Countless numbers of students struggle to cope with the pressures of school and academics. While some with learning difficulty succeed with a lot of difficulty, majority of students fail and may eventually become disinterested in learning and studies.

LDs are common

They occur in at least 10% of school children. Some of these especially dyslexia occur in families and can be inherited. Some groups of children such as premature, low birth weight children, those who suffered seizures due to various reasons, are more at risk of developing learning disabilities. Associated problems with vision and hearing may coexist and aggravate the difficulties for the child.

Affected children may have a range of difficulties, from mild to severe. There is no single characteristic sign of learning disability. Usually children with LD display several of the following characteristics in varying combinations.

Children with the following are at higher risk of struggling in school

  • Speech and language delay
  • Mispronouncing words
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Difficulty discriminating size, shape, color
  • Difficulty with time concepts
  • Right left confusions
  • Awkward pencil grip
  • Difficulty copying accurately from the board
  • Slow in completing work
  • Difficulty in following multiple instructions
  • Poor short-term or long-term memory
  • Difficulty retelling a story in order, narrating events (what happened first, second, third);
  • Hyperactive, poor concentration, easily distracted

Specific signs related to academic tasks seen in young children with LD

  • Difficulty in learning the alphabets, inability to identify letters correctly
  • Difficulty in writing letters accurately
  • Difficulty in rhyming words, or connecting letters to their sounds;
  • Problems identifying individual sounds in spoken words
  • Making many errors when reading aloud, omission of words, guessing of words, reading the same word differently
  • Reading without expressions
  • Slow word by word reading
  • Reversals in reading and writing
  • Unable to remember spellings
  • Spelling the same word differently in different places
  • Illegible, messy handwriting
  • Hand writing that is poor in sizing, spacing and alignment
  • Difficulty in learning numbers
  • Confusions with math symbols
  • Reversals in numbers
  • Difficulty in math concepts such as quantity, fractions

Signs seen in older children and adolescent

  • Persistent difficulties with reading
  • Lack of development of reading fluency and automaticity of reading
  • Difficulty in decoding new and unfamiliar or nonsense words
  • Not understanding what he or she reads
  • Persistent difficulties in spelling
  • Struggling to express ideas and communicate in writing
  • Having a limited vocabulary, difficulty with grammar, complex language
  • Having trouble understanding jokes, comic strips, and sarcasm
  • Having difficulty with verbal memory and processing large amounts of spoken language
  • Having trouble organizing what he or she wants to say
  • Confusing math symbols, misreading numbers, or difficulty retrieving math facts
  • Having difficulties in language processing that affect math problem-solving;
  • Problems with abstract reasoning, logic and problem solving
  • Difficulties with socio-emotional skills and behavior

If your child is showing any of these difficulties, take a closer look at your child. The earlier these difficulties are identified, the better the child can be helped. Usually children do not out grow these problems by themselves. Talk to your child’s teacher in order to understand the problem better. Take professional help. Learning disablities are real.

Do not ignore them.