Learning disabilities are real problems that millions of children struggle with every day. There are a few learning disabilities that you should know about. Understanding the different types of learning disabilities can help you notice them easier in your child or even teach them about them better.
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What is a Learning Disability?
A learning disability definition is simply a condition that impairs a person’s ability to learn in one way or another. There are different types of learning disabilities that people can have. Each of the disabilities is different as they stem from a separate issue. The different ways they can affect people include:
- Auditory Processing- This means they process what is said, making lectures and spoken lessons difficult. This is different from being deaf.
- Logic- Strategizing, planning, and similar tasks are complex with these disabilities. It can make math a tricky subject.
- Attention- People with attention disorders find it difficult to stay on task while doing work and listening to instructions given.
- Processing Speed- If you think of the brain like a computer, people with these learning disabilities have slower computers, meaning it takes longer to download information.
- Visual Processing- This affects people’s ability to perceive and analyze things they see.
- Working Memory- This is when people have issues retaining short-term information, such as directions.
- Long-Term Memory- this is where people have issues remembering things long-term, which is essential for exams and actual life applications.
It is important to note that a learning disability is quite different from an intellectual disability as people with learning disabilities have intelligent; there is just another disability that holds them back from learning. It is also important to note that autism is different from learning disabilities. While someone with autism may have a learning disability, it does not mean that it falls under that category.
The Many Types of Learning Disorders
There are several different learning disabilities that people can have. Understanding these conditions and how they affect a person’s learning ability is essential. This will help you understand the situation better as they are very diverse. There are a few major learning disabilities you should know about to understand whether your child is at risk of them.
This is one of the most commonly recognized learning disabilities. Many people think that it means people see words backward, but in reality, they have trouble comprehending and reading the word. They may see the letters differently or have issues figuring out the word, despite their average or above-average intelligence.
Often the first indication of dyslexia is that a person has trouble reading aloud or cannot tell what happened in a story they just read. They may have issues with time management or memorizing short blurbs. In many circumstances, this is a learning disorder that is not noticed until later in elementary school because it is often attributed to children still learning to read.
The nice thing about dyslexia is its many ways to treat it. For instance, 3D letters make reading and learning easier for children with this condition. Other tools can make it easier for them to read and comprehend. While this is a condition the person will struggle with for the rest of their life, there are many ways that this can be made easier with simple changes.
This is a condition where a person has issues comprehending what they say even though they have the intellectual capacity to do so. This broad spectrum can affect a person’s ability to remember words, write and read. In some cases, this can even lead to dysphasia, where the person loses the ability to speak.
While other learning disabilities on this list people are born with, this is the only one that results from something. It can be from many causes ranging from bleeds on the brain and Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s and many other conditions. This is why it is one of the only learning disabilities that tend to worsen until it is diagnosed and treated.
The first signs of this condition are issues speaking, such as the proper pronunciation of words or forgetting which words to use. They also may not comprehend what is being said to them. A wide range of issues can cause this learning disability at any age. This is why it is essential to have the person evaluated immediately to determine what is causing it.
This is often referred to as dyslexia for math. With this, people will have issues understanding numbers and how to work with them. There are two different ways that this can work. It can result from visual-spatial difficulties, meaning they have issues processing what they see. In these cases, they may have other problems, such as dyslexia. The other cause of this learning disability is language processing. This means they have issues processing what they hear.
This is often caught in young children who cannot seem to learn their numbers. However, school-age children may exhibit this by having issues with math facts and math-related problems in school. To effectively treat this condition, tests will need to be done to determine the correct cause of the disability. From there, Who can take the appropriate course of action?
This is a learning disability that affects a person’s writing ability. With this condition, they have delicate motor skill issues that make it challenging to write fluently. Some people suffer from terrible handwriting no matter how hard they work.
This can be a complex condition to be diagnosed simply because many people have bad handwriting. As with other disabilities, this affects a person’s ability to perceive what they see accurately or language processing. This means who must determine the condition’s cause to handle this disability accurately.
This is a fine motor skill learning disability. This is not one people often associate with or even consider a learning disability because they think it is a child just being clumsy. This affects how a child uses scissors, draws, or does other tasks. This can cause issues with learning for the child and may also affect their self-confidence.
This condition affects children not only at school but also at home. Parents will find that children with this learning disability have problems brushing their teeth properly or doing other daily activities. Once you notice your child seems to be having difficulty doing exercises in a usual manner, it is essential to have them evaluated. The earlier this is found and treated, the better the outcome.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
This is also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD). It is a condition that affects a person’s ability to comprehend the things they hear. When they cannot process what they are hearing, they cannot learn. So even though this does not fall under the category of a learning disability by federal law, it is a good indicator of why a child may be having an issue learning.
Studies have shown that at least 5% of all children in school have auditory processing disorder. The critical thing to note is that people with auditory processing disorder do not suffer from hearing loss. Still, process the sounds they hear into words or differentiate them from other things they hear, such as background noises or discussions in class.
People with this condition are often easily distracted. They are often upset by noisy environments as well. Following directions may be complicated for them as well. They may be disorganized and have problems following conversations. Word problems in math may also be complex for them to follow.
Visual Processing Disorder
While visual processing disorders cause several other listed learning disabilities, it is something that a child may have without another disability. People often take for granted all the information their eyes process. People with a visual processing disorder may find it difficult to distinguish between similar shapes, letters, or words. This can even cause them to have issues determining colors as well.
