Does Your Child Have a Learning Disability?

Does your child struggle to grasp basic studies? Are you worried that a learning disability may be to blame?

Have him evaluated as soon as possible. A problem left unattended can undermine a child’s self esteem and affect his attitude about school for years to come.One in seven people have some type of learning disability, according to the National Institute of Health.

While many of these disabilities become apparent when a child is in preschool, others may go undetected until well into elementary or even middle school. Early identification and prompt help and support are crucial to a child’s success in school and in life.

Among the common behaviors that may indicate a learning disability are:

• problems with reading, speech, writing or reasoning;

• hyperactivity;

• inability to focus; and

• coordination problems.

Kids with a learning disorder may display impulsiveness, frequent frustration, difficulties with interpersonal interactions and erratic test performance.

Identifying Problems at Different Ages

Ironically, children with learning disabilities often possess above-average intelligence. They just process information differently. With intervention, most of these children succeed academically, socially and personally.

Here’s a breakdown of general warning signs often associated with learning disabilities at different stages of a child’s development. While many of these behaviors are common on their own, a child who exhibits several signs may very well have a learning disability and should be seen by a professional:


• Difficulty mastering language – The child begins to talk late, has trouble pronouncing words, is slow to use new vocabulary words and is often unable to find the right words.

• Trouble with simple rhymes, numbers, letters and the days of the week.

• Restlessness – The child is very active, restless and unable to focus on craft activities, games or a simple task.

• Difficulty interacting appropriately with peers – The child becomes angry, overexcited or withdrawn around other children.

School-age Kids

• Difficulty making the connection between letters and sounds – The child repeatedly makes the same reading, spelling and pronunciation errors.

• Often transposes letters, numbers and whole words.

• Baffled by the concept of time.

• Finds new skills hard to learn.

• Covers up lack of knowledge with elaborate memorization.

• Poor planning and organizational skills.

• Exhibits lack of coordination and disregard for physical surroundings.

Common Learning Disabilities

• Dyslexia – a language-based disability in which a person has troubleUnderstanding words, sentences or paragraphs.• Dyscalculia – a mathematical disability in which a person has a very difficult time solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts.

• Dysgraphia – a writing disability in which a person finds it hard to formletters correctly or write within a defined space.

• Auditory and Visual Processing Disabilities – a sensory disability in which a person has difficulty understanding language despite normal hearing and vision.

• Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – While these two attention disorders are now well known, their widespread recognition also makes it more likely that a child may be misdiagnosed or receive inappropriate treatment.

The National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities advises parents who think their child might have ADD or ADHD to carefully evaluate information, products and their choice of health-care practitioners. Increasingly, both childrenAnd adults are being diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 2 million people have this disorder.

Warning signs for ADD or ADHD include:

• Making careless mistakes in schoolwork

• Problems playing quietly

• Not listening to what is being said in class and at home

• Losing and misplacing belongings

• Difficulty paying attention to tasks

• Inability to organize or prioritize tasks

• Difficulty sitting still

• Interrupting and talking excessively Although most kids exhibit these behaviors from time to time, kids with ADHD exhibit these signs to an extreme.

There is no quick treatment, but the problems can be managed by learning everything you can about the disorder, finding out what techniques would help manage your child’s behavior, creating an educational program to fit your child’s needs and exploring the possibility of medication with your pediatrician.