Recognizing a Child's Learning Disability Early

Metro Editorial
Posted

When a child starts school, the hope of parents is that the child will have every opportunity to succeed and realize his or her full academic potential. Some students, however, could unknowingly begin school without a level playing field.

According to the Data Accountability Center, 43 percent of the nearly 2.5 million students currently receiving special education services have been identified as having learning disabilities. Parents should know these are just the children who have been diagnosed. Many more kids struggle in school every day, and those struggles could result from an undiagnosed learning disability.

Part of the problem with recognizing learning disabilities is that they are not one-size-fits-all. Children with learning disabilities don't fit a single profile. Much like there are many different learning disabilities, there are many different ways a child can respond to one.

However, the National Center for Learning Disabilities notes the following signs could be indicative of a learning disability and parents of children who show any of the following symptoms should seek help:

* Poor organizational skills

* Spelling the same word differently in a single document

* Weak memory skills

* Reluctance to take on reading or writing tasks

* Trouble with open-ended questions on tests

* Slow work pace

* Difficulty filling out applications or forms

* Easily confused by instructions

Oftentimes, exhibiting any of the above symptoms is not necessarily the sign of a learning disability. However, when the symptoms mentioned occur repeatedly, parents should be concerned. If parents suspect their child has a learning disability, a professional consultation should be scheduled. While a learning disability should be a cause for concern, parents should know plenty of successful people have been diagnosed with learning disabilities but still learned to live with them and experience success in the classroom and beyond.

When a learning disability goes untreated or students and parents alike don't put maximum effort toward managing and overcoming a disability, the chances of it negatively affecting them as adults increase. The United States Department of Education notes that 25 percent of students with a learning disability drop out of high school. By comparison, only 9.4 percent of students in the general population drop out of high school.

Even students who seek vocational careers could suffer if they don't learn to manage their learning disability. Poor organizational skills and limited literacy skills could result in low job satisfaction, which can make it difficult for adults with learning disabilities to keep a job.

Parents concerned their children might have a learning disability can learn more by visiting the National Center for Learning Disabilities at www.ncld.org.