Learning disorder is when a child has trouble learning a certain subject in school. Your child may have problems with reading, writing and math and his /her skill is below what is expected for a child his age, grade level and intelligence. The problem is bad enough to interfere with school and everyday life.
What causes learning disorder in children ?
It is believed that a learning disorder happens because of problems with the nervous system. The problem may be in the brain structure or the chemicals in the brain may not be working right. As a result a child with learning disorders receives, processes or communicates a different way.
Who is at risk ?
Learning disorders may run in the family. They may also be linked to the following :
- Problems during pregnancy .
- Problems during birth or early infancy .
- Other health conditions such as ADHD ( Attention Deficit / Hyperactive Disorder)
What are the symptoms ?
Symptoms may vary from child to child. Common symptoms are :
Reading disorder : A child reads below a certain level given his age , grade in school and intelligence. Children with this problem read slowly and have trouble understanding what they read. They may also have problems with word recognition. They may confuse words that look alike, a problem known as dyslexia.
Mathematics disorder : The child has problems with numbers. He may have trouble counting, copying numbers the right way, adding and carrying numbers, learning multiplication tables and recognizing math symbols.
Disorder of written expression : A child has trouble with writing skills. He struggles with grammar and punctuation, spelling, paragraph organization or written composition.
How is learning disorder diagnosed ?
Parents and teachers may be the first to spot learning disorders in children. The child may have the following problems.
- Reading, spelling, writing or doing math problems.
- Understanding and following instructions
- Telling right from wrong
- Reversing numbers or letters. Examples are confusing 21 and 12 or b and d .
If you have any concerns about your child’s learning, talk to your child’s pediatrician. He will rule out any medical conditions before referring the child to a mental health provider for evaluation.
How is learning disorder treated ?
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms , general health and age. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. Parents, teachers and mental health experts work together to help the child. Treatment options include the following :
- Special classes or resources
- Individual or group classes
- Speech therapy
- Family therapy
- Medicine if the child is easily distracted or hyperactive
If a learning disability greatly interferes with your child’s ability to succeed in school, he or she may be eligible for reasonable accommodations under the ADA or Section 504 of the Civil Rights Act. Talk with your child’s teacher or principal about how to get more information.
Learning Disorders in Children. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/learning-disorder.html. Accessed October 31st, 2019
Learning disorders: Know the signs, how to help. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/learning-disorders/art-20046105. Accessed October 31st, 2019