Learning Disability In Young Children

Learning DisabilitiesLearning disability (LD) is a kind of neurobiological disorder, when a person faces difficulties and problems when learning or using some skills, like speaking, writing, reading, reasoning, etc. This disorder is rather spread and about 15% of Americans suffer from it. As a rule, it is diagnosed in childhood and develops further with complications when learning something. LD is mostly life-long, but there are some cases, when children with LD could manage to cope with it and succeeded in normal way of learning and comprehending. LD does not mean lack of intelligence, the reason of such disorder is differences in structure and functioning of brain.

The definition of the term “LD” from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal legislative document, which specifies educational requirements and related services for disabled students, is the following: “. . . 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.” [34 Code of Federal Regulations §300.7(c) (10)]

Specialists classify four general types of LD. The first one can be characterized with difficulties, connected with speaking and language: difficulties with articulation and pronunciation, receptive and expressive language disorders, etc. Troubles with reading and writing are the second type: the main disorders of this type are dysgraphia (problems with writing) and dyslexia (problems with reading). The third type is arithmetic disorders (dyscalculia), which includes difficulties with understanding of general concepts of mathematics and problems when operating with functions. The last type is difficulties with reasoning: the cases, when a child can not properly form and organize his thoughts. There are also frequent mixed forms of LD, when a child demonstrates two or more types of learning disorders at the same time.

The main characteristics of students with LD are the following: poor writing, reading and speaking skills, troubles with spelling and rhyming the words, operating with a limited vocabulary, inability to express thoughts and ideas in writing, inability to retell and to memorize, problems with comprehension and reasoning, and many others. There are also organizational, behavioral and emotional complications, which usually accompany LD (for example, difficulties with orientation, frequent confusions, impulsiveness, inability to socialize, and so on), but they must not be taken as demonstrative for the cases of LD.

Teachers need to provide proper assistance and help to the students with LD, and then, if such students work hard and persistently, they may improve their learning abilities. The most known teaching approach in this case is accommodations, which include supportive technologies and changes in the classroom. Some tips of such approach are: offering the students with listening and reading problems to use tape recorders or special computer programs, transforming a written text into audible file, or allowing students with writing problems to use grammar and spelling check software at their computers, etc. It is also very important to pay attention during educational process on developing of organizational and study skills of children with LD.

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