Children with learning disabilities exhibit a wide range of symptoms. These include problems with reading, mathematics, comprehension, writing, spoken language, or reasoning abilities. Hyperactivity, inattention and perceptual coordination may also be associated with learning disabilities but are not learning disabilities themselves. The primary characteristic of a learning disability is a significant difference between a child's achievement in some areas and his or her overall intelligence. Learning disabilities typically affect five general areas:
1. Spoken language: delays, disorders, and deviations in listening and speaking.
2. Written language: difficulties with reading, writing and spelling.
3. Arithmetic: difficulty in performing arithmetic operations or in understanding basic concepts.
4. Reasoning: difficulty in organizing and integrating thoughts.
5. Memory: difficulty in remembering information and instructions.
Among the symptoms commonly related to learning disabilities are:
* poor performance on group tests
* difficulty discriminating size, shape, color
* difficulty with temporal (time) concepts
* distorted concept of body image
* reversals in writing and reading
* general awkwardness
* poor visual-motor coordination
* difficulty copying accurately from a model
* slowness in completing work
* poor organizational skills
* easily confused by instructions
* difficulty with abstract reasoning and/or problem solving
* disorganized thinking
* often obsesses on one topic or idea
* poor short-term or long-term memory
* impulsive behavior; lack of reflective thought prior to action
* low tolerance for frustration
* excessive movement during sleep
* poor peer relationships
* overly excitable during group play
* poor social judgment
* inappropriate, unselective, and often excessive display of affection
* lags in developmental milestones (e.g. motor, language)
* behavior often inappropriate for situation
* failure to see consequences for his actions
* overly gullible; easily led by peers
* excessive variation in mood and responsiveness
* poor adjustment to environmental changes
* overly distracted; difficulty concentrating
* difficulty making decisions
* lack of hand preference or mixed dominance
* difficulty with tasks requiring sequencing
When considering these symptoms, it is important to remain mindful of the following:
1. No one will have all these symptoms.
2. Among LD populations, some symptoms are more common than others.
3. All people have at least two or three of these problems to some degree.Federal law requires that public school districts provide special education and related services to children who need them. If these tests indicate that the child requires special educational services, the school evaluation team (planning and placement team) will meet to develop an individual educational plan (IEP) geared to the child's needs. The IEP describes in detail an educational plan designed to remediate and compensate for the child's difficulties.
Pointers for parents of children with learning disabilities.
1. Take the time to listen to your children as much as you can (really try to get their "Message").
2. Love them by touching them, hugging them, tickling them, wrestling with them (they need lots of physical contact).
3. Look for and encourage their strengths, interests, and abilities. Help them to use these as compensations for any limitations or disabilities.
4. Reward them with praise, good words, smiles, and pat on the back as often as you can.
5. Accept them for what they are and for their human potential for growth and development. Be realistic in your expectations and demands.
6. Involve them in establishing rules and regulations, schedules, and family activities.
7. Tell them when they misbehave and explain how you feel about their behavior; then have them propose other more acceptable ways of behaving.
8. Help them to correct their errors and mistakes by showing or demonstrating what they should do.
9. Give them reasonable chores and a regular family work responsibility whenever possible.
10. Provide toys, games, motor activities and opportunities that will stimulate them in their development.
11. Read enjoyable stories to them and with them. Encourage them to ask questions, discuss stories, tell the story, and to reread stories.
12. Further their ability to concentrate by reducing distracting aspects of their environment as much as possible (provide them with a place to work, study and play).
13. Take them to libraries and encourage them to select and check out books of interest. Have them share their books with you. Provide stimulating books and reading material around the house.
14. Help them to develop self-esteem and to compete with self rather than with others.
15. Serve as a model to them by reading and discussing material of personal interest. Share with them some of the things you are reading and doing.
16. Don't hesitate to consult with teachers or other specialists whenever you feel it to be necessary in order to better understand what might be done to help your child learn.
Hope this can be of a bit of help to someone.
Please add any other pointers or information you'd like to share about learning disabilities.