Signals of Learning Disabilities

Parents are often worried when their child has learning problems in school. There are many reasons for school failure, but a common one is a specific learning disability. Children with learning disabilities usually have a normal range of intelligence. They try very hard to follow instructions, concentrate, and "be good" at home and in school. Yet, despite this effort, he or she is not mastering school tasks and falls behind. Learning disabilities affect at least one in 10 schoolchildren.

It is believed that learning disabilities are caused by a difficulty with the nervous system that affects receiving, processing, or communicating information. They may also run in families. Some children with learning disabilities are also hyperactive; unable to sit still, easily distracted, and have a short attention span.

Parents should be aware of the most frequent signals of learning disabilities:

Such problems deserve a comprehensive evaluation by an expert who can assess all of the different issues affecting the child. A child and adolescent psychiatrist can help coordinate the evaluation, and work with school professionals and others to have the evaluation and educational testing done to clarify if a learning disability exists.

This includes talking with the child and family, evaluating their situation, reviewing the educational testing, and consulting with the school. The child and adolescent psychiatrist will then make recommendations on appropriate school placement, the need for special help such as special educational services or speech-language therapy and help parents assist their child in maximizing his or her learning potential.

Sometimes individual or family psychotherapy will be recommended, and medication may be prescribed.

Useful hints
If you see troubling behaviours that seem persistent and severe, it's time to take action. These questions can help you:

If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, talk to your family doctor or paediatrician about your child's feelings and behaviour.

Extracted from The Star - Fitforlife (Sunday 12th Oct 2003)

We list below some useful websites for your further enquiries:

                    http://www.nea.org
                    http://www.aft.org
                    http://www.ncld.org
                    http://www.ninds.nih.gov