In childhood or in school years children may have recognizable problems related to reading, hearing, writing and in understanding number work. Sometimes it is difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms of the learning disabilities in kids, but this is the time when this problem is most often diagnosed. Some individual having learning disabilities never get to know about the problem and the reason behind why they faced problems in academics, numbers or any relationship. Learning disabilities in kids are different from the learning problems which can occur due to any visual or hearing handicaps, problems due to emotional or environmental issues and due to mental retardation.
Signs & Symptoms of Learning Disabilities in Kids
It is not easy to detect learning disabilities in kids and many a times, the condition may not be diagnosed due to lack of awareness. However, if you know the signs and symptoms of learning disabilities in kids, you will be able to note the problem and find the right solution.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of learning disabilities in kids.
Signs and Symptoms of Learning Disabilities in Kids at the Age of Preschool
Symptoms of learning disabilities in kids at preschool level include
- Unable to learn numbers, shapes, alphabets and much more.
- Difficulty in rhyming
- Trouble in controlling pencil and crayons
- Difficulty in pronouncing words properly
- Unable to follow directions
- The trouble with button, zipper and much more.
Signs and Symptoms of Learning Disabilities in Kids at the Age of 5 – 10 Years
Symptoms of learning disabilities in kids at elementary school level include
- They make frequent errors in spelling the words correctly.
- Difficulty in understanding the basic concept of mathematics.
- Confusion in reading the words.
- The learning process is too slow.
- Unable to remember the sequence.
- Trouble in making words by blending sounds.
Signs and Symptoms of Learning Disabilities in Kids at the Age of 11 – 15 Years
Symptoms of learning disabilities in kids at high school level include
- Bad handwriting.
- Organizational skills are bad.
- Unable to read comprehensions.
- Dislike solving test papers and word problems.
- Poor mathematics skills.
- Unable to express the thoughts.
Causes of Learning Disabilities in Kids
Learning disabilities in kids is an increasing phenomenon these days. It is necessary to understand the causes of learning disabilities in kids.
One of the commonest causes of learning disabilities in kids is problem in brain development. The development of brain can directly influence the learning ability of a person. So the development of brain both before and after the birth is responsible for the optimum growth of the person's mental health. Children with the low birth weight or premature birth and due to lack of oxygen commonly have chances of developing learning disorders. Along with this kids having head injuries during births or at early ages can also develop any particular learning disabilities.
Impact of Environment
Another common factors that is one of the contributing causes of learning disabilities in kids is environment. So poor nutrition, harmful gases or toxins present in the environment can make the child susceptible to learning disabilities in some cases. Lead is a culprit that is present in homes in the form of lead water pipes and in old homes; some studies suggest that lead paint can also cause learning disabilities in kids.
Some experts claim that learning disabilities in kids can be hereditary also and may run in families. But it is still unclear and researchers are working to understand whether the learning disorders are hereditary or it just the nature of kids to learn and follow the same as their parents do.
Types of Learning Disabilities in Kids
Learning disorders are lifelong challenges which may not be cured completely but an appropriate support and medication can help to a great extent. With learning disabilities in kids, they have to face the challenges with writing, learning, reading, reasoning, hearing, speaking and understanding mathematics.
On the basis of these problems learning disabilities in kids are classified into following types.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
This type of learning disability in kids is also stated as central auditory processing disorder which affects the auditory processing skills or receptive language that is the ability of a person to hear well. The ability of hearing is directly linked to the ability of writing, reading and ability to spell correctly. Auditory processing disorder affects the hearing ability of such kids and affects the way and processing of sound that travels through an ear to be interpreted by the brain. Hence, kids with APD cannot distinguish the inferred difference between the sounds and not even able to recognize that from where the sound is coming or resist to hear the sound or background noise.
Visual Processing Disorder/Visual Motor Deficit
Visual processing disorder affects the visual processing of the eyes or in simple terms, it affects the sense of a person to understand the things they are seeing. If learning disabilities in kids is presented as visual processing disorder, the following behaviors are noted
- Unable to make difference in shapes and figures.
- Holds the pencil too tightly.
- Difficulty in reversing the numbers and letters.
- Trouble in cutting.
- Unable to find skipping or missing words and lines.
- Poor eye–hand coordination.
