Special Education

What are the signs of a learning disability (LD)?

‘LD’ does not stand for a single disorder. It is a term that refers to a group of disorders.

There is not a ‘lone sign’ that indicates that a person has a learning disability. Experts look for a noticeable difference between how well a child does in school and how well he or she could do, given his or her intelligence or ability. There are also certain clues that may indicate that a child has a learning disability. Most relate to elementary school tasks, because learning disabilities tend to be identified in elementary school. A child probably would not show all of these signs, or even most of them. However, if a child shows a number of these problems, then parents and the teacher should consider the possibility that the child may have a learning disability.

When a child has a learning disability, he or she may exhibit the following characteristics:

Language-specific:

  1. Struggle with spellings
  2. Have a very messy handwriting or hold a pencil awkwardly
  3. Have trouble expressing ideas in writing
  4. Learn languages late and have a limited vocabulary

Reading-specific:

  1. Have trouble learning the alphabets, rhyming words, or matching letters to their sounds
  2. Make many mistakes when reading aloud; often repeat and pause
  3. Not understand what he or she reads
  4. Have trouble remembering the sounds that letters make, or in hearing slight differences between words

Communication-specific:

  1. Have trouble understanding jokes, comic strips, and sarcasm
  2. Have trouble following directions
  3. Mispronounce words or use a wrong word that sounds similar
  4. Have trouble organising what he or she wants to say or not be able to think of the word needed for writing or conversing
  5. Not follow the social rules of conversation, such as taking turns, and may stand too close to the listener
  6. Not be able to retell a story in an order (what happened first, second, third)

Maths-specific:

  1. Confuse mathematical symbols and misread numbers
  2. Not know where to begin a task or how to go on from there

To be honest, the signs of learning disabilities are deceptive; the signs of learning disabilities could be seen in all children who receive poor quality education. Thus, parents should be very watchful and not miss genuine signs.

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