Specific Learning Difficulties

Academic Difficulties
Dec 30, 2020

Learning disabilities can affect children from time to time and as young as 4-5 years old. While some learning disabilities can be attributed to variations in development,  parents and educators should look-out for consistent patterns of learning difficulties in children.  

Children with persistent learning disabilities have been labelled as slow learners, minimally brain-injured, and whatnot. They are expected to score well in their academics but no matter how hard they try, they struggle with their grades. As a result, these children can be treated crudely and often punished for not achieving the expectations placed upon them in many schools and among parents. As a result, they can develop behavioural or emotional problems. Hence, children with learning difficulties are in a disadvantaged position when compared with children who can cope with the general education system.

What is SLD (Specific Learning Disabilities)?
In India according to RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (RPWD) ACT  2016, SLD refers to “the heterogeneous group of conditions” which have deficits in processing language, spoken or written, and these are manifested as challenging to comprehend, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.

What are the conditions with Specific Learning Disabilities?

Do you know what conditions fall under learning disabilities? Below are some of the conditions that fall under Specific Learning Disabilities.

  1. Dyslexia
  2. Dysgraphia
  3. Dyscalculia
  4. Dyspraxia
  5. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
  6. Visual Processing Disorder (VPD)
  7. Non-verbal Learning Disability (NVLD)

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How to distinguish a child with Specific Learning Disabilities? What are the signs of Specific Learning Disabilities?

  • Perceptual disabilities- Auditory, Visual, Tactile etc
  • Slow reading rate
  • Difficulty in retention
  • Social skills deficits
  • Difficulty in understanding abstract concepts

  • Language difficulties like comprehension, decoding, word recognition, phonological awareness, spelling, writing, organizing thoughts into words (written or spoken
  • Mathematical difficulties – computational skills, solving word problems, spatial relationships, writing numbers, copying shapes
  • Others - hyperactivity, coordination difficulty etc.

Recommendations for parents of children with learning disabilities:

Here are some pointers for you as parents to help you understand your child better.

  1. Don’t panic - Many parents whose children are diagnosed with SLD often come all tensed up and asking questions like what to do? What is wrong with my child? Will he recover? Be calm.  It’s okay to feel like this but understand that you are not alone.  
  2. Take the time to listen to your children – Listen to your child. Try to get their message.
  3. Love your child through physical contact – Make them feel loved by maybe hugging your child frequently, tickling, playing with them.
  4. Reinforcements – Reward your child for their small accomplishments with praise words (like good, excellent), pat on the back etc.
  5. Inclusion matters – Involve your child in your home rules and regulations, family activities etc.
  6. Help them to correct their mistakes – Don’t scold your child every time they make errors, be considerate and help them to correct their mistakes by demonstrating the right way to do the job.
  7. Encourage your child – Motivate your child to present his/her opinion. Let him take his own decisions sometimes. Let him choose any book or toy for himself.
  8. Build your child’s self-esteem – Not all students will excel in academics. Encourage their efforts.

Don’t hesitate to consult – Consult with professionals whenever you feel it necessary in order to better understand your child.

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Sandeep Kaur

Sandeep Kaur is a rehabilitation professional, Special Educator, and a founder of Special Smiles. She did her graduation from Lady Irwin College and pursued Bachelor's in Special Education with Specialization in Learning Disability. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).