What Are Learning Disabilities?
Although many people perceive the term “learning disabilities” as a negative label, it can be a valuable way to describe significant problems in learning. Without the understanding as to why a child/adult is not keeping up in school or in the workplace, there is no way to obtain remedial services. Learning disabilities are believed to be biological in nature and can significantly compromise academic skills. Most learning disabilities are in reading. A diagnosis of L.D. can only made if there is not a significant impact of other factors on learning, such as visual/hearing, neurological, and emotional problems.
How do I recognize the symptoms?
Common symptoms of learning disabilities may include some or many of the following symptoms: avoiding reading out loud, trouble pronouncing words when reading, difficulties following directions, slow work style, trouble memorizing, difficulty grasping abstract concepts, trouble with math word problems, avoiding writing assignments, trouble reading social cues, not handling transitions, and anxiety and moodiness in reaction to academic/social struggles. Parents/adults sometimes do not trust their observations or deny the obvious regarding symptoms, which only prolongs suffering and does not allow for timely interventions.
What types of treatments are available?
There are many treatment interventions open to children/adults, and they vary depending on the nature of the issues. Children struggling with sounding out words when reading (decoding), for example, benefit from a multi-sensory approach to learning that engages as many senses as possible to develop academic skills. Reading comprehension difficulties require different types of strategies, such as learning to read for the main idea and making predictions about what one is reading. There are also specific interventions to help remediate weaknesses in organizational writing and math. Some children/adults require specific help in becoming more organized and in managing their time better.