Suspecting your child has a learning disorder causes stress for any parent. Keep in mind that a learning disorder doesn’t indicate a person’s intelligence nor does it limit the capacity to learn. Furthermore, early detection minimizes the effect a disorder has on a child.
Understanding common disabilities and how to deal with them can reduce the worry and concern many parents experience. The four most common types of learning disorders include:
Speech and Language Disorders
This is the most frequently seen type of disorder in children and can have the biggest negative impact if not detected and managed. Most learning relies on language, so every aspect of a child’s development is affected. Learning to talk, follow directions, read, spell, and write may be impacted.
A youngster with a speech or language disorder will have social interaction issues and may become confused, embarrassed, and withdrawn. Others may express their frustration with inappropriate behavior.
Otherwise creative and intelligent children with this disorder may have difficulty expressing themselves coherently on paper. Writing is a complex skill that combines letter formation, vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and the mechanics of forming sentences while organizing ideas into concise paragraphs. Some children may have difficulty with one of these skills, which may limit their entire writing ability. The cause of a writing disorder is complex and may include language or memory issues, fine motor impairments, or difficulties with vision.
Visual Learning Disorders
Visual learning disabilities aren’t related to a child’s ability to see. Instead, it is a weakness in understanding what is seen. This disorder can affect a child’s ability to interpret or remember information seen on maps, illustrations, or printed words. The child may have trouble reading, spelling, and understanding mathematics.
Thought and Memory Disorders
These disorders become more obvious as a child moves through structured education. As learning becomes more complex, children must remember details in sequential order, such as an address or telephone number. Children with this disorder may be challenged with a mathematic problem requiring steps to find the correct answer. The ability to take a large amount of information and condense it into a meaningful summary may be difficult.
If you suspect your child has a learning disorder, seek diagnosis and support immediately. Your pediatrician will have resources on where to find the best advice. Your child’s school authorities are also a good place to start. There is no need for worry or embarrassment. Taking steps to understand your child’s unique situation will ensure he or she has the best opportunity for normal development and social acceptance.