Specific learning disorders are neurodevelopmental abnormalities that are usually diagnosed in preschoolers but may not be identified until adulthood. A chronic weakness in at least one of three primary areas: reading, written expression, and/or arithmetic, characterizes them.
A learning disability affects five to fifteen percent of school-aged youngsters (1). An estimated 80% of people with learning disabilities struggle with reading in particular (commonly referred to as dyslexia).
Dyslexia is quite common, impacting 20% of the population (2). Males and females are both affected by dyslexia. Specific learning difficulties have significant comorbidity with other neurodevelopmental diseases (such as ADHD) and anxiety.
(1)Word reading accuracy, spelling, grammar, and math are just a few of the skills that might be impaired. Additionally, reading and math fluency may be recognized. Problems with these skills can impair learning in disciplines such as history, arithmetic, physics, and social studies, as well as affect daily tasks and social interactions.
Mild, moderate, and severe learning disorders are the three types of learning disorders. Accommodations and support services are tailored to the severity of the situation to help a person perform at their best.
If not identified and treated, learning difficulties can create issues throughout a person’s life, in addition to decreased academic accomplishment. These issues include a higher likelihood of psychological discomfort, lower general mental health, unemployment, underemployment, and school dropout.
A jargon word: A medical phrase for diagnosis is a specific learning disorder. The term “learning disorder” is frequently used to describe it. Both the educational and judicial sectors use the phrase “learning disability.”
Though learning disability and specific learning disorder are not synonymous, someone diagnosed with a specific learning disorder can expect to meet learning disability criteria and have the legal status of a federally recognized disability, allowing them to receive accommodations and services in school.
The phrase “learning difference” has gained favor, particularly when discussing challenges with youngsters, because it avoids labeling them as “disordered.”
A person must fulfill four requirements to be diagnosed with a specific learning disability.
1)For at least six months, you must struggle in at least one of the following areas.
- Despite specific assistance:
- Reading is difficult (e.g., inaccurate, slow, and only with much effort).
- The significance of what is read is difficult to comprehend.
- Spelling difficulties.
- Difficulty in expressing oneself through writing (e.g., problems with grammar, punctuation, or organization).
- Number ideas, facts, or calculations are difficult to grasp.
Mathematical thinking is difficult (e.g., applying math concepts or solving math problems).
2)Have academic skills that are far below what is anticipated for a youngster of the child’s age, causing issues in school, in employment, or daily activities.
3)Even if some people may not have substantial problems until maturity, the troubles begin in school (when academic, work, and day-to-day demands are greater).
4)Intellectual impairment, visual or hearing issues, a neurological illness (e.g., pediatric stroke), unfavorable factors such as economic or environmental disadvantage, lack of teaching, or difficulties speaking/understanding the language are not the cause of learning challenges.
Observation, interviews, family history, and school records are used to make a diagnosis. Neuropsychological testing may be used to determine the best course of action for a person suffering from a specific learning impairment.
Dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia are examples of learning disorders.
Dyslexia is a word that refers to a problem with acquiring and processing language, which is usually shown by a lack of reading, spelling, and writing skills. People who have dyslexia have trouble matching letters on a page to the sounds they make. As a result, reading becomes a laborious and lengthy activity for them, rather than a fluid one.
Reading difficulties begin even before a child learns to read. Children, for example, may have difficulty decomposing spoken words into syllables and identifying words that rhyme. Children in kindergarten may not be able to recognize and write letters as well as their classmates.
People with dyslexia may also struggle with spelling and precision. It’s a popular myth that all dyslexic youngsters write letters backward or that all dyslexic people write letters backward.
When possible, people with dyslexia, even teenagers and adults, strive to avoid tasks that require them to read (reading for pleasure, reading instructions). Other mediums, such as photographs, video, and music, are frequently used by them.
Dysgraphia is a word that describes the inability to put one’s thoughts on paper. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and handwriting issues are all examples of writing issues.
Dyscalculia is a phrase that describes problems understanding number concepts or doing arithmetic calculations using symbols and functions. Number sense issues, learning math facts, arithmetic computations, math reasoning, and math problem solving are all examples of math problems.
The degree of a learning disability can vary:
- Mild: Some learning challenges in one or two academic areas, but you might be able to compensate.
- Moderate: Significant learning challenges that need some specialized instruction as well as accommodations or other assistance.
- Severe: Severe learning challenges that affect numerous academic areas and necessitate continual rigorous specialist instruction.
Treatment: Getting Help
While there is no “cure,” particular learning disorders can be handled successfully throughout one’s life. People with certain learning problems can develop into skilled learners and may be able to capitalize on skills that are commonly linked with their learning disabilities. People who have dyslexia, for example, are typically quite creative and can think outside the box.
Having a learning disability does not indicate a person’s job options or chances of success are limited.
For persons with certain learning disorders, early intervention is critical. If difficulties are discovered early, intervention can be more successful, and children can avoid long periods of difficulty with schooling and low self-esteem as a result.
Students with learning disabilities are eligible for special education services under federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If a kid is suspected of having a specific learning disability, the law mandates that the school conduct an examination.
Special education services are available to those who have been diagnosed with certain learning problems. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for the student will be developed by a team that includes school professionals and parents.
If parents are worried, they should expressly request an evaluation. Families may find educational advocates useful during the IEP process. All kids, including those who require special education, must receive a free adequate public education (FAPE) under federal law.
Children with learning challenges might benefit from special education programs to help them improve their reading, writing, and arithmetic skills. Effective therapies include systematic, rigorous, tailored education that may help the individual overcome learning challenges and/or develop compensatory mechanisms for their condition.
Multimodal teaching — employing several senses – is frequently used in education for people with learning difficulties.
For certain learning difficulties, there are no FDA-approved drugs. Medications, on the other hand, maybe prescribed for comorbid conditions like ADHD and anxiety. Structured, focused interventions that address phonological awareness, decoding abilities, comprehension, and fluency are the most effective therapies for reading disorders.
Treatments for writing issues are divided into two categories: the writing process and the process of constructing written expression. Multisensory education is frequently used in the treatment of dyscalculia to assist children to learn arithmetic topics. Children with dyscalculia might benefit from accommodations such as manipulatives and assistive technologies.
Accommodations such as more time on examinations and written tasks, typing on computers rather than writing by hand, and lower class sizes are often beneficial to students with certain learning disorders. As a kid grows and academic expectations vary, successful treatments, techniques, and accommodations for that child may alter.