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Learning Disabilities

Find information on types of learning disabilities / learning disorders. Information on special education for children with learning disabilities.

The National Institute of Health defines a learning disability as "disorders that affect that ability to understand or use spoken or written language, do mathematical calculations, coordinate movements, or direct attention. Although learning disabilities occur in very young children, the disorders are usually not recognized until the child reaches school age."

The most common treatment of these disorders is special education. Most schools have specially trained teachers who may diagnose disorders during an assessment of the child's academic potential and performance. After the assessment the special education instructor should be able to help the child recognize their learning style and help them build skills accordingly. The  instructor may teach the parents and the child what the brain is doing or not doing for the child and help teach them ways to compensate for the brains function or lack thereof.

It is possible that some learning disabilities will be life long conditions. Other times, people may grow out of these with age. Other people have learned to work around or with their "disability" so that it really does not interfere with their adult lives.

ADHD is commonly misdiagnosed. Many learning disorders and behavior disorders have similar symptoms which cause some confusion when diagnosis is being made. It is extremely important to visit an appropriate professional to try to pinpoint the child's problem so that it may be effectively be treated. It is important to realize that ADHD and other learning disabilities may become apparent at the same time but generally, they are completely different problems and need to be treated as such.

Common Learning Disabilities:

Dyslexia - this disorder is characterized by a lack of ability to decode written language. This causes problems with reading, writing, and sometimes even mathematics. There are other symptoms such as short term memory loss. Dyslexia is not reversible or curable. It is a lifelong condition. This does not mean that the person with the disorder is incapable of learning, it just means that generally they have a hard time decoding symbols such as letters and numbers.

Dyscalculia - this is a SLD or specific learning disorder. The particular disorder makes it very difficult for the person with the disorder to learn mathematic concepts. This disorder is neurological. There is no cure but some treatments are available.

Nonverbal Learning Disabilities - People with this disorder often suffer in silence. These children are often diagnosed as being gifted or brilliant. Parents usually determine that something is wrong around preschool age such as difficulty socializing, difficulty becoming more self sufficient, not as physically skilled as other children and may have trouble adapting to different situations. This disorder is important to pick up on early as there are methods of treatment that can help a child become more mainstream.

Processing Disorders - The National Center of Learning Disorders states that "information processing disorders are a deficiency in a person's ability to effectively use the information the senses have gathered. It is NOT the result of hearing loss, impaired vision, an attention deficit disorder or any kind of intellectual or cognitive deficit."

Related Article: Child Behavior Disorders >>

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