Learning disorders or disabilities is a broad term that encompasses a range of learning problems. They should not be considered as some difficulties with intelligence or motivation. They are not even related to dumbness or laziness. Children with learning difficulties appear as smart as their counterparts. Their brains perceive and process information differently. In other words, children with learning difficulties hear, see and understand things differently. When this happens, a child finds difficulties in learning new things and putting them to use.
A child with learning disabilities finds difficulty in learning basic skills such as reading, writing, learning maths, listening and speaking. Memory, attention, short or long-term memory, reasoning, planning, time management and organizing abilities are also affected. Learning disabilities can affect a child’s life beyond academics; which means a child struggles with the friends, family and others.
Learning Disabilities Go Beyond Academics
Learning difficulties are often diagnosed during school years when a child struggles with writing, reading and maths. Sometimes, children don’t get evaluated until they get into secondary education or adulthood or workplace. In some cases, children don’t receive proper care and attention of their disabilities and thus, continue with their difficulties throughout their lives without even knowing why they are poor in academics and why they are facing problems in their jobs and with their friends and family members.
Learning Disabilities are Hidden
A child with learning difficulties is of average or above-average intelligence. Therefore, there appears to be a gap between the child’s potential and actual achievement. When you look at such a child, he or she looks absolutely normal and seems to be intelligent, but they may not be able to show their skills and abilities that can be expected from other children of same age group. Therefore, learning difficulties are often referred to as hidden disabilities.
Learning Disabilities Differ
Learning disorders differ from child to child as one child struggles with writing, reading and reasoning, another may have difficulties with maths and spellings. Yet another may have problems with understanding what others are saying to them – listening and speaking disabilities. Though the range of problems is quite different, they are all learning difficulties.
Identification of Learning Difficulties
Identification of learning disabilities is not an easy nut to crack as a range of difficulties make it difficult to pinpoint a unique symptom – which can be considered as evidence of the problem. However, there are some potential signs and symptoms commonly seen as prominent ones in comparison with other signs in children of different age groups. Those who are aware of such symptoms can easily identify a learning disability early – and then consult a specialist doctor immediately.
A learning disability cannot be cured or fixed; it is a lifelong challenge. However, with appropriate support and intervention, people with learning disabilities can achieve success in school, at work, in relationships, and in the community.
If you think that your child may have learning difficulties, then contact a paediatric neurologist immediately as early medical intervention is a key to successful outcomes.