The way our brains process information is extremely complex — it's no wonder things can get messed up sometimes. Take the simple act of looking at a picture, for example: Our brains not only have to form the lines into an image, they also have to recognize what the image stands for, relate that image to other facts stored in our memories, and then store this new information.
It's the same thing with speech — we have to recognize the words, interpret their meaning, and figure out the significance of the statement to us. Many of these activities take place in separate parts of the brain, and it's up to our minds to link them all together. If, like Noah, you've been diagnosed with a learning disability, you're not alone. You can't tell by looking that a person has a learning disability, which can make learning disabilities hard to diagnose. Learning disabilities usually first show up when a person has difficulty speaking, reading, writing, figuring out a math problem, communicating with a parent, or paying attention in class.
Some kids' learning disabilities are diagnosed in grade school when a parent or a teacher notices the kid can't follow directions for a game or is struggling to do work he or she should be able to do easily. People with verbal learning disabilities have difficulty with words, both spoken and written.
The most common and best-known verbal learning disability is dyslexia , which causes people to have trouble recognizing or processing letters and the sounds associated with them. For this reason, someone with dyslexia will have trouble with reading and writing tasks or assignments. Some people with verbal learning disabilities may be able to read or write just fine but struggle with other aspects of language. For example, they may be able to sound out a sentence or paragraph perfectly, making them good readers, but they can't relate to the words in ways that will allow them to make sense of what they're reading such as forming a picture of a thing or situation.
And some people have trouble with the act of writing as their brains struggle to control the many things that go into it — from moving their hand to form letter shapes to remembering the correct grammar rules involved in writing down a sentence.
People with nonverbal learning disabilities may have difficulty processing what they see. They may have trouble making sense of visual details like numbers on a blackboard. Someone with a nonverbal learning disability may confuse the plus sign with the sign for division, for example.
Some abstract concepts like fractions may be difficult to master for people with nonverbal learning disabilities. The behavioral condition attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD is often associated with learning disabilities because people with ADHD also might have a hard time focusing enough to learn and study. Students with ADHD are often easily distracted and have trouble concentrating.
They may also be excessively active or have trouble controlling their impulses. No one's exactly sure what causes learning disabilities. But researchers do have some theories as to why they develop, including:.
Just because you have trouble studying for a test doesn't mean you have a learning disability. There are as many learning styles as there are individuals. For example, some people learn by doing and practicing, while others learn by listening such as in class or prefer to read material. Some people are just naturally slower readers or learners than others, but they still perform well for their age and abilities. Sometimes, what seems to be a learning disability is simply a delay in development; the person will eventually catch up with — and perhaps even surpass — his or her peers.
But many people with learning disabilities struggle for a long time before someone realizes that there's a reason they're having so much trouble learning. For most people in their teen years, the first telltale sign of most learning disabilities occurs when they notice that there's a disconnect between how much they studied for a test and how well they performed. Or it may just be the feeling a person has that something isn't right. If you're worried, don't hesitate to share your thoughts with a parent or a teacher.
The first step in diagnosing a learning disability is ruling out vision or hearing problems. A person may then work with a psychologist or learning specialist who will use specific tests to help diagnose the disability. Be a good listener. Allow school officials to explain their opinions. Do your research and find examples of what other schools have done. The school system is dealing with a large number of children; you are only concerned with your child. Help the meeting stay focused on your child.
Stay calm, collected and positive. Go into the meeting assuming that everyone wants to help. If you say something you regret, simply apologize and try to get back on track. It is better to recognize that the school situation for your child will probably never be perfect. Too many regulations and limited funding mean that the services and accommodations your child receives may not be exactly what you envision for them, and this will probably cause you frustration, anger and stress. Try to recognize that the school will be only one part of the solution for your child and leave some of the stress behind.
Your attitude of support, encouragement and optimism will have the most lasting impact on your child. Everyone—learning disability or not—has their own unique learning style. Some people learn best by seeing or reading, others by listening, and still others by doing.
