Learning Difficulties

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January 14, 2011
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January 14, 2011

Learning Difficulties

Struggling with learningAll parents want the best for the kids. They want them to do well academically, they want them to excel on the sports field and they want them to be popular. Parents must remember that all kids are different and not all children are going to cope with the pressures and demands of schools.

Many kids suffering from learning difficulties and parents must come to terms with the difficulty and seek the help that will let their kids overcome the difficulties and reach their full potential. Even after the learning difficulty has been identified, parents are warned not to expect too much and they need to encourage their kids to work towards their own unique set of goals.

There is not just one single learning difficulty and in fact over the years, more and more problem areas or learning difficulties have been diagnosed. The most common learning difficulties include:

  •          Input learning difficulties. A child suffering from input problems will have trouble with auditory perception and the child will typically be unable to recognize shapes, position or size. Input problems will also cause the child to be unable to block out sounds in a classroom and focus on the teacher’s voice. This learning difficultly will have far-reaching effects.
  •          Sequencing or integration problems. With this problem learning area, kits are unable to memories information in a sequential format. Indications of this learning disorder include the child’s inability to learn or remember facts and put them together.
  •          Storage of information. This will affect short term and long term memory. A child suffering from this disorder will battle to learn how to spell simple words and will need to have words repeated over and over again.
  •          Underdeveloped gross motor skills. If motor skills are not fully developed, individuals will battle with tasks such as running, skipping, and jumping. Those with fine motor skill problems will have difficulty with common tasks, like tying shoelaces, buttoning shirts and they will struggle to hold a pen, which will lead to handwriting problems.

A child may have one or more of these disorders and if they are left untreated the child will not be able to reach their full scholastic ability; if gross motor skill problems are not tended to and resolved, the child will battle later in life with everyday task such as driving.

  •          A reading disability is one of the most common problems suffered by children. Typically kids will have little understanding of phonetics and how to break up words. This disorder will not only affect the child’s ability to read but they will have difficulty in recognising words, and processing words.
  •          A non-verbal learning disorder is where a child will have poor or inferior visual spatial skills and will be unable to understand maths problems. Such children will be disorganized in the classroom and at home. Since problems are non verbal, kids will excel in verbal areas and will generally be early speakers and good readers.

A parent who suspects that their child has a learning disability or difficulty should consult with an educational psychologist, who will give the child a series of tests. Once the results have been obtained, the psychologists will be able to recommend the right way forward for the child. Once the child starts school, teachers will often pick up on any problem areas and there are schools which have onsite educational therapists who will work with the teacher and child to overcome learning problem areas or difficulties.

The fact is that a learning difficulty is not the end of the world and kids can be taught to overcome these problems. If picked up early, a child can quickly make up for lost time and their level of work will be on par with classmates.

A number of reasons have been singled out as being the cause of learning difficulties in kids and these include:

  • Children have inherited the learning disorders;
  • The difficulties could be caused by problems during birth or pregnancy. These problems may have resulted in brain development or brain injury. If a mother consumes alcohol or uses drugs during pregnancy, learning or developmental problems could result.
  • An accident which occurs after birth and which leads to a head or brain trauma.
  • A child that is exposed to toxins, such as heavy metals. A child who is not fed probably and suffers from malnutrition may be at a higher risk of developing learning difficulties.

Before sending a child who is struggling to keep up with his or her peers for an assessment, it may be a good idea to have the child’s eyes tested. Kids who are unable to see properly will certainly lag behind their classmates. A hearing test may also be done to determine if the child can hear correctly.

 

 – Kathy Baron

 

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