Does your child have difficulty in understanding basic concepts? Is your kid unable to read a statement in one-go without interruptions?
It is possible your child has difficulty in learning, that is, he/she may have a Learning Disability.

  • What is a Learning Disability?
    A child with learning disability has a problem in either taking in the information (input), storing and organising it or retrieving the information when needed. This problem is usually ignored by parents thinking the child is not listening to them and hence the reason for failure in academics.
    These children have problem in understanding a person or a thing from all aspects, whether it is the inability to convert mental form of words into verbal form, not remembering things, failure to understand written or spoken sentences, hand-eye incoordination and much more.
    DYSLEXIA or Reading Disability is the most common learning disability in which the child cannot connect the phonetic sound of the alphabet to the written symbol.
  • What are the common signs and symptoms you can look for?
    – Problem in remembering what was just told some minutes ago.
    – Failing to classify or organise a particular thing. Example: they cannot categorise that a particular chapter is a part of a particular subject.
    – Difficulty in expressing themselves. Example: they cannot verbally express their feelings easily due to the fact that they cannot decipher the information in their mind and convert it into words.
    – Not being able to explain a topic even though he/she has in-depth knowledge about that topic.
    – It takes time to process a particular piece of information. Example: they cannot understand what has happened in front of them, they cannot act quickly.
    – Lack of planning and execution skills. Example: they cannot plan on what to do next, it takes time for them to decide and plan a move in board games.
    – Issues with problem solving and logical reasoning.
    – Problem identifying and repeating the sounds and hence they have difficulty identifying the letters. Example: in case of dyslexia, they have problem with arranging letters and can’t differentiate between ‘a’ and ‘e’ due to their similar sounds.
    – Difficulty in depth and distance perception. Example: they cannot judge the depth of a swimming pool or cannot hit a ball or catch a ball in the game of Cricket.
    – Inability to judge the tone or body language of a person. Example: If you shout at your kid, they cannot understand your emotion and your tone of anger, so they tend to ignore you.

If you see any of the above symptoms, do consult a professional as soon as possible. Ignoring it would only make your child suffer more.

  • Why do they face such learning issues?
    Normally, we remember more or less whatever is explained to us. If told to repeat what was explained, we can give a brief summary. But kids suffering from Learning Disability find it difficult to organise the knowledge and hence cannot form a proper conclusion in his/her mind.
    They have problems with perception and lack organisational skills. So planning something is a very tough job for them because they just can’t connect the dots.
    It is usually genetic, but it can be acquired too due to neuro-biological factors.
    These children have a problem in judging and arranging letters to make a word, and hence are mostly unable to write a full sentence without a mistake.
    They have issues identifying the English Alphabet for example, it can mean that they can’t understand difference between ‘b’ and ‘d’ as they are mirror images of each other. This leads to them getting confused so much that they cannot read and write. This makes them lose interest in academics.
    They cannot connect a person’s facial expressions or change in tone to the emotions being expressed, they cannot find the relation due to the inability to organise the information in the brain.
    They have problem with understanding the body language of a person, which often leads to them causing misunderstandings with people. They are not much social as compared to their peers.

And yes, they do have lesser IQ, but that doesn’t make them any different from us!

  • Can the problem become worse? How?
    Lack of motivation and encouragement does NOT cause learning disability, but it can worsen the condition.
    If proper instruction is not given to the child and unnecessary frustration due to personal issues is taken out on them, it can cause a wave of confusion in their already confused mind.
    Frequent change in languages and burdening up your child with more homework and workload, can make it difficult for your child to overcome their disability.
    Do not consider this as your child’s weakness and making them feel bad about it can hamper their learning process. It can mess up their mindset.

Detect it, look for symptoms and get it treated as earlier as possible. Because it is possible it can advance over the years.

  • Can this problem be solved?
    Yes, totally. Parents should encourage their kids and they themselves should be patient enough to help them fight this issue. If proper guidance by specially trained professionals and teachers is given to the child, then it is quite an easy job.
    If your child loves art or elocution, use that skill of theirs to help them overcome speech problem or writing/reading issues.
    Make your kids read story books often and let them listen to the audio books of the same stories, so that they can connect the words they heard to the words they read.
    Keep them engaged in activities like drawing, painting, copy-writing and public speaking. Encourage them to embrace their fears.
    Educational institutions have special provisions and extra classes by Special Educators are conducted for students with learning disabilities so that they are not left behind. It helps them maintain the same pace of learning as their peers.
    Consult an Occupational Therapist or a Speech therapist if needed. They can boost up the rehabilitation process too.

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