Understanding and Overcoming Learning Disabilities in Children

Learning disabilities are disorders that affect one’s ability in the areas of spoken or written language, listening, speaking, attention, reasoning and the coordination of movements. They can occur in young children but are usually not identified until they begin school. Identifying and understanding different learning disabilities will help parents provide effective treatment to their children and improve their quality of life.

Some of the common learning disabilities are:

Dyslexia – A specific learning that affects a child’s ability to recognize, spell and understand words.

Symptoms:

  • Children tend to avoid activities involving reading or face problems in reading as per their age group.
  • They have difficulty in remembering sequences.
  • They are unable to differentiate between letters and words.
  • They face difficulty in pronunciation, spelling and completing tasks involving reading and writing.

Treatment:

  • Teachers can use a specific, step-by-step and methodical approach to teaching reading and writing.
  • Students suffering from the problem can be given extra time to finish their projects and also can be provided with questions orally which will prevent them from reading.
  • Audiobooks may help children deal with the situation better.

 

Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit – A disorder that affects a child’s understanding of visual

Symptoms:

  • Children may complain about hurting or itching eyes, they may also often rub their eyes.
  • They may have difficulty in copying words or recognizing partial words.
  • They often lose their place on a page while reading.
  • They may not be able to large areas such as school grounds.
  • They hold the paper at wrong angles and pencils too tightly.
  • They face difficulty in cutting and pasting.

Treatment:

  • Students should be allowed to dictate stories and use large print books or audiobooks.
  • Avoid written assignments, grading handwriting and copying tasks.
  • Allow the use of computers and different paper types.
  • Supply tracking tools such as rulers, compasses, etc.
  • Employ audiobooks.

 

Aphasia – A language and communication learning disability that affects a child’s ability to express or comprehend language.

Symptoms:

  • Children may speak in short, incomplete sentences and may also write and speak sentences that don’t make sense.
  • They use unrecognizable words while speaking or writing.
  • They do not understand other people’s conversations.
  • They might substitute one word or one sound for another while reading or writing.

Treatment:

  • Speech and language therapy is highly recommended.
  • Using other forms of communication such as drawings and gestures.
  • Employ computers to learn sounds and words.
  • One should speak slowly and be patient while talking to an aphasic child.

 

Auditory Processing Disorder – A condition that makes it difficult for children to process sounds and recognize the differences between them.

Symptoms:

  • Children may mix up similar sounds.
  • They may be easily distracted or dislike loud noises.
  • They may have difficulty in learning songs or nursery rhymes.
  • They might find it difficult to listen to music, understand conversations and follow
  • They have reading, spelling, writing and other language problems.
  • They may perform better in quiet environments.

Treatment:

  • Use of electronic devices can help students hear teachers more clearly.
  • Use visual clues, signals and handouts to teach them.
  • Minimize sounds and distractions in their surroundings and seat them in the front of the classrooms.
  • Speech therapy can help improve their ability to identify sounds and improve their conversation skills.

 

By taking the help of teachers, students, and fellow parents, one can provide early help to children with learning disabilities. Parents should focus on their child’s strengths. They should adopt a positive, healthy attitude and encourage their children to pursue interests that improve their self-esteem and help them succeed and build healthier relationships.



Monika Adak
(Executive – Marketing)

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