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Learning Disabilities & Disorders
Is your child having problems in school? Are they apprehensive about reading out loud,  to their class, writing a story or essay, or doing any type of math problems? It is normal that children at times to have some problems with homework, however, if your child is frequently having issues in the same areas of learning, it very well could signal a learning disorder.  The best thing a parent can do for their child is to learn all they can about learning disabilities such as the symptoms and signs, and what is the best way to treat learning disabilities.

What Are Learning Disabilities?

Learning disabilities, or otherwise known as learning disorders, are terms used to describe a wide variety of learning disabilities that some children may have.

A learning disability does not mean that your child is not intelligent or motivated. Kids with learning disabilities are not just plain lazy or dumb.

Actually these children who have learning disabilities are just as smart as their peers. A learning disability just means that their brains are simply wired differently. This difference affects how they receive and process information.

The best way to describe what a learning disability is simply this:  children and adults with these types disabilities  will see, hear, and understand things differently.

This can, but not always, lead to trouble with learning new information and skills, and putting them to good use. The most common types of learning disabilities will involve problems with reading, writing, math, reasoning, listening, and speaking.

Just Because A Child Has A Learning Disability Doesn't Mean They Won't Be Successful In Life

While it may be tough for a parent to find out that their child has a learning disorder, no parent wants to see their child struggling, and they will do what is best for their child. Parent's may be scared and wonder what this type of disorder means for your child's future, and worry how they will make it through school. There will be concern about your child being "labeled" or "slow" and put into special classes.

However, the most important thing for a parent to remember is that most kids with these disabilities are just as smart as everyone else, and infact do quite well in school. They just need to learn new ways that are geared towards  their unique learning styles. By parents taking the time to learn more about learning disabilities in general, and your child’s learning difficulties specifically, you can help smooth the way for success at school and in their lives.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Learning Disabilities/Disorders?

Learning disabilities will vary from one child to another. While one child may struggle with reading and spelling, another loves books and to read, but can’t understand math. Then another child may have difficulty understanding what someone is saying or communicating to them. The problems are very different, but nonetheless they are all learning disorders. It’s not always easy to spot a  learning disability. Because all children are different in the ways these disorders present themselves, there is no one single symptom or sign that you a parent can look at as proof of a problem with their child . However, some warning signs are more noticeable than others at different ages.If you’re aware of what some of the signs are,  then you’ll be able to  catch a learning disorder early and quickly and take all the neccessary steps to get your child help. The following checklist lists some of the most common "red flags" so to speak, for learning disorders. Remember that even children who don’t have any learning disabilities may still experience some of these difficulties at different times. The time for concern is when there has been a consistent unevenness in your child’s ability to master certain skills.

Signs And Symptoms Of Learning Disabilities In Preschool Children

Problems pronouncing words
Trouble finding the right words to use
Difficulty  with rhyming
Trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, days of the week
Difficulty following directions or learning routines
Difficulty controlling crayons, pencils, and scissors or coloring within the lines
Trouble with buttons, zippers, snaps, learning to tie shoes

Signs And Symptoms Of Learning Disabilities~Ages 5-9

Trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds
Unable to blend sounds to make words
Confuses basic words when reading
Consistently misspells words and makes frequent reading errors
Trouble learning basic math concepts
Difficulty telling time and remembering sequences
Slow to learn new skills

Signs And Symptoms Of Learning Disabilities~Ages 10-13
Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills
Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems
Dislikes reading and writing; avoids reading aloud
Spells the same word differently in a single document
Poor organizational skills (bedroom, homework, desk is messy and disorganized)
Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud
Poor handwriting

Diagnosis And Testing For Children Who Have Learning Disabilities/Disorders

As you already know from reading this, diagnosing a learning disability isn’t always easy. Never assume that you know what your child’s problem is, even if the symptoms seem clear. It’s important to have your child tested and evaluated by a qualified professional. That being said, you should also  trust your instincts (parent's intuition).  If you think something is wrong, then by all means you should  listen to your gut. If you feel that a teacher or doctor is not taking your concerns seriously,  then seek a second opinion. Don’t let anyone tell you to “wait and see” or “don’t worry about it” if you see your child struggling. Regardless of whether or not your child’s problems are because of  a learning disability, intervention is needed.

Keep in mind that finding a specialist who can help may take some time and effort on your part. Even experts  can mix up learning disabilities with ADHD and other behavioral problems sometimes. You may have to look around a bit or try more than one professional. Always get another opinion if you disagree with a specialist.
In the meantime, it is best that you try to be patient, and remember that you may not always get clear answers. Try not to get too caught up in trying to determine the label for your child’s disorder. Leave that to the professionals. Focus instead on steps you can take to help your child and address their symptoms in practical ways.

What Is The Diagnosis And Testing Process For Learning Disabilities

Diagnosing a learning disability is a process that can take some time. It involves testing, talking about family history to the doctor, and observation by a trained specialist. Finding a creditable specialist is important. Start with your child's school, and if they are unable to help you, ask your insurance company, doctor, or friends and family who have dealt successfully with learning disabilities. Types of specialists who is capable of testing for and diagnosing learning disabilities include:
Clinical psychologists
School psychologists
Child psychiatrists
Educational psychologists
Developmental psychologists
Neuropsychologist
Psychometrist
Occupational therapist (tests sensory disorders that can lead to learning problems)
Speech and language therapist

Sometimes it may take several professionals to coordinate services as a team to obtain an accurate diagnosis for your child. They most likely will ask for input from your child's teachers. Recommendations can then be made for special education services or speech-language therapy within your child's school system. A nonpublic school that specializes in treating learning disabilities might be a good alternative if the public school is not working out for your child. For a list of nonpublic schools in your area go to the website for your state's Department of Education.
From The ADHD-BiPolar-Child.com Resources Archive
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