Learning Disabilities? Everything you need to know about this.
Learning disabilities can be caused by neurobiological and genetic factors that affect brain function in a way that impacts learning processes. These processing issues can affect basic skills like reading, writing, and math. These processing problems can also affect higher-level skills like organization, time planning and abstract reasoning. Learning disabilities can have a profound impact on a person’s daily life and affect relationships with friends, family, and colleagues.
Learning disabilities are often diagnosed in the school years because students can have difficulties reading, writing, and/or math. Some people are not able to receive an evaluation until after they have completed post-secondary education, or become adults. Others with learning disabilities might not receive an evaluation. They may go on living their lives, not knowing why they are having difficulties in school or how to help their family members.
Learning disabilities should not confused with learning difficulties that are primarily due to visual, hearing or motor handicaps; intellectual disability; emotional disturbance; or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantages
People with learning disabilities generally have average or higher intelligence. It is common for individuals with learning disabilities to appear to have a gap between their potential and their actual achievements. Learning disabilities are sometimes called “hidden disabilities”. The person may appear normal and bright, but might not be able to show the skills expected of someone their age.
Learning disabilities cannot be fixed or cured. They are a lifetime challenge. People with learning disabilities can succeed in school, work, and relationships with others.
Learning disabilities affect how a person learns new information throughout their lives.
Every person has a learning disability. There are no two people the same.
Someone with a learning disability may have difficulty.
- Understanding complex information
- learning some skills
- Looking after yourself or living alone
What can a learning disability mean?
Everyone has a learning disability. Many people with a learning disability are able to work, have relationships, live independently, and obtain qualifications.
Others might require more support in their daily lives.
What causes learning disabilities?
It is not easy to know why someone has a learning disability. Sometimes, it’s because of a person’s brain development, whether before or during birth, or even in childhood.
These are some of the possible causes.
- The mother becomes ill during pregnancy
- Problems during birth can prevent enough oxygen from reaching the brain.
- The unborn baby inherits some genes from its parents that increase the likelihood of having a learning disability.
- Meningitis or injury in the early years of childhood are examples of illness.
You may be more susceptible to learning disabilities due to certain health conditions.
Some people with epilepsy may also have a learning disability, as do many autistic individuals.
Learning disabilities can be caused by;
Experts agree that there is no one cause of learning disabilities. There are however some factors that can cause learning disabilities.
Heredity It has been observed that children whose parents have a learning disability are more likely to get the same disorder.
Health problems during and after birth. Learning disabilities may be caused by illness or injury. Other factors that could cause learning disabilities include drug or alcohol use during pregnancy, birth trauma, poor growth, low birth weight, premature labor, or prolonged labor.
Stress in infanthood: An event that causes stress after birth, such as high fever or head injury.
Environment – Greater exposure to toxic chemicals such as lead in paints, ceramics, toys and other products.
Comorbidity Children with learning difficulties are more at risk of attention problems and disruptive behavior disorders. ADHD can also be found in up to 25% of children diagnosed with reading disorders. It is believed that between 15 to 30 percent of ADHD children have a learning disorder.
What are the signs and symptoms of learning disabilities?
Normal physiological development requires that a child acquire basic motor skills and cognition. Learning disability could indicate a delay or gap in the development of these skills. Before diagnosing the condition, a series of proven and well-researched tests and assessments must be performed.
Profound and multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD)
A person with a profound and multiple learning disorder (PMLD), is someone who has a learning disability that is severe and/or other disabilities that severely affects their ability to communicate and function independently.
A person with a multiple and profound learning disability may have difficulty seeing, hearing, speaking, and moving. These or other conditions can cause them to have complex health and social care needs.
People with a multiple and profound learning disability require support in certain areas of their lives, such as washing, personal care, or eating.
Many people with profound learning disabilities can be involved in making decisions, doing things they love and being independent.
People who have difficulty speaking might find other communication methods, such as sign language, Signong, Makaton or digital systems like the picture exchange communication system (PECS), useful.
Do you have a child who struggles with school? Are they struggling with school? Do they hate writing essays, reading aloud, or math problems? Here are some ways to identify the symptoms of different learning disorders.
Different learning disabilities can look different for each child. One child might struggle with spelling and reading, while another may love books but not understand math. Another child might have trouble understanding the language of others or communicating their thoughts out loud. Although the problems may be very different, they all share the same learning disorder.
It can be difficult to recognize learning disabilities. There are many symptoms and profiles that can be used to identify learning disabilities. Some warning signs are more prevalent at certain ages than others. You can quickly identify the warning signs and take action to help your child.
These checklists provide some warning signs that you may have a learning disorder. Even children without learning disabilities might still have some difficulties. If your child is not mastering certain skills consistently, it is time to be concerned.
Additional help: A reading specialist, or another trained professional, can help your child improve his or her academic skills. Children can also learn organizational and study skills from tutors.
Individualized education program (IEP), A school or special educator may develop an IEP to help a child learn best in school.
Therapy Some children may benefit from therapy, depending on their learning disorder. Speech therapy, for example, can be helpful to children with language impairments. A child with writing difficulties might benefit from occupational therapy.
Complimentary/alternative therapy: Research shows that alternative therapies like music, art, dance can benefit children with learning disabilities.
Experts and parents need to establish goals and evaluate if the child is making progress with the chosen mode of support and intervention. Alternate methods may be used to assist the child if necessary.
Who are the experts for learning disabilities treatment?
A team of specialists will perform a series of tests to determine if a child has LD. These specialists might work together to diagnose and treat LD in children.
