How can you spot learning disabilities in your child?
Many individuals with learning disabilities have deficits in the areas of visual perception and auditory perception. Do not confuse perception with visual-acuity which is how well the eyes see, whereas visual perception refers to how the brain interprets what is seen. Because so much information comes through the visual channel, disturbances in this area can have a very negative impact on learning. Some examples of concern in this area are: messy work with poor legibility and many erasures; reversal or inversion of letters and numbers; awkwardness or clumsiness; transposing number or letter sequences, such as saw for was or 17 for 71; poor spelling; poor memory for what was seen only seconds before; slowness and inaccurate copying; complaints of print swimming on a page or out of focus; loss of place, skipping or rereading of lines; difficulty remembering faces, names, and places. These are a few of the symptoms of visual perceptual deficits BUT are not an exact diagnosis for this deficit and does not always mean your child has learning disabilities.
The ability to process information received through the auditory channel or auditory perception is critical to learning. Some of the symptoms of concern are: responding with ‘huh?’ or ‘what?’ when spoken to; follows written directions better than oral directions; fails to hear sounds accurately; does not enjoy being read to; looks at the speaker’s lips as they talk; omits endings to words; relies heavily on picture clues when reading; has difficulty with rote memory tasks such as the alphabet or numbers; cannot follow oral directions without visual cues; has trouble repeating oral directions such as songs, phrases, or memorization and recitation of verses. PARENTS NOTE: under NO circumstances does identification of some of the symptoms listed above is a diagnosis of ‘learning disability’ (LD). But, don’t overlook these symptoms if occurring frequently. Seek professional assessment and insight from teachers, other professionals, and your child’s doctor. There are other factors that might be at play such as behavioral issues, physical issues, or socio-economic issues!
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