Brighter Pathways © 2009
1237 E. Livingston Street, Suite B
Orlando, FL 32803-5401
Ph: 407-895-0540 ~ Fax: (407) 228-9771
Licenses: SS00305 ~ MH02676 ~ PCE-9
“Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight.” — Helen Keller
When children are struggling in school, there can be many explanations. They may not be able to learn because they lack the ability or because of hearing or vision problems. Often the trouble is more subtle, such as poor motivation or emotional problems. Yet some school-age children with none of these problems still have trouble with academic work. These children have normal or even above average intelligence. This inability to reach their full potential is called a LEARNING DISABILITY.
WHAT IS A LEARNING DISABILITY?
Apparently children with learning disabilities have a problem with the way their brains handle information. There may be nothing wrong with the way they see or hear. The trouble happens in the brain after it receives the information. An analogy is a television set that is receiving an adequate signal but sending out a distorted picture because of something in the internal workings of the set.
Usually, children with learning disabilities perceive and interpret symbols differently. They are easily confused by what they see and hear, and they often have trouble expressing their ideas, especially in writing.
WHAT CAUSES LEARNING DISABILITIES?
In many cases, the exact cause is never known. LD does run in families, and parents often recall a relative with trouble learning in school. There are risk factors that increase the chances of LD, too. These include prematurity, prenatal stress, difficult birth, certain critical diseases in childhood and head injuries.
HOW COMMON ARE LEARNING DISABILITIES?
Learning disabilities are more common that many people think. Three times as many boys are affected as girls. Estimates range from a low of 2% to a high of 25% of the population have learning disabilities. The most common estimate now is about 10% of children in school are learning disabled. About half of these will need some kind of special education to help them succeed.
Learning disabilities do not automatically lead to low achievement in life. Many accomplished people have had to struggle with LD. Both Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were poor students early on and were considered "slow".
WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS?
It is usually not easy to detect learning disabilities because children vary so much in their rate of development and because bright children learn to compensate and "keep their heads above water." Also, LD children often feel bad about themselves and their frustration in school, so that their learning problems are sometimes mistaken for behavior problems.
In Pre-School Children, Look for:
- delays in speech and language development
- feeding and sleeping problems
- trouble with coordination
- short attention span
- risk factors, such as prematurity, prenatal stress, difficult birth, certain critical diseases and head injuries
In School-Age Children, Look for:
- trouble following directions
- poor or erratic memory
- difficulty writing and copying, especially from the blackboard
- inconsistent performance (fine one day yet has problems the next)
- misunderstanding of information
- short attention span
- letter and number confusion (especially after age 8), such as ”b” is “d,” “38” is “83,” or “saw” is “was.”
If you suspect your child might have Learning Disabilities…..
IS THERE A CURE FOR LD?
There is no “cure,” but a child can be taught to cope, compensate and sometimes even overcome a Learning Disability. Often it comes as a great relief to children to learn that school problems are not their fault ~ they simply learn differently than other people do. Public schools and many private school offer special programs. Parents can also provide home remediation and private tutoring. Always, emphasis should be upon building self-confidence as well as skills. Nothing can replace loving and supportive family and friends.
If your child is found to have a Learning Disability (LD), such as Dysgraphia or Dyscalculia, Dr. Messenger will make appropriate recommendations including interventions as well as more information to understand and deal with this invisible handicap.
WHERE ELSE CAN I GET HELP?
The Learning Disabilities Association is a national non-profit organization which seeks to enhance the education, general well-being and life successes of children and adults with learning disabilities. Visit their web site at www.ldanatl.org. Another comprehensive web site is www.ldonline.org where parents, educators, and kids can find help and exchange ideas about learning disabilities.
NO LONGER IN ORLANDO
Brighter Pathways, P.O. Box 372217, Satellite Beach, FL 32937
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