Clinical Psychologist: A psychologist who is trained in education. To determine if the child’s intelligence functioning is normal, the Clinical Psychologist performs a specific intelligence test (such Wechsler Intelligence Scale For Children test). This allows the clinician to rule out mild mental retardation and borderline intellectual functioning, which can affect academic performance.
Special educator evaluates the child’s academic performance by administering standard educational assessments (Wide Range Achievement Tests, Peabody Individual Achievement Tests, Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievements, Schonnel Attainment Tests, Curriculum Based Test), to determine the child’s ability in reading, writing, and mathematics. A child with a learning disability may have an academic record that is two years lower than their actual school grade or chronological age.
Counselorhelps to understand behavior and checks for emotional or other problems that could be causing poor school performance.
Pediatrician/Pediatric Neurologist – If there is suspicion of a learning disability, the pediatrician should inquire about the child’s school performance and help the parents to arrange for a psycho-educational assessment. The pediatrician can also advise parents and teachers about remedial education. A pediatric neurologist records a detailed medical history and conducts a thorough physical exam to rule out any other conditions such as hypothyroidism or chronic lead poisoning. Exams at school and home for behavioral problems.
Child psychiatrist: This examines for ADHD symptoms, as it can coexist with other learning disabilities. A psychiatrist will also check for any other conditions that could be causing poor academic performance.
Support for learning disabled people and their family members
When a person is young, doctors and other health professionals might be able tell if they have a learning disability. Some people are diagnosed later in life. It can happen when an adult is diagnosed.
You might be referred by other health professionals if you have been diagnosed with a learning impairment.
Learning disability support
Individuals will determine the level of support they require.
A person with a mild learning impairment may not need any support beyond getting a job. Someone with a profound or severe learning disability might need support in all aspects of their lives. They may also have physical disabilities.
A learning disability can also be experienced by people with specific conditions. A learning disability can be caused by people with Down’s syndrome or autism.
Testing and diagnosis of learning disabilities
It is not easy to diagnose a learning disability. This involves taking a history, testing and being observed by a trained specialist. It is crucial to find a reliable referral. It is important to start with your child’s school. If they are not able to help, you can ask your doctor, or family members who have successfully dealt with learning disabilities.
There are several types of specialists that may be able test for and diagnose learning difficulties.
Psychologists for clinical purposes
An occupational therapist tests for sensory disorders that could lead to learning difficulties.
Therapists in speech and language
In order to get a precise diagnosis, it is common for several professionals to coordinate their services. They might also request input from the teachers of your child.
Synchronization, integration, and abstraction: Terms that describe how the brain works
Professional learning disorders specialists might mention the importance of integration to learning. Integration is the ability to understand the information delivered to the brain. It involves three steps:
Sequencing is the art of arranging information in the correct order.
Abstraction is the process of making sense out of information.
Organization refers to the brain’s ability to use information to create complete thoughts.
Each step is crucial and your child might have a learning problem in any one of these areas. In math, sequencing (the ability of putting things in order) is crucial for learning how to count and do multiplication. It also helps with learning the alphabet and the months of the calendar. Similar to abstraction and organization, many educational skills and abilities are dependent on them. It can block learning if a particular brain activity isn’t occurring correctly.
Helping children with learning disabilities
It can be difficult to know where and what to do when it comes to learning disabilities. It is important to seek out specialists who can diagnose and pinpoint the problem. It is also important to collaborate with the school where your child attends to make adjustments and receive specialized academic support. You must not overlook your role. You know your child better then anyone, so be proactive in exploring your options, researching new services and monitoring your child’s education.
Find out more about your child’s learning disability. Get the details. Learn how the disability affects learning and the cognitive skills involved. Understanding the impact of learning disabilities on your child’s learning ability will make it easier to assess learning methods.
Find out about new treatments and services. Also, learn about your child’s learning disability to help you choose the best treatment option. This will allow you to advocate for your child in school and help you pursue treatment at home.
You can seek treatment and services at your home. You can seek treatment and services at home, even if your school does not have the necessary resources.
Encourage your child to discover their strengths. Children with learning disabilities may struggle in one area, but they can excel in another. Your child’s passions and interests should be taken into consideration. Helping children suffering from learning disorders to discover their passions and strengths can help them deal with the difficulties.
How to help with social and emotional skills
Children with learning disabilities can be very frustrating. Imagine struggling with a skill that your friends do well. You worry about being embarrassed in front of others and you struggle to communicate. For children with learning disabilities, it can be even more frustrating.
Children with learning disabilities might have difficulty expressing themselves, calming down, or reading nonverbal cues of others. This can cause problems in school and among their peers. These areas can be impacted greatly by parents. All children, including those with learning disabilities, have to be able to demonstrate their social and emotional skills. They are more important than academic skills in predicting happiness and lifelong achievement.
Low self-esteem, isolation and behavior problems can all be caused by learning disabilities. These problems can be countered by providing support for children with learning disabilities. This will help them to learn how to communicate, manage frustrations, and overcome challenges. You can help your child develop good emotional habits and set the foundation for success in life by focusing on their personal growth, not only academic achievement.
There is hope for learning disabilities
The brain’s inner workings have been studied extensively by science. One important breakthrough that offers hope for those with learning disabilities and other disorders is neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s natural and lifelong ability for change.
The brain can form new connections throughout life and create new brain cells as a result of learning and experience. These discoveries have led to innovative new treatments for learning disorders that exploit the brain’s capacity to change. Programs like the Arrowsmith program use brain exercises to strengthen and identify weak cognitive areas. Computer-based learning programs can be used to help children with difficulty distinguishing the sounds of words. They slow down the sounds and allow them to understand them, increasing their comprehension.