What if I see the Signs of a Learning Disability?...
Have Your Child Evaluated...
Know your Rights!...
The most common learning disabilities are...
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The good news about learning disabilities is that scientists
are learning more every day. Their research provides hope and direction.
If parents, teachers, and other professionals discover
a child's learning disability early and provide the right kind of help,
it can give the child a chance to develop skills needed to lead a successful
and productive life.
A recent US National Institutes of Health study showed
that 67% of young students who were at risk for reading difficulties became
average or above average readers after receiving help in the early grades.
Parents are often the first to notice that ‘something doesn’t
seem right’. If you are aware of the common signs of learning disabilities,
you will be able to recognise potential problems early.
The following is
a checklist of characteristics that may point to a learning disability.
Most people will from time to time see one or more of these warning signs
in their children. This is normal. If however, you see several of these
characterisctics over a long period of time, seek a complete assessment.
with nursing, sucking or digesting
- Resistance to cuddling and body contact
- Lack of, or excessive
response to sounds or other stimulus
- Trouble following movements with eyes
- Unusual sleep patterns
- Delays in crawling, sitting, standing,
- Little or no vocalization
- Speaks later than most children
- has immature speech patterns
- Slow vocabulary growth, often
unable to find the right words, pronunciation problems
- Difficulty rhyming
- Trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week,
- Extremely restless and easily distracted
- Trouble interacting
- Difficulty following directions or routines
- Fine motor skills slow to develop
- Exaggerated response
to excitement or frustration
- Tendency to trip, or bump into things
skipping, bouncing and catching a ball
- Does not understand the difference between 'up and
down'; 'top and bottom', 'in and out'; 'front of and behind; etc.
- Slow to learn the connection
between letters and sounds
- Confuses basic words (run, eat, want)
- Makes consistent
reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversion
(m/w), transposition (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home)
number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+, -, x, /, =)
- Slow to remember
- Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization
- Impulsive, difficulty planning
- Unstable pencil grip, poor
- Trouble learning about the concept of or telling time
coordination, unaware of physical surroundings, prone to accidents
cutting with scissors, coloring and printing inside lines
- Cannot tie laces,
button clothes, or get dressed
- Reads but does not comprehend
- Difficulty playing with more
then one child at a time, may prefer to play alone
- Difficulty remembering the names of things: the
seasons, the months, streets, etc.
- Weak memory skills
- Difficulty adjusting to new settings
- Works slowly
- Poor grasp of abstract concepts
- Either pays too little
attention to details or focuses on them too much
- Misreads information/lacks
logic, poor reasoning ability
- Vulnerable to peer pressure, often the
'scapegoat' in situations
- Difficulty organizing and/or concentrating on
relates past events or experiences in sequence or detail
- Reverses letter sequences (soiled/solid,
- Slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words and other
- Avoids reading aloud
- Trouble with word problems
- Difficulty with handwriting
- Awkward, fist-like, or tight
- Avoids writing compositions
- Slow or poor recall of facts
- Difficulty making friends
- Trouble understanding body language
and facial expressions
- Difficulty expressing ideas and relating events in
- Excellent verbal ability, but
cannot express thoughts on paper
- Mechanical aptitude, but difficulty with
reading, writing or spelling
- Lacks social skills and has difficulty maintaining
relationships or making friends
- Learns well when shown, but cannot follow
written and/or verbal instructions
- Feels constantly anxious, tense, depressed
and has a very poor self-concept
- Has difficulty organizing belongings, time,
activities, or responsibilities.
Trust your intuition! If you suspect a real problem, collect information
about your child's performance. Meet with your child's teachers, tutors,
and other school support personnel, seek information and expert opinions,
and do not be afraid to have him or her evaluated right away. Observe your
child’s strenghts and interests.
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 areas of need.
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 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!
need to know how and where to get appropriate information. Learn about
your special education program and services, your rights and responsibilities
as a parent of a child with special needs by requesting a summary of
legal rights and services from your child's school, district/board. Visit
their websites to learn more about their program.
local Learning Disabilities Association for more information and support.
|Audiologist - measures
hearing ability and provides services for auditory training; offers
advice on hearing aids.
Educational Consultant - gives
education evaluations, familiar with school curriculum but may have
a background in special education issues.
Educational Therapist - develops
and runs programs for learning and behavior problems.
Learning Disabilities Specialist
- a teacher with specific training and credentials to provide
educational services to students with learning disabilities and their
Neurologist - looks for possible
damage to brain functions (medical doctor).
Occupational Therapist - helps
improve motor and sensory functions to increase the ability to perform
||Pediatrician - provides medical services to infants,
children, and adolescents, trained in overall growth and development
including motor, sensory, and behavioral development (medical doctor).
Psychiatrist - diagnoses and treats severe behavioral
and emotional problems and may prescribe medications (medical doctor).
Psychologist (clinical) - provides psychological
and intellectual assessment and treatment for mental and emotional
School/Educational Psychologist - gives and interprets
psychological and educational tests; assists with behaviour management,
provides counseling; consults with parents, staff, and community
agencies about educational issues.
Speech and Language Therapist - helps children
with language and speech difficulties.
Auditory and visual
processing disabilities: a person with normal hearing and vision
has difficulty processing language
Dyslexia: a person has trouble understanding
written words, sentences or paragraphs
Dyscalculia: a person has difficulty
solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts.
Dysgraphia: a person finds it hard to
form letters or write within a defined space