In the first years of school, parents and teachers have to lay the foundations of children’s future.
At the primary school, for example, it’s possible to promptly find out and overcome different students’ disturbances.
Common problems (but not always recognized) that young students face concerning learning disabilities, are often confused with laziness and low motivation.
A few weeks ago, we wrote about ADHD, which appears in childhood, especially at school, and which is a particular learning deficit.
Fortunately, learning disabilities aren’t just neurological or sensory disorder and they do not prevent children from living a wonderful life. For example, they can study everything they want!
When we talk about learning disabilities at school, in the majority of cases, we have to remember that the expression “learning disabilities” sounds more scary than the deficit actually is.
Learning disabilities concerning school generally come out in reading, writing and/or math. Students with LD are smart like everybody else, but sometimes, their brain is “wired” differently (http://www.helpguide.org/mental/learning_disabilities.htm).
Which are common types of learning disabilities at school?
- dyslexia is specific learning disability in reading
- dyscalculia is a learning disability in math
- dysgraphya is a learning disability that affects writing
The distinctive feature of this category is specific. The disturbance involves a particular part of ability (for example reading), and brainpower is not undermined.
How can we recognize dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphya?
The first signs of these common types of LD can be recognised in preschool: “the alarm bell” rings when a baby shows a slow linguistic development.
The best way to give strong support to LD children is to guarantee preschool!
Preschool signs of LD may be:
- difficulties in visual attention
- difficulties in recognizing symbols (logo for example)
- if you say a word to an LD baby, it will probably have problems in repeating this word
- they are probably not able to repeat nursery rhymes
Thanks to early teaching, at the end of the first primary school year we can see if a student has:
- difficulties with the association of grapheme and phoneme
- difficulties with syllables in reading and writing
Students with scholar LD:
- read and write slowly (they often invent a word when they have difficulties in reading, using the capital letter (example Animals, an LD Student may say Age)
- are often not able to understand and manipulate numbers
- do not interpret symbols (musical notes, operation signs etc.)
- have difficulties with foreign languages
- do not memorize particular terms
- have difficulties when they have to listen and write at the same time (for example to take a note during a lesson) have problems when they have to read out loud or in copying letters and words
What can parents do?
- Mom and dad need to remember that their son/daughter is “unique” and not “strange”. An LD child needs different learning styles.
- The first thing to do is to get as much information about LD as possible.
- Parents should look for a diagnostic evaluation and they have to talk about LD with school teachers.
- At home, mom and dad can replace a book with an audio tape, video and, if they can, with a computer.
- Give their child an audio register to playback lessons at home.
What can we do at school?
- LD tests
- use computer and free software created for LD students
- teachers must not emphasize LD students’ mistakes
- LD student should not be obliged to read out loud and to write on blackboard
- school can increase the value of oral teaching and oral evaluations
What can classmates do?
- – classmates of an LD child can write on his friend’s diary homework
- – classmates can read out lessons after school, and LD students can repeat the lesson without reading
Are learning deficits terrifying pathologies or gifts?
Problems are always gifts if we treat that in a good way. During my research I found out inspirational stories and I wanted to share with you a book called “The Gift of Dyslexia“ written by Ronald D. Davis.
Many successful persons are affected by LD but it doesn’t prevent them from realizing their dreams!
Children with LD can live “happy days” like the popular TV idol Fonzie, acted by Henry Winkler, who is also a great writer and he has dyslexia as well!