Identifying the Signs of Learning Disabilities

Mother and Daughter Reading Together

787719801-300x300Learning disabilities are quite common and result from variations in a child’s level of functioning.  Learning disabilities often run in families with a sibling, parent or relative having similar difficulties. They may occur in one or multiple areas. The most common forms of learning disabilities are seen in academic skills (reading, writing, spelling, math), language/speech skills (listening, talking, understanding) or motor-sensory skills (coordination, balance, writing).

Learning disabilities vary from mild to severe and can be difficult to diagnose. They are often noticed by the parent or teacher when a child is not meeting his/her potential in a specific area. Parents and teachers may notice that the child is bored, frustrated, unmotivated or acting out.  They may be failing a subject or working extremely hard just to keep up.

Recognizing learning disabilities early is important to the child’s future success. Once suspected, the pediatrician or school may schedule formal IQ and standardized achievement testing. With a learning disability, there will be a noticeable difference between a child’s IQ and one or more areas on the standardized achievement test.

Learning disabilities are not something a child will “outgrow.” So, once a specific area of learning disability is identified, a child can be taught how to compensate for the disability and schools can put in place learning plans that will best suit the child. Schools and families can work together to best support the child so they are able to reach their full potential.

By: Vanessa Slots, MD,  pediatrician, Renown Medical Group