Teens and Learning Differences

Parents of teens will often tell me that they thought their child had a learning disorder that was never treated or diagnosed.  Just recently I was asked to share an article about this topic.  Hopefully it helps some parents to recognize some signs of learning differences early on.

10 Early Signs Your Child May Have a Learning Disorder

In most cases learning disabilities won’t be identified in children until after they’ve been attending school for several years. Even then, the indications aren’t always obvious and consequently don’t present themselves clearly apart from formal training. Nevertheless there are some signs that parents can look for if they suspect that their child does indeed suffer from a learning disorder. Here is a list of ten such signs:

  1. Family History – For starters, a parent can identify risk based on heredity. Has there been a history of learning disabilities or congenital diseases which can lead or contribute to a learning disability?
  2. Substance Abuse by Parents – If either of the parents has had in the past or currently has a substance abuse problem, there is a higher risk of a learning disability in the child, particularly if the mother’s abuse continued through her pregnancy.
  3. Motor Skills – If a child shows slow development of gross motor skills (such as walking or standing), or small motor skills (like toes or fingers), this can be a precursor to a learning disability. Watch for these indicators during the first 6 months, particularly in combination with other developmental delays such as …
  4. Cognitive Skills – A child’s ability to recognize faces and retain information, such as repeating a phrase that he or she may have learned once already. An inability to learn skills typical for the child’s age may suggest an LD.
  5. Speech/Language – A child may display some difficulty expressing herself, or have a hard time understanding or recognizing letters or numbers. A doctor exam can isolate many of these cognitive difficulties and eliminate other possibilities such as hearing or vision problems.
  6. Poor Concentration – Although it is a separate issue entirely, ADD often is accompanied by a learning disorder and must be diagnosed separately. Yet a child who is dealing with a learning disability will frequently become distracted out of frustration.
  7. Delayed Speech – On the one hand, the child may begin speaking at a later age than should be expected; then there is delayed or faltering speech, in which the child struggles with correct pronunciation and the ability to express a thought clearly.
  8. Poor Retention – The child, for instance, may be able to follow along with a bedtime fairy tale reading quite well, but then not be able to discuss it in much depth afterward. Inability to recall information that was recently taught or shared is another potential warning sign.
  9. Difficulty Following Direction – A child with an LD might not be able to take simple instructions to complete a task. Bear in mind that most children with an LD have average or above average IQ’s, but simply lack the ability to readily apply it for some reason.
  10. Reading Comprehension – It is often difficult for a child with a learning disability to discern words, characters or be able to read effectively. Depending on the age of the child and the amount of schooling he’s received, reading ability can be a determining sign of an LD.

It’s important to point out that no one indicator is definitive proof that a child is suffering from a learning disorder. There are any number of other possibilities to consider as well. Only through careful observation and professional examination can a child be accurately diagnosed with a learning disability.

Source: National Nannies

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