Frequently Asked Questions about Learning Disability

What is Learning disability?


Learning disabilities are a neurological disorder. Normally the brain receives, processes, analyses and stores the information. But in these children, memory sequencing is a problem. The child’s brain is unable to store information. These problems can make it difficult for a student to learn as quickly as someone who isn't affected by learning disabilities. There are many kinds of learning disabilities. Most students affected by learning disabilities have more than one kind. Certain kinds of learning disabilities can interfere with a person's ability to concentrate or focus and can cause someone's mind to wander too much. Other learning disabilities can make it difficult for a student to read, write, spell, or solve math problems.


What causes these disabilities?


The causes of learning disabilities are more diverse and complex and the most learning disabilities stem from difficulties in bringing together information from various brain regions. Factors like genetics, injury to the foetus, prenatal medical problems, and exposure to toxic substances during pregnancy, lead poisoning, premature birth, head injury and poor nutrition may contribute to the cause of learning disabilities.


What Are the Signs of Learning Disabilities?


You can't tell by looking that a person has a learning disability, which can make learning disabilities hard to diagnose. Learning disabilities typically first show up when a person has difficulty speaking, reading, writing, figuring out a math problem, communicating with a parent, or paying attention in class.


What are the types of Learning disability?


People with verbal learning disabilities:


  • Dyslexia: In this condition, the child had difficulty with words, written and spoken. There is confusion with letters such as b, p, d. The child will frequently make spelling errors in terms of word reversal. For example ‘their’ and ‘how’ will become ‘who’. The child may memorise but will be unable to execute as the brain does not process long –term memory.
  • Dyscalculia: The child’s numerical skills are affected. He will have difficulty in learning fundamentals of math. Simple calculation like addition and multiplication will be hard. The child may be practicing but will still not be able to solve problems as he is unable to retrieve the information from the brain.
  • Disgraphia: This is writing sequence oriented disorder. There is a problem in eye-to-hand coordination. His writing will be sloppy and clumsy. The child can’t judge between left and right. He has trouble forming sentences correctly as there is under activity in the brain.


People with nonverbal learning disabilities:


May have difficulty processing what they see. They may have trouble making sense of visual details like numbers on a blackboard. Someone with a nonverbal learning disability may confuse the plus sign with the sign for division, for example. Some abstract concepts like fractions may be difficult to master for people with nonverbal learning disabilities.


Are there any other conditions associated with learning disability?


A behavioral condition called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is often associated with learning disabilities because people with ADHD may also have a hard time focusing enough to learn and study. Students with ADHD are often easily distracted and have trouble concentrating. They may also be excessively active or have trouble controlling their impulses.


Whom should we contact for help?


Once the symptoms are noticed, the child must be taken to a psychologist who will run a battery of tests to see whether there is a huge discrepancy between the verbal IQ and performance IQ.


Once the condition is confirmed, the child will be referred to a special educator. Depending on the type of learning disability, the special educator will then use different techniques so the child is able to learn in new ways. This usually involves the use of flashcards, colours and games. It is easier for the child to learn in bullet form than in paragraphs. It is important that parents and teachers have no high expectation and be extremely patient with the child. Don’t try to teach many subjects at a time. It will take time for him to form answers in an organized manner.


Do we have to include anything special in the diet of the child?


We have also found that nutritional diet which includes Omega 3 fatty acids is beneficial. As the brain is composed of 70 percent water, the child should be given lots of water to drink.”



Will my child be able to go to regular school?



There is no reason why your child cannot be part of the mainstream education. Don’t panic if he has a learning disability. Instead help him deal with it. Individualised educational programmes are available to train the child accordingly. Even shadow teachers provide special attention to such children.


How else can I help my child?


Make the child realise that he has a condition and continue to give him positive reinforcement. Often it has been found that a child with a learning disability is good in painting or with poetry. Tap his potential and encourage him to channelize his talents in the right direction. But first recognize the symptoms. That is your child’s way of telling you that he has a problem and he needs your help and support.

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