A learning disability is characterised by a group of conditions that affects language processing, which leads to difficulty in comprehension as well as with reading, writing, speaking, and mathematical concepts. It might also affect the attention and coordination of movements. It is a neurological disorder and is difficult to identify as it is a hidden condition, unlike other disabilities. The group of disorders in learning disability involves dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. Dyslexia means having difficulty in processing language. Dyscalculia involves issues with number-related concepts, mathematical problems and reasoning. Dysgraphia is associated with handwriting and Dyspraxia also known as developmental coordination disorder (DCD) affects physical coordination and balance.
Learning disability not just affects the child’s academic performance but also impacts interpersonal relationships and may lead to other mental health problems.
Empathise with your child – Parent’s role
The parents of children who struggle in school think that their child is lazy and dumb.
They compare them and make them feel inferior. Children with learning disability hear phrases like “You are stupid, you just don’t want to study, and you are scared of hard work”. People with a learning disability are not stupid or lazy. This condition does not involve a problem with intelligence or motivation. They have normal levels of intellectual functioning i.e. average or above-average intelligence. A variation in the way the brain processes information contributes to learning disability. Their brains are wired differently. More specifically, their brain’s neural network or connections are the problem. and this variation has an impact on how individuals receive and process information. Parents need to understand that every child has potential, it is not the learning disability that comes in the way of their success but the non-identification and non-acceptance of the condition that hinders their growth. Famous people like mathematical genius Albert Einstein, Hollywood actor Tom Cruise, Apple founder Steve Jobs and many others were able to find their strength and were able to achieve success. Hence, parents need to identify their child’s strengths and provide the support they need to achieve their potential.
Teacher’s Role in Early Identification
Many times teachers fail to identify the problem of children who are unable to perform well in class. Making observations is the first step in recognizing a child with a learning disability. First, teachers can pay more attention to the students who underperform in class. When a student has difficulties in reading, writing, or maths, the teacher can make some observations by noting patterns in the errors made by the child. The teacher might then seek the school counsellor’s assistance and alert the parents. School counsellors can administer screening tests and then refer the results to a clinical psychologist for a more detailed analysis.
Both parents and teachers play a very important role in helping the child with a learning disability face the challenges of everyday life. Every child is different and so are their needs. All they require is teaching that is specific to their learning styles.