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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Learn about "Children with learning disablities"

Few months age, in a teacher's meeting our principal suggested us to watch a Hindi movie "Taaray Zameen Par" to see a character of a teacher who has to deal with a child having learning disability (Dyslexia). Movie was excellent because I could realize that as an educator we have to deal with many kind of kids and if we don't deal every child individually, we can't say that we are successful teachers.

Every session of reception years brings new challenges for teachers like me. In session 2007-08 I have to fact the same situation, as a girl of 4 plus age was not doing well with activities or studies in classroom. Even at break time, she was notinterested in running or playing around. At the end of the session, I decided to read and search about "learning disabilities" and I suggest every parent and teacher to check if their children have any symptom of any disabiliy. To my opinion having proper knowledge of these mental disorder can help us improve the situation.

To write this article I have taken help from Learning, which is world's leading website on learning disabilities and ADHD.

Facts about learning disabilities

- Fifteen percent of the U.S. population, or one in seven Americans, has some type of learning disability, according to the National Institutes of Health.
- Difficulty with basic reading and language skills are the most common learning disabilities. As many as 80% of students with learning disabilities have reading problems.
- Learning disabilities often run in families.
- Learning disabilities should not be confused with other disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, deafness, blindness, and behavioral disorders. None of these conditions are learning disabilities. In addition, they should not be confused with lack of educational opportunities like frequent changes of schools or attendance problems. Also, children who are learning English do not necessarily have a learning disability.
- Attention disorders, such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities often occur at the same time, but the two disorders are not the same.

What is learning disability?

When children have learning problems, their parents are usually the first to notice that something is just not right. Teachers often notice a child having trouble in their class. And when they notice, they want reliable information so they can help their children.

Definition: "A learning disability is a neurological disorder. In simple terms, a learning disability results from a difference in the way a person's brain is "wired." Children with learning disabilities are as smart or smarter than their peers. But they may have difficulty reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, recalling and/or organizing information if left to figure things out by themselves or if taught in conventional ways."

A learning disability can't be cured or fixed; it is a lifelong issue. With the right support and intervention, however, children with learning disabilities can succeed in school and go on to successful, often distinguished careers later in life.

Parents can help children with learning disabilities achieve such success by encouraging their strengths, knowing their weaknesses, understanding the educational system, working with professionals and learning about strategies for dealing with specific difficulties.

Common learning disabilities:

Dyslexia – a language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding written words. It may also be referred to as reading disability or reading disorder.
Dyscalculia – a mathematical disability in which a person has a difficult time solving arithmetic problems and grasping math concepts.
Dysgraphia – a writing disability in which a person finds it hard to form letters or write within a defined space.
Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders – sensory disabilities in which a person has difficulty understanding language despite normal hearing and vision.
Nonverbal Learning Disabilities – a neurological disorder which originates in the right hemisphere of the brain, causing problems with visual-spatial, intuitive, organizational, evaluative and holistic processing functions.

Early Warning Signs of Learning Disabilities:

Learning disabilities affect one in seven people according to the National Institutes of Health. Parents, therefore, need to be familiar with the early indicators of a learning disability in order to get the right help as soon as possible.

The most common learning disability is difficulty with language and reading. A recent National Institutes of Health study showed that 67 percent of young students identified as being at risk for reading difficulties were able to achieve average or above average reading ability when they received help early
Below are several early warning signs commonly associated with learning disabilities between the preschool years and fourth grade. Many young children may exhibit one or two of these behaviors; however, consistent problems with a group of behaviors is a good indication your child may have a learning disability.

Early warning signs: Preschool

- Late talking, compared to other children
- Pronunciation problems
- Slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word
- Difficulty rhyming words
- Trouble learning numbers, the alphabet, days of the week
- Extremely restless and easily distracted
- Trouble interacting with peers
- Poor ability to follow directions or routines
- Early warning signs: Kindergarten through fourth grade
- Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
- Confuses basic words (run, eat, want)
- Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home)
- Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+, -, x, /, =)
- Slow recall of facts
- Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization
- Impulsiveness, lack of planning
- Unstable pencil grip
- Trouble learning about time
- Poor coordination, unaware of physical surroundings, prone to accidents

Early Warning Signs of Learning Disabilities

If you go to the site, you would get all the necessary information about the topic, but I am providing some more article links for a quick study:

* A lot of resources and article links at educators page:
- LD Online-Educators

* Parenting a child with learning disabilities or ADHD is a challenge. To assist you, LD OnLine has gathered the information to help you get started in understanding what your child needs, your rights and responsibilities in working with the school, and ways to support your son or daughter at home.:
- Parents

* Each month, Dr. Larry Silver, Matt Cohen, and Dr. Tracy Gray answer selected questions from parents and educators about learning disabilities and ADHD. See the expert advice they've provided to others who've written in. You might find an answer that applies to your own situation!

- Exper advice

What can parents do?
At "Move to Learn" site, Barbara Phelong (who is herself a resouce teacher, having a 35 years of experience in the field of special education )suggests these fun to learn activities, which can help in children with learning difficulties:
- Another article at the site may be helpful which is about "Spotting learning difficulties
Note: Site suggests to buy books on related topics, but still you can search for free stuff and get help.

* This article would be of interest to the parents, who don't see hope dealing with their child with learning disability.
- Life Success For Students With Learning Disabilities: A Parent's Guide

* Happy dyslexic The purpose of this site is to help dyslexics achieve their potential and be happy. We can contribute to this by bringing more understanding and a positive view on dyslexia, and ways on how to overcome the disadvantages of dyslexia.
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