.

3)  Dyspraxia
A motor skill development, it is the inability to exhibit fine motor tasks. To some extent, it can even be as displayed by the inefficacy to brush oneís teeth or even shake hands. Not purely a learning disability, dyspraxia goes along with other LDs that have great impact on learning. A student with dyspraxia finds it hard to pronounce words correctly as it is difficult to control muscle movements in speech. Some speak too fast making their voice incomprehensible. More commonly, it is manifested by the defect in using scissors, riding bicycles, holding pens, and buttoning shirts. People with dyspraxia are commonly labeled as being clumsy or uncoordinated.

Child with Dysgraphia4)  Dysgraphia
A motor disability that affects writing, dysgraphia makes it troublesome for people to put thoughts on paper, spell, and develop good handwriting. Despite the lines in a notebook, there are visible inconsistencies as far as the way they write, mostly mixing print with cursive, writing along or over the lines, slanting directions, omitted letters and uneven spaces between words on a page. Because they find it hard to imagine the letters, it takes time to take down notes, and even copying whatís written on the board is tough. Additionally, they might write letters in reverse or use lowercase and uppercase inappropriately. They usually do better in speaking than in writing.

5)  Dyscalculia
A learning disability with anything that involves math, because it is difficult to learn arithmetic skills. Students with dyscalculia find it hard to understand even the simplest concepts in calculating. They find it challenging to complete activities in lessons like positive and negative values, addition, multiplication, borrowing, fractions and answering word problems. There is also an obvious challenge in understanding the concepts of time, unable to arrange schedules from past to the future, and even managing and handling money. It can extend to difficulty in making strategies in board games like chess and even card or online games that require precision.

Girl Student trying to figure out equations

6)  ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a learning disability most commonly seen in children. It is exhibited by the lack of control over oneís behavior and attention. In the classroom, a student with an ADHD has visible signs of inattentiveness as being easily distracted by external factors or stimuli. As a result, they usually make mistakes on activities that demand details, have messy handwriting, and interrupt others. Other than forgetting daily activities, they tend to have short attention span on tasks, even while playing, and lose things more often. Because they are unable to control movement or activity, they are impulsive, acting without thinking, unable to stay in one place for a while, and are too active.

Child ADHD

Final Thoughts
Understanding learning difficulties and their effects on an individual is necessary to help those with LD. Parents want only the best for their children and that is natural. Mostly, many would be angry to find out their child has low grades. Upon finding confirmation of their children having a learning disability, many would freak out, denying and hiding the truth. This is the worst thing that can happen as help is needed for the child. It is essential for parents to know that while academic excellence is important, life does not end there. Children are given their talents and mostly, this should be discovered and developed.

When confronted with LD, seek help. Talk to your childís teacher so proper intervention can be taken. There is a variety of educational programs that cater to these challenges. Accepting the situation and supporting your child can open doors to finding the perfect assistance needed to augment LD. Instead of pushing your child too much and demanding grades far beyond what is reasonable, show support first. Find ways to make the child live a fulfilling and meaningful life by giving encouragement. Remember that above everyone else, they expect you to be the source of strength and inspiration to build lifeís foundation with a strong and confident mindset. After all, having LD is not a definite obstacle to success.





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