Helping children with learning disabilities

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Vijay GarG

Despite the ridicule some children often suffered in schools, social situations and at home, they all have the inner strength to prevail and triumph. The fact is, they all succeed in life one way or the other.

A child will learn many things in life, starting from- how to speak, write, read, listen and do the math’s. Some skills might be a bit harder to learn than others. If your child tries harder to learn certain skills but still fails, then he/she might be having a learning disability.

Having a learning disability means that people find it harder to attain and learn specific life skills under the given circumstances. Some problems can interfere with learning basic skills like reading, writing, and problem-solving.

Some children are born with a disability while others may develop it as a result of an accident or illness during childhood.

Our brain processes information in an extremely complex way and it’s no wonder things can get messed up at times. For example, take the simple act of looking at a picture- for this, our brain not only has to form lines into an image, but also recognize what the image stands for, relate that image to other facts, and then store this new information.

Children with learning difficulties often need extra help than others. Many of them always face a struggle in understanding subject topics taught in schools and even lack the necessary skills. Learning disabilities are something that are a result of brain’s ability to receive, process, analyze, or store information.

These kinds of problems will make it difficult for a student to learn as fast and quickly as someone who is not affected by learning disabilities. With the right guidance and intervention, children with learning disabilities can succeed in their life and match up with other normal learners. Extra care must be given to them by their parents and teachers.

Many factors cause learning disabilities and each one of them affects different centres of the brain.  This may occur either before birth, during birth or in the early stages of childhood. It is very important to understand the fact that learning disabilities can affect an individual’s life beyond academics. The most possible causes of learning disabilities include- Mother’s illness during the time of pregnancy, Chromosome abnormalities like Turner syndrome or Down’s syndrome, inherited condition, premature birth, contact with damaging materials such as radiation, lack of mental simulation in early life etc.

A severe illness or injury may also affect a child’s brain development.

Learning disabilities are not always obvious. But, certain signs could mean that your child definitely needs help. Always understand that the process of development is not the same for all children. Indications of learning disability include delay in language development, difficulty in learning colours, shapes and numbers, difficulty in rhyming words, difficulty in coordination which includes buttoning clothes, using scissors, tying shoes, etc.

Some more indications include trouble in paying attention, trouble in learning facts, difficulty in recalling already known things, difficulty in linking symbols and numbers to amount.

Things like difficulty in telling time using an analog clock, poor spatial and visual orientation, lack of problem-solving skills, difficulty in forming letter shapes, difficulty in holding a pen or pencil etc also indicate that a child needs special attention.

Unfortunately, there is no proven cure for learning disabilities, but there are many things that can be done to help overcome this. Always be cautious of people who claim that they have simple solutions for this particular problem.

Many people suggest that there are special diets, vitamins, body movements, eye exercises, and nutritional supplements to overcome learning disability in children, but there is no scientific and proper evidence for the same.

If you are worried and concerned about your children’s problems related to learning, never hesitate to talk about this to your child’s teacher or doctor.

Most kids who have learning disabilities can reach their goal and be successful in life by developing different ways of learning. There are special educational services for children with learning disabilities.

As parents, we always have to make time for our children and listen to them as much as one can and accept our children for what they are and recognize their strengths and weaknesses. Help them to use their abilities as compensations for their disabilities. Praise them with good words, smiles, and pat on their back as often as you can and always be realistic in your expectations.

As parents we have to try involving them in establishing rules and regulations and taking part in family activities by treating them as individuals and never comparing them with others.

One of the critical help that we as parents can extend to children with learning difficulty is to encourage them to ask questions. It is important that your children progress at their own pace and one must never judge them based on traditional school grades. Let them cooperate socially by playing, helping, and serving others.

One should never hesitate to talk to a healthcare professional or a special educator if need be. A specialized doctor or a specialized educationalist can understand the areas of difficulty in your child and help to develop specialized learning plans and strategies.

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