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that is also known as Language-Based Learning Disability which specifically affects the reading ability of a person. This is one of the commonest types of learning disabilities in kids. In this kind of disability kids are unable to recognize the relation or link between the sounds and words or unable to understand the meaning of words and paragraphs that generate the reading comprehension problems.
Dyslexia creates problem in following areas
- Fluency of reading.
- Recalling and spelling.
- Recognition of words and letters.
Dysgraphia is a learning disorder that specifically affects the fine motor skills and writing ability or skills of a person. Trouble in forming words and letters is known as basic writing disorder and when the person is unable to organize thoughts on paper this disability is referred as expressive writing disability. This too is one of the common types of learning disabilities in kids.
Kids with Dysgraphia face problems such as:
- Illegible handwriting.
- Lack of neatness in writing.
- An inconsistency of writing.
- Unable to copy letters and words correctly.
- Inconsistent spacing.
- Unable to think and write at the same time.
- Improper writing organization.
- Poor spellings.
- Spatial planning on paper is poor.
Dyscalculia is one of those learning disabilities in kids that impairs their ability to understand numbers and their facts properly. Other learning disabilities such as visual processing disorder or language learning disability and the ability related to memory and organization also produce a great impact on dyscalculia.
Kids with dyscalculia have following disabilities:
- Trouble in remembering and organizing numbers.
- Unable to tell time.
- Trouble in operating signs.
- Difficulty in understanding the counting principles.
Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder)
Dyspraxia also called as developmental coordination disorder which affects the motor skills of a person that are responsible for coordination and movements. It impairs the fine motor skills such as writing and cutting and gross motor skills such as jumping and running both. Dyspraxia affects kids in following areas
- Improper co-ordination between hand and eye.
- Unable to distinguish left and right.
- Difficulty in tying shoelaces and ties.
- Poor body balance and self-awareness
- Handwriting is untidy or messy.
- Some kids are unable to hold the pencil properly.
Dysphasia/Aphasia: Language Processing Disorder
Dysphasia and aphasia is a language associated disorder or communication disability. It can also be caused due to any injury to the brain. Kids with dysphasia and aphasia are unable to speak up and understand the language properly. Dysphasia is a moderate condition which only affects the communicating ability but not does the overall disruption of speech while aphasia is a condition that does the total impairment of speech and comprehension. Kids with aphasia cannot understand the words and their meanings and are also unable to use them to produce spoken the language as their brains are not capable of organizing the thoughts and communicating them verbally to someone. These types of learning disabilities in kids are often present in combination with other types of learning disorders.
Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities
A non-verbal learning disability does incompatibility between the higher verbal skills and the weaker motor and visual skills such as facial expressions and body language.
Kids with non-verbal learning disabilities have following symptoms:
- Poor fine motor skills such as writing and cutting.
- People are clumsy and use to bump into others.
- Literal translations are poor.
- Do not understand multi-step instructions.
- Unable to cope and accept changes in routine.
- Do inappropriate interruption while reading and can be repetitive also.
Ways to Cope Up with Learning Disabilities:
While there are no specific cures for learning disabilities in kids, here are following ways to cope up with such situations.
- Parents should make some strategies along with medicines such as rehearse reading and writing again and again or by implementing creative programs for making the learning procedure easy to them.
- Provide them a special teacher or tutor who work on the study skills and organizational techniques to overcome their learning disability and build self-esteem in a person so they can also live confidently.
- Learning disabilities in kids related to writing and language may be unable to hold pencils correctly and understand the words. Parents and special educators can provide them other objects or equipment that can help them in learning in a better way such as computers, laptops and books on tape. Large pencils or colors with better grip can also be used to improve writing skills.
- Proper medication make them more attentive and also help in controlling their hyperactive behavior or impulses so they can learn things easily. These ca be given with proper medical consultation.
- Learning disabilities in kids are difficult to deal with. Such kids should be given their space and encouraged to participate in different activities. Provide them with the motivation to fill them with the positivity and make them realize that they also have the potential to achieve anything in their life that they want.
These strategies, support of parents, friends and environment, medical treatment and different adaptations can help them cope with the situation better. With the right approach it is possible to cope with learning disabilities in kids. Such kids and their caretakers need to realize that these kids are not inferior to any other kid and are equally capable of accomplishing their goals. In fact, they are just exceptions who can rock the world in a unique way!!!