Learning Disabilities

Students and children with learning disabilities can be very successful in school, but it’s up to parents and teachers to work together to develop a viable system for the student.Girl writing on whiteboard Most universities now offer assistance for college level students with disabilities as well.

First, what is a learning disability? The easiest way to describe learning disabilities is to visualize a great brain that is wired differently than a neuro-typical student. Having a learning disability does not mean a child is less intelligent. Typically, the student with learning disabilities is quite intelligent, they just learn differently than their peers. Students with learning disabilities may show up in:

  • Language processing
  • Reading comprehension
  • Reading fluency
  • Writing
  • Math computation
  • Spelling
  • Math reasoning
  • Organizing
  • Recall of Information

Teachers do not cure learning disabilities as they are a lifelong concern. Teachers who help students with learning disabilities help them learn in the mode that is best suited to their learning style. The first task for a teacher is to determine how this child learns best:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Kinesthetic

Teachers will then identify the student’s strengths and build on these strengths with the help of an entire team. It is important that everyone who works with the child understands the child is not being lazy, disorganized, acting up on purpose, or pretending. It is extremely important that patience is part of the teaching strategy.

Many famous people have learning disabilities. Did you know Walt Disney had learning disabilities? Look at how his creative mind worked. Behavior Doctor Seminars believes the most important step in working with children with learning disabilities is to help them find their gifts and to not see their disabilities.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that 1 in 7 children has some type of learning disability. Approximately 80% of all children with learning disabilities has a reading disability. According the the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 48-50% of students with ADHD also have a learning disability.  Teachers must work to help these children work through their strength modality and build their strengths to overcome their weaknesses.

Check out this great link for information at the college level:

College Support for Students with Disabilities – They offer the following information:

  • Outline for legal rights
  • Shows where and how to find assistance on campus
  • Provides an extensive list of websites, apps and software resources designed for students with disabilities.

Types of Learning Disabilities

  • Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders – This is a sensory disability in which the child has difficulty processing language despite having normal sight and hearing. This video from Dr. Rick LaVoie is awesome information on processing disorders.
  •  Dyscalculia – This is a disability which causes students to not be able to grasp mathematic concepts despite having a normal intelligence. Some students need manipulatives or visualization strategies. This is a great video from the National Center on Learning Disabilities
  •  Dysgraphia – This disability causes students to have a difficult time motor planning how to move the pencil or pen across the paper. Behavior Doctor Seminars has found these pencils and pens are preferred by students with Dysgraphia. Be sure to check with your occupational therapist before you order them, because some therapists might have other resources for your particular student.
  • Dyslexia – This is the most common disability in which a child might be able to read words and yet not understand what the words mean. Some people have dropped the word Dyslexia and call it a reading disability; however, dyslexia is a very real disability. This is a universal screener for dyslexia based on 37 basic questions.
  • Nonverbal Learning Disabilities – The brain is divided into two hemispheres. In Nonverbal learning disabilities the right hemisphere is wired in a way that causes problems for the child to process visual-spatial issues. This causes organizational and evaluation processes. Here is a book on Nonverbal Learning Disabilities
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