My little boy is bright, but he is not doing at all well in school. Something is just not working for him. I hear about learning disabilities. Is it possible that he has one? Exactly what are learning disabilities, and where can I learn more about them? -- Possible Learning Problem
Answer: Learning disabilities are neurobiological differences in brain structure and/or function. These differences lead to problems with learning. New brain scanning techniques have enabled scientists to understand the underlying neural basis of learning disabilities. Children with learning disabilities are often just as intelligent or more intelligent than other children but have difficulty learning because their minds process words or information differently.
Your son may or may not have a learning disability. Nevertheless, parents are often the first to notice the problems their children are having with learning. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development lists these eight signs that a child may have a learning disability.
--Difficulty with reading and/or writing.
--Problems with math skills.
--Problems paying attention.
--Trouble following directions.
--Difficulty with concepts related to time.
--Problems staying organized.
You will get a very solid start to getting reliable information about learning disabilities by visiting the website of the Learning Disabilities Association of America (ldaamerica.org). Not only can you learn about the 13 categories of disabilities under the law there, you can also find out the signs and symptoms of each one as well as strategies that can be used to help children. In addition, this website lets you ask questions of experts and provides support as well as resources for parents of children with learning disabilities.
Unfortunately, we must caution you that it is not always easy for parents of children with learning disabilities to get the help their children need and are entitled to receive without being very knowledgeable, proactive and determined, as schools often drag their heels in providing this help.
Early diagnosis of a child's learning disability and timely intervention by parents, teachers or doctors can significantly improve the child's self-esteem, academic achievement and ability to form and maintain relationships.