Learning disorders are neurodevelopmental conditions that result in difficulties in reading, writing, calculating, and acquiring academic skills in traditional ways. These disorders are present from birth, and while they can be managed, they never truly go away. Keep in mind that learning disorders don’t mean that one cannot learn in alternative ways. For example, if a child has a disorder that prevents them from writing, they can learn by typing it out or drawing pictures.
Risk Factors for Learning Disorders
Many parents wonder what the risk factors are for learning disorders. We have compiled a list of the most common risk factors:
- Family history of learning disorders
- Premature birth and LWB (low birth weight)
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
While these are the most common risk factors, it is not a complete list of risk factors. Autism resources on Dreamweaver House have more information regarding these risk factors and the statistics that surround them.
Common Learning Disorders
After a parent has learned the risk factors their child faces regarding learning disorders, their next question will be, what type of learning disorders are there? These are the most common learning disorders in children:
Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects a child’s ability to read. A child who has dyslexia has difficulties in writing the alphabet and complete words, alphabet orientation, sounding out words, and as a result, writing words down. Children with dyslexia face difficulty recognizing phonetics and relating them to written letters of the alphabet.
Symptoms of dyslexia include the following:
- Late talking
- The child takes a lot of time to learn new words
- Difficulty or complete inability to spell words correctly
- Difficulty reading out loud
- Difficulty remembering the names of objects, colors, etc.
- The child has difficulty forming words and letters while writing might reverse letters and words or jumble up their spelling.
- Difficulty in memorizing academic material
The most common cause of dyslexia is family history, as it tends to run in families. Other than this, in lesser frequency, premature birth and nicotine or alcohol consumption by a mother during pregnancy can also be a cause of dyslexia in children.
Treatment of dyslexia is difficult, but these children can lead excellent professional lives with adequate management and support. Psychotherapy with dedicated trained tutors can help a child manage their academic life. Tutors trained to deal with children with dyslexia use different educational techniques that help them learn.
Dysgraphia is a disorder that hinders a child’s ability to write coherently. It is characterized by illegible or “bad” handwriting, pencil/pen grip difficulties, hand tremors while writing, etc. Dysgraphia has many causes. It may be caused by physical trauma to the head or physical tremors resulting from several underlying health conditions.
This disorder is first detected when a child learns how to write at school or home. The shape and size of the letters they write might be inconsistent, too big, too small, or all of the above. Children struggling with dysgraphia have issues with spatial planning on paper. They also misuse lines and margins, going above and below them and not managing to write within the lines and margins.
Dysgraphia can be managed with appropriate motor disorders that may help control their writing movements. It can also be regulated through occupational therapy or by providing the child with resources that do not require writing, such as permission to type out their assignments.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not inherently a learning disorder; however, a child’s difficulty in focusing ends up hindering his ability to learn. Unlike other learning disorders, however, ADHD can be managed with the help of medication and appropriate therapy. Children who do not have access to such treatment may suffer from hindrances in their full academic potential. This might result in them facing many of the same issues as those with learning disorders.
Other than ADHD, children with ASDs (Autism Spectrum Disorders) often face difficulties in language skills and verbal and non-verbal communication, hindering their ability to learn.
Dyscalculia is a math learning disorder. Symptoms that indicate that a child is suffering from dyscalculia include:
- Trouble with mental math
- Using fingers to count even the simplest mathematical calculations
- Trouble reading time on an analog clock
- Expressing distress and anxiety while solving mathematical questions
- Trouble handling money
- Difficulty in remembering numbers and simple math rules
Diagnosis of dyscalculia is made by a qualified professional who uses tests to assess the math IQ. A child officially diagnosed with dyscalculia is provided with special accommodations in schools and universities.
Learning disorders may often have no discernible cause. Children with learning disorders may better be classified as differently-abled, and their disorders can mostly be managed through alternative learning methods. Parents and children should not lose hope.
Dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia are the most common learning disorders children face. There are many resources that one can use to assist these children in making their lives and learning experiences much easier.