You can help a child with a learning disability by identifying his or her primary learning style. Is your child a visual learner, an auditory learner, or a kinesthetic learner? The following lists will help you determine what type of learner your child is. Success means different things to different people, but your hopes and dreams for your child probably extend beyond good report cards.
By focusing on these broad skills, you can help give your child a huge leg up in life. For children with learning disabilities, self-awareness knowledge about strengths, weaknesses, and special talents and self-confidence are very important. Struggles in the classroom can cause children to doubt their abilities and question their strengths. A proactive person is able to make decisions and take action to resolve problems or achieve goals.
For people with learning disabilities, being proactive also involves self-advocacy for example, asking for a seat at the front of the classroom and the willingness to take responsibility for choices. Children or adults with learning disabilities may need to work harder and longer because of their disability.
The ability to set realistic and attainable goals is a vital skill for life success. It also involves the flexibility to adapt and adjust goals according to changing circumstances, limitations, or challenges.
Strong support systems are key for people with learning disabilities. Successful people are able to ask for help when they need it and reach out to others for support.
If children with learning disabilities learn how to regulate stress and calm themselves , they will be much better equipped to overcome challenges. Your child may behave very differently than you do when he or she is under stress. Some signs of stress are more obvious: But some people—children included—shut down, space out, and withdraw when stressed.
If children with learning disabilities are eating right and getting enough sleep and exercise, they will be better able to focus, concentrate, and work hard. Regular physical activity makes a huge difference in mood, energy, and mental clarity. Encourage your learning disabled child to get outside, move, and play.
Rather than tiring out your child and taking away from schoolwork, regular exercise will actually help him or her stay alert and attentive throughout the day. Exercise is also a great antidote to stress and frustration. Sleep — Learning disability or not, your child is going to have trouble learning if he or she is not well rested. Kids need more sleep than adults do.
You can help make sure your child is getting the sleep he or she needs by enforcing a set bedtime. The type of light emitted by electronic screens computers, televisions, iPods and iPads, portable video players, etc. So you can also help by powering off all electronics at least an hour or two before lights out. Healthy Food for Kids: Help Your Kids Eat Healthier.
A diet full of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein will help boost mental focus. This will help keep his or her energy levels stable. In addition to healthy physical habits, you can also encourage children to have healthy emotional habits.
Like you, they may be frustrated by the challenges presented by their learning disability. Try to give them outlets for expressing their anger, frustration, or feelings of discouragement. Listen when they want to talk and create an environment open to expression. Doing so will help them connect with their feelings and, eventually, learn how to calm themselves and regulate their emotions.
Sometimes the hardest part of parenting is remembering to take care of you. Your spouse, friends, and family members can be helpful teammates if you can find a way to include them and learn to ask for help when you need it.
Keep the lines of communication open with your spouse, family, and friends. Ask for help when you need it. Join a learning disorder support group.
The encouragement and advice you'll get from other parents can be invaluable. Enlist teachers, therapists, and tutors whenever possible to share some responsibility for day-to-day academic responsibilities. Learn how to manage stress in your own life. Make daily time for yourself to relax and decompress. Within the family, siblings may feel that their brother or sister with a learning disability is getting more attention, less discipline and preferential treatment.
Homework presents a challenge for all parents. However, if your child has learning disabilities, it can require extra thought and attention. The good news is that with a strategic approach, you and your child can achieve homework success.
Homework for students with learning disabilities is increasingly problematic for three main reasons. First a call for increased academic standards across the nation has resulted in the development of curriculum and assessment standards for most content area classes.
Students with learning disabilities are usually at a disadvantage academically, particularly when it comes to homework. Let's look at how teachers and parents can work together to help their. Many students with disabilities find homework challenging, and teachers are frequently called upon to make accommodations for these students. What research supports this practice? This article describes five strategies that researchers have identified that help students with disabilities get the most from their homework.
Many students with learning or reading disabilities find homework challenging. Here are five research-based strategies that teachers can use to help students. Homework Help for Students with ADHD or Learning Disabilities like Dyslexia. Homework help and school study tips for school children with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) and learning disabilities. By ADDitude Editors. (ADD ADHD) or Learning Disabilities.