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 to notice them easier in your child or even just to teach your children about them in a better way.
What is a Learning Disability?
The 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 each stem from a different issue. The different ways they can affect people include:
- Auditory Processing- This means they issues processing what is said, which makes lectures and spoken lessons difficult. This is different from being deaf.
- Logic- Strategizing, planning and similar tasks are hard with these disabilities. It can make math an especially hard subject.
- Attention- People with attention disorders find it difficult to stay on task with both doing work as well as listening to instructions given.
- Processing Speed- If you think of the brain like a computer, then 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 information short term, such as directions.
- Long Term Memory- this is where people have issues remembering things long term, which is essential for exams and real life application.
It is important to note that a learning disability is quite different from an intellectual disability as people with learning disabilities have the 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 as well. 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 a number of different learning disabilities that people can have. It is important to understand what these conditions are and how they affect a person’s ability to learn. This will help you to understand the condition a little 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 backwards, but in reality this means they simply have trouble comprehending and reading the word. They may see the letters in a different order or simply have issues figuring out the word at all, despite their average or above average intelligence.
Often times the first indication of dyslexia is that a person has trouble reading aloud or simply cannot tell what happened in a story they just read. They may have issues with time management or memorizing short blurbs. This is a learning disorder that in many circumstances 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 that there are many ways to treat it. For instance, 3D letters make it easier for children with this condition to read and learn. There are other tools that 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 a person says even though they have the intellectual capacity to do so. This is also a broad spectrum that can affect a person’s ability to remember words, write and read. In some cases, this can even lead to dysphasia, which is 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 is the result of something. It can be from many different causes ranging from bleeds on the brain, Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s and many other conditions. This is why it is one of the only learning disabilities that tends to get progressively worse until it is diagnosed and treated as well.
The first signs of this condition are issues speaking, such as proper pronunciation of words or forgetting which words to use. They also may not comprehend what is being said to them. There are a wide range of issues that can cause this learning disability at any age. This is why it is important to have the person evaluated immediately to determine what is causing it.
This is often referred to 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 be the result of visual spatial difficulties, meaning they have issues processing what they see. In these cases they may have other issues, such as with 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 just 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. In order to effectively treat this condition, tests will need to be done to determine which is the right cause of the disability. From there, the appropriate course of action can be taken.
This is a learning disability that affects a person’s writing ability. With this condition they have fine motor skill issues that make it difficult for them to write fluently. Some people with this condition simply suffer from having really bad handwriting no matter how hard they work at it.
This can be a difficult condition to be diagnosed simply for the fact that many people have bad handwriting. As with other disabilities, this affects either a person’s ability to accurately perceive what they see or language processing. This means that the cause of the condition will need to be determined in order to accurately handle this disability.
This is a fine motor skill learning disability. this is not one people often associate or even consider a learning disability because they think it is a child just being clumsy. This affects the way a child uses scissors, draws or does other tasks. This can cause issues with learning for the child and may affect their self confidence as well.
This is a condition that not only affects children when they are at school, but at home as well. Parents will find that children with this learning disability have problem brushing their teeth properly or other activities they do on a daily basis. Once you notice your child seems to be having difficult doing activities in a normal manner, it is important to have them evaluated. The earlier this is found and treated, the better the outcome will be.
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 important thing to note with this is that people with auditory processing disorder do not suffer from hearing loss, but simply processing the sounds they hear into words or differentiating them from other things they are hearing, 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 difficult for them as well. They may be disorganized and have problems following conversations. Word problems in math may also be difficult for them to follow as well.
Visual Processing Disorder
While there are several other listed learning disabilities that are caused by visual processing disorders, it is something that a child may have without another disability. People often take for granted all the information their eyes process. For people with a visual processing disorder, they may find it difficult to distinguish between similar shapes, letters or words. This can even cause them to have issues distinguishing colors as well.
This is often an easy condition to spot, though many people think it is another issue, such as dyslexia. Once a child is taken for testing, the real issue is often discovered. The good news is that there are many ways that this condition can be treated. 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.
This is another condition that 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, 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 simply fidget or do other repetitive behaviors to keep them busy. Many people falsely think that every hyper child they encounter has this condition. However, there is a long process that goes into being diagnosed with this condition. There are many medications on the market that can help a person’s attention as well as natural treatments including meditation, yoga, massage and nutritional changes.
What You Can Do
If you have concern that your child has a learning disorder, the best thing you can do is to talk with your child’s teacher first. In many cases, they are the first ones to bring this to the attention of the parent. 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.
A 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 and this way you can know for yourself. Even preschoolers can exhibit signs of learning disabilities that can be noticed.
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 even adults who think they may have a learning disorder, it is something that needs to be done. Not having an evaluation done because you are scared of the results does not accomplish anything. Rather 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 therefore needs to be treated differently. This is important to realize because there is no one fix cure for learning disabilities. In many cases there is very little that can be done and it will be something the person will struggle with throughout their life.
For most learning disabilities there is pill to fix it. 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 the school your child goes to they may be able to have this done while they are at school. They can go for therapy just as children go to speech classes. In other cases they may have to do therapy in their spare time.
There are also many ways that you can help as a parent. Once you understand what the specific issue is, you can find activities at home to help with your child’s treatment. Also, simply by knowing the issue your child has 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 that children with these disabilities will suffer from. This is because children with these disabiities tend to have issues with self confidence. This is especially true if they have an undiagnosed condition. They may feel that no matter how much they try, they are not able to 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 for being bullied than other children. While there are federal laws for bullying now, it is something that can be found to various extents around the country. By diagnosing the problem early, the child will be able to conquer it younger which can reduce 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 all people to work through their emotions so they are better equipped for learning and interacting with others.
Living with a learning disability or having a child with one is not the end of the world. There are millions of people who suffer from this. In fact there are many famous people with learning disabilities. Some of these include:
- Tom Cruise- he suffered with dyslexia when he was young
- Kiera Knightly- she also suffered from dyslexia and found that traditional methods for treatment simply didn’t work for her.
- Terry Bradshaw- famous football player and commentator has ADHD.
- Jim Carrey- Not only does Carrey live with ADHD, but he also has dyslexia.
- Richard Branson- 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 of the celebrities that have come public about their disabilities. The biggest thing to take away from this list is that no one is immune to disabilities, even celebrities. This is why it is important to just own it and find ways to work around it. This means finding ways to make it easier for you or your child to learn everyday.
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
There are also many people who find it helpful to use support groups to get them through. This could be a group you meet up with at certain times or even just 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 you can 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. Here you can find information, resources, support groups and much more. You can even find specialists this way as well. However, if you do find a specialist online, be sure to 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 easier. 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 their life.