Assessment and Interventions for Learning Disabilities: What Makes it Unique?

Learning disabilities are a group of neurological disorders that disturbs the brain’s ability to store, process, or produce information. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia are the most common learning disabilities. Do you know that famous scientists Thomas Alva Edison and Albert Einstein had learning disabilities (or LD)?

You might be wondering how these legends got LD if they were so bright.

Well, LD is a major issue for children with special needs (CWSN). LD has nothing to do with an intellectual level like intellectual disabilities (ID). In ID, a person’s brain’s capacity is limited to the age of a six- to 10-year-old kid. Whereas people with LD have a normal IQ, which is 90 to 115 (± 5), and they may superior IQ too.

Learning disabilities are a group of neurological disorders that make it hard for a person to store, process, or produce information. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia are the most common learning disabilities. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and language-processing disorders can also cause learning disabilities. People with learning disabilities may find it hard to read, write, speak, spell, or do the math. People with learning disabilities may have trouble paying attention, remembering what they’ve learned, keeping their thoughts and tasks organized, and getting things done on time.

Prevalence of learning disabilities: The number of people with learning disabilities varies greatly depending on the disorder and population studied. The number of people with learning disabilities is thought to be between 5 and 15% of the population. However, this number is likely low because learning disabilities are often misdiagnosed, and people don’t have access to assessment services.

Common learning disability symptoms: There are many visible and invisible signs of LD that a teacher, a clinician, or a skilled psychologist can use to find adults and children with this condition. WHO put LD in the group of developmental learning disorders in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). These symptoms are surmised as follows so that even a layman can understand them:

  1. Trouble with reading, writing, and/or mathematics.
  2. Struggles to comprehend and recall new knowledge.
  3. Difficulty following directions.
  4. Difficulties with task organization and meeting deadlines
  5. Difficulties communicating verbally.
  6. Coordination deficits, clumsiness, or difficulties with motor skills.
  7. Being distracted easily or having difficulty concentrating
  8. Difficulties with thinking or problem-solving.
  9. Difficulties with social interactions or understanding social cues.
  10. Problems managing time and telling the time.

Educating children with learning disorders:

It was mentioned before too that there is no available cure for LD, but the symptoms and condition of LD can be managed, and kids and adults can achieve their best potential with the help of teachers, educators, healthcare workers, and psychologists. Here are some worldwide practices and techniques that help educate people with LD:

1. Promote constructive relationships between the learner and others, establish a comfortable setting, and reinforce good behavior with positive reinforcement.

2. Use visual aids like pictures, charts, and diagrams to help explain ideas.

3. Break up jobs into smaller, easier-to-handle parts: break up jobs into smaller parts and put reminders for each step in front of them.

4. Provide the student with additional time to finish examinations and tasks.

5. Use multisensory strategies: teach in different ways, such as through sight, sound, and touch.

6. Instead of written exams, use other ways to test, such as oral exams or group projects.

7. Use accommodations like better seats, the use of a computer, and a curriculum that is tailored to the person’s needs.

8. Encourage positive behavior with compliments, stickers, and other awards.

9. Concentrate on the student’s strengths and seek to enhance them.

10. Build strong relationships with the student and his or her family to help the student succeed.

In conclusion, it can be said that we have to make learning sensitive and easy for these kids who have difficulty and need inclusion. Inclusion is the best approach to including all types of special people.

I hope that after reading this article, you’ll be more understanding of the needs of people with different abilities, less judgmental, and more willing to help them find the best diagnosis and other services near their homes. Your referral can change someone’s life.

PS: The author of this article, Ashutosh Tiwari, Psychologist at MindGlass Wellbeing, leads seminars and provides online and in-person talks on the issues of how to confront drug use in the family, at school, and in the workplace; building sustainable self-esteem; happiness; mindfulness; men’s mental health; workplace well-being; a career for the youngest; children’s disabilities; and how to help CWSN. These seminars and speeches will soon be available on our YouTube channel and website. Please mail your referrals, feedback, and suggestions to ashutosh@mind.glass.

Suggested Readings

Kelly DP, Natale M. Neurodevelopmental function and dysfunction in the school-age child. In: Kliegman S, Gheme S, editors. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Vol. 1. New Delhi: Elsevier; 2016

Moats, L. C., & Dakin, K. E. (2008). Basic facts about dyslexia and other reading problems. Baltimore: The International Dyslexia Association.

Shaywitz, S. (2003). Overcoming dyslexia: A new and complete science-based program for reading problems at any level. New York: Knopf.

Learning disabilities are a group of neurological disorders that disturbs the brain’s ability to store, process, or produce information. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia are the most common learning disabilities. Do you know that famous scientists Thomas Alva Edison and Albert…

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