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The Different Types Of Learning Disabilities

Updated on January 20, 2012

So many people put labels on children and automatically assume if a child has some kind of learning disability than they are dumb or just plain lazy. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Many children with learning needs are considerably bright. They just happen to think and comprehend information much different than you or I. Their brains are wired differently.

The most common types of learning disabilities involve reading, writing, listening, speaking and math.

How can you tell if your child has a learning disability? There are a few key signs you can be looking for the onset of any problems. The following are a few guidelines you can go by according to the age of your child.

Preschool Age Children
♦ Pronunciation of words
♦ Rhyming
♦ Expressing oneself with right words
♦ Alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, ect
♦ Following directions
♦ Lacking in eye and hand coordination in using items such as pencil, crayon and scissors
♦ Buttons, snaps, zippers, tying shoes are challenging for your child

Grades Kindergarten Through Fourth
♦ Can not blend sounds to form words or make a connection between a letter and sound
♦ Misspells words consistently and makes reading errors
♦ Math is problematic
♦ Slow to catch on to new concepts

Grades Fifth Through Eighth
♦ Reading comprehension
♦ Open ended test question and math word problems
♦ Usually does not like to read or to write
♦ Hates having to read out loud
♦ Tends to be messy and disorganized
♦ Handwriting is hard to read
♦ Troublesome in expressing thoughts

Not all children will exhibit all of these signs. Your child may exhibit only a few or something entirely different. Also many children at one point or time have shown these signs and are proven not to have any learning disabilities. You as their parent need to trust your gut and do what is best for your child. Only YOU truly know your child and what he or she is capable of. Remember you are their only advocate.

Now that you know what signs to be on the watch for you're wondering by now what are all the types of learning disabilities. Learning disabilities are grouped by skill sets with most problems occurring in reading, writing and math.

Reading or dyslexia - With reading problems there are two types it falls under, basic reading and comprehension skills. Some children may have problem with the actual letters, sounds and words while others will not be able to grasp and comprehend what they read.

Math or dyscalculia - Trouble with numbers with organization and memorizing and operator signs. Many times children with this type of disorder have difficulty in telling time and counting.

Writing or dysgraphia - Struggles to write their thoughts down to paper, to comprehend and process information. Can not organize their own thoughts and finds it demanding to form words and letters.

Motor skills or dyspraxia - Problems with coordination and movement, typically clumsy. Trouble with tasks like tying shoes, buttoning a shirt, writing, cutting, running, etc.

Language or aphasia/dysphasia - Has trouble understanding spoken language and also speaking

Auditory Processing Disorder - Inability to properly hear things correctly

Visual Processing Disorder - Overlooks subtle variations in shapes and letters, skips lines or words when reading

Other Types Of Learning Disabilities

ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not actually considered a learning disability but it certainly can impair a child's ability to learn and excel in the classroom. A few common symptoms of ADHD include:

Not attentive
No attention to detail
Not focused
Not listening to others
Can't sit still
Excessively running or jumping around

Autism or otherwise known as Autism Spectrum Disorder - There are differing degrees to autism with symptoms being different for each person. Here is a list of some common symptoms:

Inappropriate body language, gestures and expressions
Avoids eye contact and their facial expressions do not match what they are saying
Lack of interest in people
Aloof and rather be alone
Trouble apprehending other's thoughts
Problems in social settings
Focused on one interest
Doesn't talk or has delay in speech normally after the age of two
Speaks in abnormal tone
Repeat certain words and phrases over and over
Likes to line objects up
Does not understand questions and statements sometimes
Humor, irony, sarcasm is something they can not understand
Likes a set routine and schedule, if something disrupts this will get highly upset
Fascinated by moving things and parts of toys
Sensory problems - Does not like certain noises and touch

Now that you know the types of learning disabilities, how do you go about having your child tested if you suspect there is something wrong? If they are already in school you will have to voice your concerns with the teachers and school administrators and request testing. Be persistent and don't back down. This is what I had to do for my own son. It took a whole year before they finally decided there was something indeed wrong and tested him. Of course by than he was farther behind than what he should have been.

Once your child is tested and proven to have special learning needs what is called an IEP or Individual Educational Program will be developed.

What does an IEP do for you and your child? An IEP ensures that your child will receive the help he or she needs in school. Your child will receive special individual instruction for whatever areas they are behind in all for free. You along with several educational professionals will work together to plan the IEP. The IEP will outline goals that your child will achieve during the school year. If you don't agree with any part of the IEP it is your right to disagree and state your concerns.

Who is involved in the testing for the IEP? A series of professionals will be evaluating your child in giving tests, examining them in a classroom setting in doing homework, quizzes and classwork. The following may be involved: psychologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, special educator, vision or hearing specialist.

The subject of special needs is something I have dealt with personally for the past five years since my son entered kindergarten. He is now in fourth grade. It has been a struggle for me to get him the help that he needs and deserves. His own doctor wouldn't even have him tested after I asked countless times and told him the problems he was facing at school and home. Finally he agreed to give me a referral to a psychologist who gave my son several tests. This doctor's conclusion was that my son has ADHD as well as an anxiety disorder.

Whatever you do, don't give up. Keep insisting on someone helping your child until someone listens to you and gives your son or daughter testing so you know either way if they have some form of a learning disability.

The types of learning disabilities are varied, but one thing is certain if your child does have any kind of learning needs they can be taught and learn just like any other child.

Types Of Learning Disabilities Poll

Does Your Child Suffer Because Of A Learning Disability? If So Which Learning Disability Is It?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I myself had saver struggles all thought my school years. I have raised three Boys that have different digress of learning gaps. Yet each have overcome the opsticeals that challenge them. One of my sons jus took the ASVAB for the military and only scored 7 out of 150 he needed at least 35 to get in, yet I tried talking to the military and all the I talked to never hear of a IEP student.... IEP follows are kids till 27 years of age as long as they are in school. It covers them from 1-6th 7-9th 10-12th and all through collage. Even the DMV will give need to those that struggle with reading. Just ask for a reader. We all have meany things that we find challenging yet we all must know are worth to are family's that we all do the best we can in what ever situation we find are selfs in. I will be all that I am and do what I can for the ones I love for this is my motivation. I am who I am and I except it...As a mom I help my Boys to become the men they are and if that's all I was met for is to be a mom then I'm okay with that. Having a disability does not define who I am. It's just apart of me, and I except me for me. Love is my gift and to help others on this journey of life....

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Ohio

      I think that great Robin that you homeschool your son. Did you find that he adjusted well to the homeschooling or did it take time to get used to? I have a friend who homeschools her kids. I would love to someday. I just don't know if I could balance teaching him and working too.

    • sassydee profile image


      6 years ago from los angeles, ca

      good for you robin yay! thumbs up for you mommy...

    • profile image

      Robin Kemp 

      6 years ago

      I chose to home school my son until he was fourteen due to his apraxia. He decided to enter the public school system after achieving great successes with this learning disability. I found that this worked for him, however there were times it was very challenging. To date he is an honor roll student and active in sports.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Ohio

      It is a shame that the education system is the way it is. I have so many times thought of pulling him out and homeschooling him. I'm not sure if this would be wise. I have concerns of him lacking socially. I plan on looking into having him tested for autism as he exhibits many signs. I have asked the school but they will not. It is hard having things like this done when you don't have insurance or the money.

    • sassydee profile image


      6 years ago from los angeles, ca

      I too struggle with the education system to provide the services that my daughter needs the classes they have are either for very severe cases which is a big distraction for her learning or normal classes which would be to hard and fast for her learning ability!voted up and useful


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