Identifying your kid’s learning disability early makes a lasting difference to their learning potential
A child is diagnosed to have a learning disability when they have a neurological disorder that affects how he/she processes information. Learning disabilities can interfere with very basic learning, such as reading, writing and simple mathematics. It can also affect a child’s grasp of higher-level skills, including organisation, time management, abstract reasoning, attention span, and long or short-term memory.
What are learning disabilities?
Some learning disabilities include attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, speech and language delays, dyslexia, dyspraxia (difficulties in coordination and movement) and dysgraphia (difficulties in written expression).
Learning disabilities are not always as obvious as the inability to read well or do sums; sometimes, these assume the shape of an attitude issue or an unwillingness to try. Unfortunately, children with learning disabilities are often misunderstood and mislabelled as troublemakers who don’t pay attention, won’t try hard enough or can’t stop acting up. This frustration can be a slippery slope that leads to low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, frequent tantrums and more.
However, it is important to note that these children often try very hard but gradually become frustrated with their lack of working memory – the ability to hold, process and build on fresh information.
Why is early intervention important?
A timely diagnosis can make all the difference. A study published in a peer-reviewed journal has shown that children with ADHD respond well to multimodal treatment, which involves multiple treatment methods, such as combining medication and behavioural therapy with education. Children undergoing such treatments showed consistent improvement when it came to achievement tests and academic performance.
Studies also show that the brain grows most rapidly during a child’s first six years. This makes it crucial to intervene while the child is young, so as to avoid significant learning difficulties and a negative emotional impact. Children who are accurately identified at an early stage will be able to receive the right intervention before beginning formal education, which helps to close the developmental and learning gaps between them and their peers.
How can professional help improve the situation?
Parents who suspect their child may have a learningdisability should opt for professional treatment instead of taking a “wait-and-see” approach. Psychologists are trained to identify disabilities and can assist with effective intervention to bring out the best in each unique child. Professional help can make the difference between a child that is able to grow and achieve, and one that falls behind. At the end of the day, receiving a good start in life, learning to overcome challenges, and fulfilling their potential would be the best outcome for any child.
Signs your child might be suffering from a learning disability
- Difficulty focusing or understanding words and concepts.
- Struggles with expressing thoughts.
- Poor memory or maths skills.
- Difficulties in reading and writing.
- Inability to read social cues.
- Trouble following instructions.
- Difficulty with basic tasks, such as copying.
- Struggles with time management.
- Does not respond when spoken to.