The Different Types Of Learning Disabilities
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
♦ 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.