Does your child struggle with school? Do they dread reading out loud, writing an essay, or tackling a math problem? While every kid has trouble with homework from time to time, if a certain area of learning is consistently problematic, it might indicate a learning disorder. By understanding all you can about learning disabilities, you can ensure your child gets the right help to overcome classroom challenges and succeed in life.
What are learning disabilities?
Learning disabilities, or learning disorders, are an umbrella term for a wide variety of learning problems. A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation. Kids with learning disabilities aren’t lazy or dumb. In fact, most are just as smart as everyone else. Their brains are simply wired differently. This difference affects how they receive and process information.
Simply put, children and adults with learning disabilities see, hear, and understand things differently. This can lead to trouble with learning new information and skills, and putting them to use. The most common types of learning disabilities involve problems with reading, writing, math, reasoning, listening, and speaking.
Children with learning disabilities can, and do, succeed
It can be tough to face the possibility that your child has a learning disorder. No parents want to see their children suffer. You may wonder what it could mean for your child’s future, or worry about how your kid will make it through school. Perhaps you’re concerned that by calling attention to your child’s learning problems they might be labeled “slow” or assigned to a less challenging class.
But the important thing to remember is that most kids with learning disabilities are just as smart as everyone else. They just need to be taught in ways that are tailored to their unique learning styles. By learning more about learning disabilities in general, and your child’s learning difficulties in particular, you can help pave the way for success at school and beyond.
Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities and disorders
Learning disabilities look very different from one child to another. One child may struggle with reading and spelling, while another loves books but can’t understand math. Still another child may have difficulty understanding what others are saying or communicating out loud. The problems are very different, but they are all learning disorders.
It’s not always easy to identify learning disabilities. Because of the wide variations, there is no single symptom or profile that you can look to as proof of a problem. However, some warning signs are more common than others at different ages. If you’re aware of what they are, you’ll be able to catch a learning disorder early and quickly take steps to get your child help.
The following checklist lists some common red flags for learning disorders. Remember that children who don’t have learning disabilities may still experience some of these difficulties at various times. The time for concern is when there is a consistent unevenness in your child’s ability to master certain skills.
Dr. Laura Jansons
Dr. Jansons is in private practice in Arlington Heights, Illinois. She provides neuropsychological assessment for adults and children and is growing her neuorotherapy and neurofeedback clinic. She has been providing direct therapy, assessment, professional training, and scholarly contributions in her field since 1990.
Dr. Jansons began her career at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology and master’s degree in Human Developmental Counseling. Her doctorate is from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and she completed her Neuropsychology Certificate Training at Fielding Graduate University. She is a Board-Certified Fellow of the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology. She is also Board Certified in Neurofeedback with the Board Certification International Alliance (BCIA).
Dr. Jansons’ research interests are in Large Scale Brain Systems, neural network dynamics, and cerebellar and vertically organized brain functioning. She is a co-partner in many projects including a start-up company for developing a web portal for patients and advanced clinicians, and she participates in the technical development of custom brain entertainment therapies. She is also a performing musician.