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  1. Learning Disabilities – Checklist

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    What is a learning disability?

    A child with a learning disability cannot try harder, pay closer attention, or improve motivation on their own; they need help to learn how to do those things. A learning disability, or learning disorder, is not a problem with intelligence. Learning disorders are caused by a difference in the brain that affects how information is received, processed, or communicated. Children and adults with learning disabilities have trouble processing sensory information because they see, hear, and understand things differently.  

    “Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include children who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.” (IDEA, 2004)

    Learning disability is a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. These disorders are intrinsic to the individual and presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunction. Even though a learning disability may occur concomitantly with other handicapping conditions, it is not the direct result of those conditions.

    Characteristics of Learning Disabilities

    Some of the common characteristics exhibit by a child with learning disabilities can be:

    ·         Reading problems – 90% of all children identified

    ·         Deficits in written language – Perform lower across most written expression tasks

    ·         Underachievement in math – 50% have math IEP goals

    ·         Poor social skills – 75% have social skills deficits

    ·         Behavioral problems

    The defining characteristic is

    ·         Specific and significant achievement deficits in the presence of adequate overall intelligence

    Motor difficulties and learning disabilities

    Motor difficulty refers to problems with movement and coordination whether it is with fine motor skills (cutting, writing) or gross motor skills (running, jumping). A motor disability is sometimes referred to as an “output” activity meaning that it relates to the output of information from the brain. In order to run, jump, write or cut something, the brain must be able to communicate with the necessary limbs to complete the action.
    Signs that your child might have a motor coordination disability include problems with physical abilities that require hand–eye coordination, like holding a pencil or buttoning a shirt.

    Math difficulties and learning disabilities

    Learning disabilities in math vary greatly depending on the child’s other strengths and weaknesses. A child’s ability to do math will be affected differently by a language learning disability, or a visual disorder or a difficulty with sequencing, memory or organization.
    A child with a math–based learning disorder may struggle with memorization and organization of numbers, operation signs, and number “facts” (like 5+5=10 or 5×5=25). Children with math learning disorders might also have trouble with counting principles (such as counting by 2s or counting by 5s) or have difficulty telling time.

    Language difficulties and learning disabilities

    Language and communication learning disabilities involve the ability to understand or produce spoken language. Language is also considered an output activity because it requires organizing thoughts in the brain and calling upon the right words to verbally explain something or communicate with someone else.

    Signs of a language–based learning disorder involve problems with verbal language skills, such as the ability to retell a story and the fluency of speech, as well as the ability to understand the meaning of words, parts of speech, directions, etc.

    Reading difficulties and learning disabilities

    There are two types of learning disabilities in reading. Basic reading problems occur when there is difficulty understanding the relationship between sounds, letters and words. Reading comprehension problems occur when there is an inability to grasp the meaning of words, phrases and paragraphs. Signs of reading difficulty include problems with:

    • letter and word recognition
    • understanding words and ideas
    • reading speed and fluency
    • general vocabulary skills

    Writing difficulties and learning disabilities

    Learning disabilities in writing can involve the physical act of writing or the mental activity of comprehending and synthesizing information. Basic writing disorder refers to physical difficulty forming words and letters. Expressive writing disability indicates a struggle to organize thoughts on paper.

    Symptoms of a written language learning disability revolve around the act of writing and include. They include problems with:

    • neatness and consistency of writing
    • accurately copying letters and words
    • spelling consistency writing organization and coherence

    Auditory and visual processing: the importance of the ears and the eyes

    The eyes and the ears are the primary means of delivering information to the brain, a process sometimes called “input.” If either the eyes or the ears are not working properly, learning can suffer and there is a greater likelihood of a learning disability or disorder.

    Professionals may refer to the ability to hear well as “auditory processing skills” or “receptive language.” The ability to hear things correctly greatly affects the ability to read, write and spell. An inability to distinguish subtle differences in sound, or hearing sounds at the wrong speed make it difficult to sound out words and understand the basic concepts of reading and writing. 

    Problems in visual perception include missing subtle differences in shapes, reversing letters or numbers, skipping words, skipping lines, misperceiving depth or distance, or having problems with eye–hand coordination.  Professionals may refer to the work of the eyes as “visual processing.” Visual perception can affect gross and fine motor skills, reading comprehension, and math.

    Common Types of Learning Disabilities

    Types of Learning Disabilities

    Difficulty

    Problems

    Dyslexia

    Difficulty in processing language

    Reading, writing, spelling, speaking

    Dyscalculia

    Difficulty with math

    Doing math, understanding time, money, etc

    Dysgraphia

    Difficulty with writing

    Handwriting, spelling, organizing ideas

    Dyspraxia

    Difficulty with fine motors

    Problem with hand-eye coordination, balance, manual dexterity

    Auditory Processing Disorder

    Difficulty hearing differences between sounds

    Reading, comprehension, language

    Visual Processing Disorder

    Difficulty interpreting visual information

    Reading, math, maps, charts, symbols, pictures

    Learning disabilities related problems

    Social and emotional difficulties

    Sometimes kids have trouble expressing their feelings, calming themselves down, and reading nonverbal cues, which can lead to difficulty in the classroom and with their peers.

    Social and emotional skills are an area where you can have a huge impact as a parent. For all children, but especially those with learning disabilities, social and emotional skills are the most consistent indicators of success, outweighing everything else, including academic factors.  Academic challenges may lead to low self–esteem, withdrawal and behaviour problems, but you can counter these things by creating a strong support system for your child and helping them learn to express themselves, deal with frustration and work through challenges. Your focus on their growth as a person, and not just on academic achievements will help them learn good emotional habits and the right tools for lifelong success.

    Other disorders that make learning difficult

    Difficulty in school does not always stem from a learning disability. Anxiety, depression, stressful events, emotional trauma, and other conditions affecting concentration make learning more of a challenge.

    • ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), while not considered a learning disability, can certainly disrupt learning. Children with ADHD often have problems with sitting still, staying focused, following instructions, staying organized, and completing homework.
    • Autism – Difficulty mastering certain academic skills can stem from Pervasive Developmental Disorders such as autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Children with an autism spectrum disorder may have trouble making friends, reading body language, communicating, and making eye contact.

    Educational Approaches for teaching child with learning disability

     

    Explicit instruction should be used by the teacher while teaching a child with learning disability as it can make the learning easier and clear.

       Range of examples to illustrate a concept

       Models of proficient performance

       Students explain how and why they make decisions

       Frequent, positive feedback for performance

       Adequate practice opportunities

    There should be the content enhancements like:

       Guided notes

       Graphic organizers and visual displays

       Mnemonics

     

    Download the Learning Disabilities – Checklist and check whether your student has learning disability and if he has what kind of learning disability he has. Give it to all the parents and let them analyse the child.

    Download : learning-disabilities-checklist

    Vishal Jain
    Editor

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  2. ANXIETY IN CHILDREN

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      Stress and anxiety in children and teenagers are just as prevalent as in adults. Stressed out and negligent parents, high expectations in academic or other performances, abused or deprived childhood, growing up tensions and demand for familial responsibility are the main causes of childhood and teen stress. Parents, who... Comment

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