What is a Learning Disability?
A Learning Disability is a neurological disorder that often shows itself in a child who has difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and organizing information. These disabilities cannot be cured or fixed, they are something the child has to learn to live with and find ways to overcome. In many cases children with Learning Disabilities are as smart or smarter than their peers and can show signs of frustration when a lack of understanding or results is present in the classroom.
With nearly 42% of school age children receiving some form of assistance for a diagnosed Learning Disability this category is one of the most common seen at school or play. Of the 42%, approximately two-thirds are male, making it more prevalent in boys than in girls. Attention issues are much different from Learning Disabilities and children with Learning Disabilities often do not draw attention to themselves and it can take a few years to actually diagnose and begin a path to treatment and improvement for the child with a Learning Disability.
Learning Disabilities show up in a variety of ways. A Language-Based Learning Disability (LBLD) can affect a variety of communication and academic skills. This includes listening, speaking, reading, writing and performing math calculations. Children with this form of a Learning Disability have been known to be unable to perform the alphabet in the correct order and have difficulty sounding out a spelling work. Children suffering from LBLD may be able to read an entire story without being able to explain the subject matter of the story at all. A variety of therapies and counseling can assist children who suffer from LBLD, but often it’s not discovered until the child is of school age.
Children with LBLD often show the following:
- Learning is difficult because the information becomes fuzzy or scrambled
- A serious deficiency in reading comprehension, spelling, written expression, math computation, problem solving, organizational skills, time management or social skills
- An inconsistency to have problems in these areas, but some problem is always present
- Often act out from frustration to themselves and others
Another form of a Learning Disability is a Nonverbal Learning Disability (NVLD). Children with NVLD often miss nonverbal cues and have difficulty understanding nuances and sarcasm. These children are typically highly intelligent and understand reading and writing but can read an entire story while missing important parts of the story. Unfortunately for children with NVLD, they are often classified as “different” by their peers because they don’t comprehend the same nonverbal cues the rest of society so easily processes. Diagnosing NVLD can be difficult because it shows up in ways that simply seem to be socially inappropriate, however when repeated actions are present and children seem to have problems keeping friends, parents and teachers should be aware to consider NVLD.
Children with NVLD often show the following signs:
- Talking, but not connecting
- Asking about things, but not exploring
- Strong reading and spelling, but poor comprehension
- Memorizing math answers, but showing no understanding of the concepts behind them
- Memorizing information, but not knowing how to share it
In either form of Learning Disability, early detection and diagnosis is vital in order to properly manage the disability and provide the assistance and accommodations needed for these children in order for them to thrive and grow intellectually and socially. Children with Learning Disabilities have shown over the years they can flourish and become successful, with the support offered through Special Education services these children can be shown how to work and overcome their disability to be successful.