Types of Learning Disabilities and Learning Disorders and their Signs ,,Long but worth it.
Does your child struggle with school? Does he or she dread reading out loud, writing an essay, or tackling a math problem? While every kid has trouble with homework from time to time, if a certain area of learning is consistently problematic, it might indicate a learning disorder. By understanding all you can about learning disabilities, you can ensure your child gets the right help to overcome classroom challenges and succeed in life.
What are learning disabilities?
Learning disabilities, or learning disorders, are an umbrella term for a wide variety of learning problems. A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation. Kids with learning disabilities aren’t lazy or dumb. In fact, most are just as smart as everyone else. Their brains are simply wired differently. This difference affects how they receive and process information.
Simply put, children and adults with learning disabilities see, hear, and understand things differently. This can lead to trouble with learning new information and skills, and putting them to use. The most common types of learning disabilities involve problems with reading, writing, math, reasoning, listening, and speaking.
Children with learning disabilities can, and do, succeed
It can be tough to face the possibility that your child has a learning disorder. No parents want to see their children suffer. You may wonder what it could mean for your child’s future, or worry about how your kid will make it through school. Perhaps you’re concerned that by calling attention to your child's learning problems he or she might be labeled "slow" or assigned to a less challenging class.
But the important thing to remember is that most kids with learning disabilities are just as smart as everyone else. They just need to be taught in ways that are tailored to their unique learning styles. By learning more about learning disabilities in general, and your child’s learning difficulties in particular, you can help pave the way for success at school and beyond.
Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities and disorders
If you're worried, don't wait
If you suspect that your child's learning difficulties may require special assistance, please do not delay in finding support. The sooner you move forward, the better your child's chances for reaching his or her full potential.
Learning disabilities look very different from one child to another. One child may struggle with reading and spelling, while another loves books but can’t understand math. Still another child may have difficulty understanding what others are saying or communicating out loud. The problems are very different, but they are all learning disorders.
Preschool signs and symptoms of learning disabilities
Problems pronouncing words
Trouble finding the right word
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
Ages 5-9 signs and symptoms of learning disabilities
Trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds
Unable to blend sounds to make words
Confuses basic words when reading
Consistently misspells words and makes frequent reading errors
Trouble learning basic math concepts
Difficulty telling time and remembering sequences
Slow to learn new skills
Ages 10-13 signs and symptoms of learning disabilities
Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills
Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems
Dislikes reading and writing; avoids reading aloud
Spells the same word differently in a single document
Poor organizational skills (bedroom, homework, desk is messy and disorganized)
Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud
Learning disabilities in reading (dyslexia)
There are two types of learning disabilities in reading. Basic reading problems occur when there is difficulty understanding the relationship between sounds, letters and words. Reading comprehension problems occur when there is an inability to grasp the meaning of words, phrases, and paragraphs.
Signs of reading difficulty include problems with:
letter and word recognition
understanding words and ideas
reading speed and fluency
general vocabulary skills
Learning disabilities in math (dyscalculia)
Learning disabilities in math vary greatly depending on the child’s other strengths and weaknesses. A child’s ability to do math will be affected differently by a language learning disability, or a visual disorder or a difficulty with sequencing, memory or organization.
A child with a math–based learning disorder may struggle with memorization and organization of numbers, operation signs, and number “facts” (like 5+5=10 or 5x5=25). Children with math learning disorders might also have trouble with counting principles (such as counting by 2s or counting by 5s) or have difficulty telling time.
Learning disabilities in writing (dysgraphia)
Learning disabilities in writing can involve the physical act of writing or the mental activity of comprehending and synthesizing information. Basic writing disorder refers to physical difficulty forming words and letters. Expressive writing disability indicates a struggle to organize thoughts on paper.
Symptoms of a written language learning disability revolve around the act of writing. They include problems with:
neatness and consistency of writing
accurately copying letters and words
writing organization and coherence
Other types of learning disabilities and disorders
Reading, writing, and math aren’t the only skills impacted by learning disorders. Other types of learning disabilities involve difficulties with motor skills (movement and coordination), understanding spoken language, distinguishing between sounds, and interpreting visual information.
Learning disabilities in motor skills (dyspraxia)
Motor difficulty refers to problems with movement and coordination whether it is with fine motor skills (cutting, writing) or gross motor skills (running, jumping). A motor disability is sometimes referred to as an “output” activity meaning that it relates to the output of information from the brain. In order to run, jump, write or cut something, the brain must be able to communicate with the necessary limbs to complete the action.
Signs that your child might have a motor coordination disability include problems with physical abilities that require hand-eye coordination, like holding a pencil or buttoning a shirt.
