All About Learning Disabilities

What’s out There and How to Identify a Learning Disability in your Child

Learning disabilities are more common than you might think, affecting approximately 1 in 5 individuals. Over the years, awareness has risen over a wide variety of learning disabilities – so much so that there may be some you aren’t even aware of! With the rise of awareness, resources for these learning disabilities have increased as well. But it’s difficult to know the right resources to look for when you’ve yet to identify your child’s specific learning disability. 

Below are common learning disabilities and signs to identify what they may be struggling with. Once the proper diagnosis is found, proper support, and ultimately hope, becomes easier to find.

Dyslexia

Dyslexia is one of the most well-known learning disabilities. It primarily affects reading and language skills. Children with dyslexia may have difficulty recognizing and processing words, letters, and sounds.

Indicators of dyslexia include:

  • Difficulty reading: Struggling with decoding words, slow reading, and misreading words.
  • Spelling challenges: Making frequent spelling errors that remain consistent through development.
  • Difficulty with phonics: Struggling to connect sounds with their corresponding letters.

Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that impacts writing skills. Individuals with dysgraphia often find it difficult to express themselves in writing.

Indicators of dysgraphia include:

  • Messy handwriting: Difficulty with forming letters and words neatly.
  • Slow writing: Taking an unusually long time to complete written assignments.
  • Poor spatial planning: Struggling with spacing, alignment and organization on paper.

Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia affects a child’s ability to understand and work with numbers. Children with dyscalculia may find math concepts confusing and challenging.

Signs of dyscalculia include:

  • Difficulty with basic math operations: Struggling with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Trouble understanding math concepts: Finding it hard to grasp concepts like time, money, and measurements.
  • Lack of number sense: Difficulty comparing quantities and understanding number relationships.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts an individual’s ability to focus, control impulses, and manage hyperactivity.

Signs of ADHD include:

  • Inattention: Struggling to stay focused on tasks, making careless mistakes, and forgetting instructions.
  • Hyperactivity: Constant fidgeting, difficulty staying seated, and excessive talking.
  • Impulsivity: Acting without thinking, interrupting others, and struggling to wait their turn.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder whose awareness is rapidly growing. ASD affects social interactions, communication, and behavior.

Signs of ASD include:

  • Social challenges: Difficulty with making eye contact, understanding nonverbal cues, and forming relationships.
  • Repetitive behaviors: Engaging in repetitive movements, fixations on specific topics, and resistance to change.
  • Communication difficulties: Struggling with speech development, understanding sarcasm or metaphors, and expressing needs effectively.

Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), affects how the brain processes auditory information.

Signs of APD include: 

  • Misunderstanding Speech: While individuals with APD have normal hearing, they struggle to interpret and make sense of sounds they hear.
  • Delay Speech and Language Development: Some children with APD might experience delays in speech production and language acquisition during early childhood.
  • Poor listening skills: They might seem inattentive or struggle to remember details from spoken lessons or conversations.

While there are more learning differences, the list above includes some of the most common disabilities diagnosed in children. If you think your child may have a learning disability, it’s important to simply start observing your child’s behavior, academic performance and interactions with others. If you notice any patterns or consistent challenges, you can begin the dialogue with your child surrounding how to best support their unique learning style.

As mentioned above, learning differences affect 1 in 5 individuals – don’t view a diagnosis as a hindrance but an opportunity to explore your child’s unique learning style! Be encouraged that there are resources available to support your child’s educational journey. And in the midst of uncertainty, remind your child that you’re walking alongside them in the midst of this change.

If you need further support in regards to your child’s learning journey, please connect with a member of Decade2Connect today!

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!