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Detecting Learning Disabilities

Detecting Learning Disabilities


What you need to know about
Detecting Learning Disabilities

A learning disability is a condition that impairs a person’s capacity to receive and process information. Any of the following may be difficult for those with learning disabilities:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Doing math
  • Understanding directions

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK, and approximately 1.3 million of those people are in England.

Learning disabilities have no bearing on a person’s intelligence. Instead, a person with a learning disability may just see, hear, or comprehend things in a different way. Everyday chores, such as studying for a test or remaining focused in class, might become considerably more difficult as a result. There are skills that can be learned to make coping with these disparities simpler.

Types of Learning Disabilities

Learning difficulties come in a variety of forms, and they can affect people in different ways. It’s crucial to understand that learning impairments and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are not the same thing.

The following are the most common types of learning disorders:


Dyspraxia is a condition that affects a person’s motor abilities. Movement and coordination are aided by motor skills. A young child with dyspraxia may trip over things, have difficulty holding a spoon, or tie their shoes. Later on, individuals may have difficulty with tasks such as writing and typing. Other issues related to dyspraxia include:

  • Speech difficulties
  • Sensitivity to light, touch, taste, or smell
  • Difficulty with eye movements


Dyslexia is a condition that affects how a person processes language, making reading and writing difficult. It can also lead to grammatical and reading comprehension issues. In addition, children may have difficulty expressing themselves vocally and putting their thoughts together during a conversation.


Dysgraphia is a condition that affects a person’s ability to write. Dysgraphia can cause a wide range of issues, including:

  • Bad handwriting
  • Trouble with spelling
  • Difficulty putting thoughts down on paper


Dyscalculia is a condition that impairs a person’s ability to do math. Math disorders can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, with varying symptoms from person to person. Dyscalculia can impede a child’s ability to count and recognise numbers. As a youngster grows older, he or she may struggle to solve fundamental math problems or memorise multiplication tables.

Auditory Processing Disorder

This is a problem with how a person’s brain processes the sounds they hear. It isn’t caused by a loss of hearing. This disease can cause problems for those who:

  • Learning to read
  • Distinguishing sounds from background noise
  • Following spoken directions
  • Telling the difference between similar-sounding words
  • Remembering things they’ve heard

Visual Processing Disorder

Visual information is difficult to interpret for someone with a visual processing disorder. They may struggle to read or distinguish between two objects that appear to be the same. Hand-eye coordination is typically a problem for those with visual processing disorders.


Learning difficulties are difficult to identify since there is no one-size-fits-all set of symptoms that applies to all children. Furthermore, many children attempt to conceal the problem. You may not notice anything more visible than regular homework complaints or a youngster who refuses to attend school.

The following, on the other hand, could be symptoms of a learning disorder:

  • Lack of enthusiasm for reading or writing
  • Trouble memorizing things
  • Working at a slow pace
  • Trouble following directions
  • Trouble staying focused on a task
  • Difficulty understanding abstract ideas
  • Lack of attention to detail, or too much attention to detail
  • Poor social skills
  • Disruptiveness

If you feel your child has a learning disorder, speak with their GP or teacher about having him or her assessed. Before you have a definitive diagnosis, you may need to see many doctors. Depending on the issues your child is having, these specialists may include a clinical psychologist, a school psychologist, a developmental psychologist, an occupational therapist, or a speech and language therapist. To get to the root of the problem, they’ll do a series of tests and assessments.


Early Detection of Learning Disabilities

Knowing the early indicators of a possible learning problem can assist parents in getting their children the assistance they require as soon as feasible. As a result, it’s critical to keep track of your child’s developmental milestones. In toddlers and preschoolers, delays such as late walking or talking, as well as socialisation difficulties, might be symptoms of a learning disability.

What causes a learning disability?

We don’t always understand why someone has a learning difficulty. It’s sometimes because a person’s brain development has been hampered, either before birth, during birth, or during early childhood.

This can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • The mother becomes ill during pregnancy
  • Issues during birth that prevent enough oxygen from reaching the brain
  • The unborn child inherits some genes from its parents that increase the likelihood of developing a learning handicap
  • Early childhood illness or injury, such as meningitis

You may be more prone to have a learning handicap if you have certain medical issues.

For example, everyone with Down’s syndrome and many persons with cerebral palsy has some amount of learning difficulty.

Many autistic people, like some people with epilepsy, also have a learning handicap.

Treating Learning Disorders

Special education is the most common treatment for learning disorders. In public schools, children with learning disabilities are entitled to free special education services.

Following an evaluation to determine where your child is experiencing difficulties, a team of special educators will develop an individualised education programme (IEP) for your child that describes the particular services they require to succeed in school. After that, special educators will work with your child to help them develop their strengths while also teaching them how to adjust to their deficits.

Outside of the public education system, there are other resources accessible, including:

  • Specialised private schools for children with learning difficulties.
  • Children with learning difficulties can participate in after-school activities.
  • Tutoring and treatment services are available in the comfort of your own home.

A learning disability does not have to prevent you from achieving your goals. People with learning difficulties may overcome any obstacle with the correct tools.

Profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD)

When a person has a severe learning disability as well as other disabilities that affect their ability to communicate and be independent, they are said to have profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).

A person with substantial and multiple learning disabilities may struggle to see, hear, speak, and move. Due to these or other disorders, they may have complex health and social care demands.

People who have significant and multiple learning disabilities require assistance in certain parts of their lives, such as eating, washing, and personal hygiene.

Many persons with substantial and numerous learning disabilities can nevertheless make decisions about themselves, participate in activities they love, and be self-sufficient.

Some persons who have difficulty speaking may be able to communicate through alternative methods such as sign language, Signalong, Makaton, or digital systems such as picture exchange communication systems (PECS).

Parenting a Child With a Learning Disability

It can be difficult to accept that your child has a learning handicap. Many parents find the process of diagnosing a learning disability to be extremely difficult, and then they face an uphill battle to get their child the treatment they require once the diagnosis is made.

As a parent, the most important thing you can do is love and support your child. These suggestions can also assist you in assisting your child:

  • You should learn everything you can. Learn everything there is to know about your child’s learning disability and how it affects their learning. You’ll be able to take an active role in deciding on the best treatment for your child by using research services and supportive tactics.
  • Be an advocate for your child. Develop an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) with your kid’s school, which is a specific plan that establishes goals for your child and specifies the help that may be required to achieve those goals. Understand special education legislation and school policies to ensure that your child gets the most out of his or her education. Many services may be available, but you may not be offered them unless you specifically request them.
  • Make sure your child has healthy habits.  A youngster who gets enough sleep at night eats a balanced diet, and exercises regularly are cognitively and physically healthy.
  • Keep an eye on your child’s emotions. Learning difficulties can have a negative impact on a child’s self-confidence. Keep a lookout for depressive signs such as irritability, changes in sleep or appetite, or a loss of interest in their typical activities.