Learning disabilities in language (aphasia/dysphasia)
Language and communication learning disabilities involve the ability to understand or produce spoken language. Language is also considered an output activity because it requires organizing thoughts in the brain and calling upon the right words to verbally explain something or communicate with someone else.
Signs of a language-based learning disorder involve problems with verbal language skills, such as the ability to retell a story and the fluency of speech, as well as the ability to understand the meaning of words, parts of speech, directions, etc.
Common Types of Learning Disabilities
Problems reading, writing, spelling, speaking
Difficulty with math
Problems doing math problems, understanding time, using money
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
Difficulty with language
Problems understanding spoken language, poor reading comprehension
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
Other disorders that make learning difficult
Difficulty in school doesn’t always stem from a learning disability. Anxiety, depression, stressful events, emotional trauma, and other conditions affecting concentration make learning more of a challenge. In addition, ADHD and autism sometimes co-occur or are confused with learning disabilities.
ADHD – Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), while not considered a learning disability, can certainly disrupt learning. Children with ADHD often have problems sitting still, staying focused, following instructions, staying organized, and completing homework.
Autism – Difficulty mastering certain academic skills can stem from pervasive developmental disorders such as autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Children with autism spectrum disorders may have trouble communicating, reading body language, learning basic skills, making friends, and making eye contact.
The diagnosis and testing process for learning disabilities
Diagnosing a learning disability is a process. It involves testing, history taking, and observation by a trained specialist. Finding a reputable referral is important. Start with your child's school, and if they are unable to help you, ask your insurance company, doctor, or friends and family who have dealt successfully with learning disabilities.
Types of specialists who may be able to test for and diagnose learning disabilities include:
Occupational therapist (tests sensory disorders that can lead to learning problems)
Speech and language therapist
Sometimes several professionals coordinate services as a team to obtain an accurate diagnosis. They may ask for input from your child's teachers. Recommendations can then be made for special education services or speech-language therapy within the school system.
A nonpublic school that specializes in treating learning disabilities might be a good alternative if the public school is not working out. For a list of nonpublic schools in your area go to the website for your state's Department of Education.
Getting help for children with learning disabilities
When it comes to learning disabilities, it's not always easy to know what to do and where to find help. Turning to specialists who can pinpoint and diagnose the problem is, of course, important. You will also want to work with your child's school to make accommodations for your child and get specialized academic help. But don't overlook your own role. You know your child better than anyone else, so take the lead in looking into your options, learning about new treatments and services, and overseeing your child's education.
Learn the specifics about your child’s learning disability. Read and learn about your child’s type of learning disability. Find out how the disability affects the learning process and what cognitive skills are involved. It’s easier to evaluate learning techniques if you understand how the learning disability affects your child.
Research treatments, services, and new theories. Along with knowing about the type of learning disability your child has, educate yourself about the most effective treatment options available. This can help you advocate for your child at school and pursue treatment at home.
Pursue treatment and services at home. Even if the school doesn’t have the resources to treat your child’s learning disability optimally, you can pursue these options on your own at home or with a therapist or tutor.
Nurture your child’s strengths. Even though children with learning disabilities struggle in one area of learning, they may excel in another. Pay attention to your child’s interests and passions. Helping children with learning disorders develop their passions and strengths will probably help them with the areas of difficulty as well.
Social and emotional skills: How you can help
Learning disabilities can be extremely frustrating for children. Imagine having trouble with a skill all of your friends are tackling with ease, worrying about embarrassing yourself in front of the class, or struggling to express yourself. Things can be doubly frustrating for exceptionally bright children with learning disabilities–a scenario that's not uncommon.
Kids with learning disabilities may have trouble expressing their feelings, calming themselves down, and reading nonverbal cues from others. This can lead to difficulty in the classroom and with their peers. The good news is that, as a parent, you can have a huge impact in these areas. Social and emotional skills are the most consistent indicators of success for all children—and that includes kids with learning disorders. They outweigh everything else, including academic skills, in predicting lifelong achievement and happiness.
Learning disabilities, and their accompanying academic challenges, can lead to low self-esteem, isolation, and behavior problems, but they don’t have to. You can counter these things by creating a strong support system for children with learning disabilities and helping them learn to express themselves, deal with frustration, and work through challenges. By focusing on your child’s growth as a person, and not just on academic achievements, you’ll help him or her learn good emotional habits that set the stage for success throughout life.
Finding support while helping a child with learning disabilities
All children can be both exhilarating and exhausting, but it may seem that your child with a learning disability is especially so. You may experience some frustration trying to work with your child, and it can seem like an uphill battle when you don’t have the information you need. After you learn what their specific learning disability is and how it is affecting their behavior, you will be able to start addressing the challenges in school and at home. If you can, be sure to reach out to other parents who are addressing similar challenges as they can be great sources of knowledge and emotional support.