Get Answers: What are Learning Disabilities? and Can kids with learning disabilities learn?
Probably the most important thing to know about learning disabilities is: your child CAN learn. He may even be intellectually gifted and still have a learning disability like ADHD, Asperger’s, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, or executive dysfunction.
A child may also have a low IQ, but he may not be “mentally impaired.” If he is diagnosed with a learning disability, it means your child can learn. That is part of the clinical definition for a learning disability.
Kids with Learning Disabilities CAN Learn
This is one of the important characteristics about learning disabilities for you to know. Many times children with learning disabilities are treated as if they cannot learn. However, being able to learn is the main difference between mental impairment versus having a learning disability. Even when children are diagnosed as mentally impaired, they can still have an ability to learn.
How to Teach Kids with Learning Disabilities
Every child CAN learn if taught according to the child’s individual learning style. The key is using multi-sensory instruction. This is especially true when your child has his critical cognitive needs met, and is allowed to learn at his or her own learning pace.
Not every child will be able to learn Algebra or understand British Literature, but most children can learn to read, write, and do basic math calculations.
What are Learning Disabilities?
The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), defines Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) as “a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.”
According to the IDEA, Specific Learning Disabilities are NOT “learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.” [34 Code of Federal Regulations §300.7(c)(10)]
In other words, learning disabilities are NOT caused by a physical area of interference with learning. This means the learning problems are not due to ocular motor deficiencies (requiring vision therapy), Attention deficits (requiring medication), bipolar disorder (requiring medication), scotopic sensitivity (requiring colored glasses or pages), etc.
Learning disabilities are neurological in origin. They cannot be medicated or treated by some external device such as glasses, hearing aids, augmented speech devices, etc.
Kids with Learning Disabilities can learn if they are taught using PROVEN methods and programs. Using a properly provided program, the right way, significantly helps the affect of the learning disability on your child’s school success.
Examples of What are Learning Disabilities
A child with learning disabilities may have:
- Difficulty with short-term memory (holding information in his head long enough to manipulate it or work with it),
- Long-term memory problems(getting info into storage for access at a later time),
- Executive functioning (planning, sequencing, organizing, etc.),
- Memory recall difficulties (can’t think of things he already knows),
- A slow processing speed when thinking,
- Difficulty with reading (dyslexia),
- Math (dyscalculia),
- Writing (dysgraphia), etc.
- Aspergers Syndrome
- Secondary ADHD (not treated by medication)
Evaluation for Specific Learning Disabilities
There are many learning difficulties and combinations of learning disabilities. The variety makes it difficult for you to determine the cause of your child’s problem through mere observation. You may be able to determine your child has difficulty expressing what he has learned, but you won’t be able to observe the neurological processes in his brain. You cannot see whether your child has an information retrieval problem, a long-term memory problem, a communication-based problem, etc.
Therefore, it is extremely helpful to have an independent neuropsychological evaluation by a qualified practitioner to determine the root causes of your child’s learning struggles.
It’s nearly impossible to actually overcome your child’s learning difficulties if you don’t know the root causes of his neurological difficulties. If you have the specifics on your child’s areas of difficulty, you can chose proven programs designed to meet your child’s specific learning needs.
Having an evaluation can also help you know your child’s strengths and how best to teach your child.
The Learning Abled Kids’ website provides information on various disabilities, but always keep in mind that this is not professional advice from a doctor… I’m an instructional designer. No one can ‘evaluate’ your child without individualized testing and working with your child to figure out what are Learning Disabilities that are affecting your child.
The information provided here is most helpful when you already know what your child’s disabilities are.
Always keep in mind too: Your child is uniquely gifted with his strengths and weaknesses. It is up to you to have your child evaluated to identify both strengths and weaknesses. It is within your ability to meet your child’s learning needs when you know his needs and what are Learning Disabilities that affect him.
Helpful Reading About Learning Disabilities and Homeschooling to Overcome Struggles:
- You may want to check out the books I’ve written detailing how to Overcome Learning Disabilities through Homeschooling,
- Learning Disabilities: A to Z: A Complete Guide to Learning Disabilities from Preschool to Adulthood
- Help for the Struggling Student: Ready-to-Use Strategies and Lessons to Build Attention, Memory, and Organizational Skills
- The Complete Learning Disabilities Handbook: Ready-to-Use Strategies and Activities for Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities
- Smart But Stuck: How Resilience Frees Imprisoned Intelligence from Learning Disabilities, Second Edition
- Teaching Learning Strategies and Study Skills To Students with Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorders, or Special Needs, 3rd Edition (For Middle School & High School)
- Look for other Learning Disabilities books to learn more about, “What are Learning Disabilities?”
Best Wishes for Success!
Table of Contents
- 1 Get Answers: What are Learning Disabilities? and Can kids with learning disabilities learn?
- 2 Kids with Learning Disabilities CAN Learn
- 3 How to Teach Kids with Learning Disabilities
- 4 What are Learning Disabilities?
- 5 Examples of What are Learning Disabilities
- 6 Evaluation for Specific Learning Disabilities
- 7 Helpful Reading About Learning Disabilities and Homeschooling to Overcome Struggles: