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Monday, January 23, 2012

Learning Disability

Learning Disability

Lazy, underachiever, unmotivated, lack of desire to learn, fails to complete assignments, immature. Do these descriptions ring a bell? Living with an "invisible" disability can be extremely frustrating for a child and his parents. When a child is unable to meet educational expectations, typically, an emphasis may be first placed on the child's behaviors. Not every learning disability is readily apparent; some may be far more subtle and harder to diagnose. Unless a child shows clear-cut delays in development, he may fall through the cracks.

Learning disabilities have a wide range of categories, even talented and gifted children can have a learning disability in another area of learning. Learning disabilities are  lifelong,  however, they certainly do not hamper an individual's ability to become a valuable member of society. A learning disability does NOT mean that the person cannot learn. It simply means, that modifications may need to be made to enhance learning.

The most common learning disabilities are:

  • Dyslexia--difficulties in the language area, which may include reading, spelling, and understanding the concept or meaning of the message within the text.
  • Dysgraphia--difficulties in writing letters and/or keeping the written work within a confined space.
  • Dyscalculia--difficulties in the area of math, which include basic math facts and understanding math concepts.
  • Auditory and Visual Processing--difficulties in sensory integration, although the child has normal vision and hearing, processing in the environment is overwhelming.

Approximately, 65% of our language is non-verbal. Individuals are assessed by their language abilities, which includes writing, speaking, spelling, and reading.

Nonverbal learning disorders (NLD) are also called right-hemisphere learning disorders. NLD is a neurological based learning disorder. This is a complicated learning disorder because it's hard to identify, it often remains undiagnosed, and the children who have it, tend to be misdiagnosed. Children with NLD possess strong skills particularly in the area of language development and rote memory. However, because of the child's inability to interpret non-verbal cues in his environment, it is very difficult for him to understand and respond appropriately.

Children who have NLD exhibit delays in the following areas:

  • Motor--difficulties in coordination and balance.
  • Visual--spatial-organizational-difficulties in visual-spatial recall and perceptions.
  • Social--difficulties in recognizing non-verbal cues and nuances, the inability to interact at an age-appropriate social level, and immature reactions and judgements in comparison to peers.
  • Coping--difficulties in assimilating to new concepts and environments.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) has recently been renamed Auditory Processing Disorder(APD). Typically, the majority of us can learn and process despite background noise. APD is the inability to process language within our environment. Children who are at risk for APD are preemies, kids who have had chronic ear infections, those who are highly distractible and children diagnosed with  ADD/ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, and PDD( the autism spectrum).

If you suspect that your child has a learning disability, early intervention is essential. Talk to your child's physician. Contact an early intervention program in your area, or an education specialist. Headstart is an excellent program that works with "at-risk" preschool children. If you suspect that your school-aged child is having difficulties, request an assessment by the school professionals. Empower yourself by researching learning disabilities and most importantly, don't be afraid to speak up on behalf of your child. You are the best advocate for your child, so don't get discouraged and by all means, be persistent.

AIKYA offers both full and part time intervention for LD and slow learners, with occupational and creative movement therapy. Children in Stds. I, II and III are taught different methods of learning along with therapy and other skills for around two years before getting back to mainstream school. For students — from Class VII and above, a full-time intervention is recommended, a private appearance for the Government Eighth Standard examination, then a move to the National Open School, and thereafter a vocational stream. Part-time intervention is recommended for younger children till the Class III level, for one hour

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