This is often a manageable condition, though many people think it is another issue, such as dyslexia. Once a child is taken for testing, the real problem is often discovered. The good news is that there are many ways that Who can treat this condition. In many circumstances, it takes more practice to train the brain correctly. This may be as simple as doing Where’s Waldo puzzles with your child.
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
This condition is not recognized by federal law as a learning disability but can play a huge role in learning issues for people with this condition. This is because a lack of attention makes it difficult for people to focus on a lecture or discussion. They often have issues staying on task.
In many cases, a child will not be bouncing out of their seat like many think. They may fidget or do other repetitive behaviors to keep them busy. Many people falsely believe that every hyper child they encounter has this condition. However, a lengthy process goes into being diagnosed with this condition. Many medications on the market can help a person’s attention and natural treatments, including meditation, yoga, massage, and nutritional changes.
What You Can Do
If you are concerned that your child has a learning disorder, you can best talk with your child’s teacher first. They are often the first to bring this to the parent’s attention. From there, you will need to have your child evaluated. They can usually test for multiple issues, including learning and behavioral disabilities, at one time. From there, you will be able to get the treatment your child needs.
The big mistake parents make is thinking their child is too young to have a learning disability. They think they are just learning at their own pace. While this may be true, it is best to have them evaluated; this way, you can know for yourself. Even preschoolers can exhibit signs of learning disabilities that Who can notice?
Developmental milestones are there to be a good guide for parents. Use them to ensure your child is at the level they should be at, and if they are not, then it is time to have them evaluated. While this may seem scary for parents or adults who think they may have a learning disorder, it needs to be done. Not having an evaluation done because you are scared of the results does not accomplish anything. Instead, by understanding the issue, you will be able to find the right solution to solve it.
How to Treat Learning Disabilities
The first thing to realize is that each learning disability is different and needs to be treated differently. This is important because there is no one to fix a cure for learning disabilities. In many cases, Who can do very little, and it will be something the person will struggle with throughout their life.
For most learning disabilities, there is a pill to fix them. It will mean going through years of therapy. This will train their brain to function in the way it needs for them to learn properly. Depending on your child’s school, they may be able to have this done while at school. They can go for therapy just as children go to speech classes. In other cases, they may have to do medicine in their spare time.
There are also many ways that you can help as a parent. Once you understand the specific issue, you can find activities at home to help with your child’s treatment. Also, simply by knowing your child’s case, you will have an easier time understanding what they are going through, which can make it easier to be there for them.
Issues of Children with Learning Disabilities
While learning disabilities mean having lower grades in school, this is not the only issue children with these disabilities will suffer from. This is because children with these disabilities tend to have self-confidence issues. This is especially true if they have an undiagnosed condition. They may feel that no matter how much they try, they cannot get the results they are looking for.
Also, children whose teachers do not know they have a learning disability or are unfamiliar with the disorder may not know how to handle the condition. They can get frustrated with the child, which only makes it harder for the child to learn or may turn them away from learning altogether.
These children are also at a higher risk of being bullied than other children. While there are federal laws for bullying now, it is something that Who can find to various extents around the country. By diagnosing the problem early, the child will be able to conquer it younger, reducing the chances of being bullied.
Many children with learning disabilities can benefit from seeing a mental health professional, even if it is just as simple as a therapist. This can give them the chance to express any concerns and feelings they have about their condition. It is a healthy way for everyone to work through their emotions, so they are better equipped to learn and interact with others.
Living with a Learning Disability
Living with a learning disability or having a child with one is not the world’s end. There are millions of people who suffer from this. There are many famous people with learning disabilities. Some of these include:
- Tom Cruise- suffered from dyslexia when he was young.
- Kiera Knightly- also suffered from dyslexia and found that traditional treatment methods didn’t work for her.
- Terry Bradshaw- a famous football player and commentator, has ADHD.
- Jim Carrey- Not only does Carrey live with ADHD, but he also has dyslexia.
- Richard Branson- the Virgin founder, has dealt with dyslexia all his life.
- Cher- She was diagnosed with dyscalculia.
- Justin Timberlake- He not only deals with ADHD but OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
- Woody Harrelson- He has dealt with ADHD all his life.
- Jay Leno- Even with dyslexia, he still managed to get accepted into Emerson College in Boston.
These are just some celebrities who have come out publicly about their disabilities. The biggest thing to take away from this list is that no one is immune to disabilities, even stars. This is why owning it and finding ways to work around it is essential. This means finding ways to make it easier for you or your child to learn daily.
It is also important to remember that many people with learning disabilities go on to live successful lives. Just because you or your child is diagnosed with one of these disabilities does not mean they will never do what they want with their life. While they may have to work harder, their future is just as bright as it has always been.
Making Life Easier
Many people find it helpful to use support groups to get them through. This could be a group you meet with at certain times or even on social media. There are groups on Facebook for just about everything. You may find it helpful to talk with others who are going through the same thing.
Your child’s therapist should also be able to give you tips and tricks for making this easier on you. It is also a good idea to take the time to learn all you can about the disability. By learning more about what it is and the root cause, you will find it easier to live with.
You will also find it helpful to learn as much as possible about the disability. There are many resources out there that can help you with this. A simple Google search will show you all that you need to know. You can find information, resources, support groups, and much more here. You can even find specialists this way as well. However, if you find a specialist online, do your research to ensure they will give your child the help they need.
While there will be an adjustment period to get used to the learning disability, you will find that knowing what is causing the issue with learning for either you or your child will make things much more manageable. It will allow you to create a plan for everything you do that sets you or your child up for success in school and throughout life.