To have a learning disability is to have a neurological disorder. It is not a lack of intelligence and it is not a character flaw.
If your child is struggling with learning disabilities, he or she may have a hard time absorbing certain academic concepts or practicing certain social skills. But it’s not something that will stop him or her from being successful in life, especially if it is identified early.
Identifying Learning Disabilities Early
The sooner you pinpoint what’s happening with your child, the sooner you can start to help him acquire the skills he needs to overcome the obstacles to gaining and retaining information. Some of the signs include:
- Poor memory
- Slow to complete work
- Spelling the same word different ways on the same page
- Confused by directions
- Uninterested in tasks that involve reading or writing
- Difficulty following directions
- Misunderstanding directions
- Difficulty grasping intangible concepts
- Inability to stay organized
- Hard time adapting a skill set in multiple situations
- Problems paying attention to details
- Difficult time answering open-ended questions
- A character flaw
- An act
- A moral failing
- A lack of intelligence
- A mental health disorder
- Caused by parents or poor parenting
- A dead end
- An obstacle, not a limitation
“I grew up with learning disabilities, and one of the hardest things was convincing people that I wasn’t lazy. I looked normal, spoke normally, acted normally – they thought my inability to focus on certain things and my need to re-read things over and over again before I caught on was just an excuse to try and get out of my work.
I got help throughout my life at school and graduated from college, too, though it took me longer to graduate than most people. I’m successful now. My brother and I own a business together, I’m married, and I have two kids. I run the front of the house and my brother does the ordering and the accounting. All it takes is a little experimentation to figure out where you fit.”
Help for Learning Disabilities
Depending upon the specific areas and learning disabilities that your child struggles with, the avenue to overcoming the obstacle will vary. In general, the focus will usually be on:
- Organizational skills. The first step is to create a schedule and determine what work needs to be done and when. Large projects can be broken down and completed over multiple days and a checklist can be created to help your child manage his responsibilities for each day.
- Breaking down directions into manageable steps. Multi-step directions are difficult for children with learning disabilities, especially those with memory problems. Learning how to read directions all the way through and performing each directive one by one is a big step.
- Practicing comprehension skills. There are a number of different ways to practice comprehension – drawing pictures, retelling the story, drawing a map of events, answering questions – and each one helps your child learn how to pay attention to details.
- Practicing extrapolation. The ability to apply a skill learned for one task to another task is a big part of learning in a number of subjects. It’s also a focus of therapeutic intervention for learning disabilities.
If you would like to discuss your child’s specific difficulties with learning, contact us today. We can help you find the right therapeutic team to help your child learn how to overcome obstacles to learning today.