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Spotting A Learning Disability

How To Spot Learning Disabilities

Scientists continue to make new discoveries concerning learning disabilities and it is believed that if parents, teachers, and other professionals discover a child's learning disability early and provide the right kind of help, it can give the child a chance to develop skills needed to lead a successful and productive life.

Parents are often the first to notice that "something doesn't seem right."


If you are aware of the common signs of learning disabilities, you will be able to recognize potential problems early. The following is a checklist of characteristics that may point to a learning disability. Most people will, from time to time, see one or more of these warning signs in their children. This is normal. If, however, you see several of these signs, you should seek medical assistance.  Here are some signs to look for:


• Speaks later than most children
• Pronunciation problems
• Slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word
• Difficulty rhyming words
• Trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors, shapes
• Extremely restless and easily distracted
• Trouble interacting with peers
• Difficulty following directions or routines
• Fine motor skills slow to develop

Ages 4-9

• Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
• Confuses basic words (run, eat, want)
• Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals

   (b/d),  inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions


• Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs 

   (+, -, x, /,=)
• Slow to remember facts
• Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization
• Impulsive, difficulty planning
• Unstable pencil grip
• Trouble learning about time
• Poor coordination, unaware of physical surroundings, prone to accidents

Ages 10-14

• Reverses letter sequences (soiled/solid, left/felt)
• Slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other spelling strategies
• Avoids reading aloud
• Trouble with word problems
• Difficulty with handwriting
• Awkward, fist-like, or tight pencil grip
• Avoids writing assignments
• Slow or poor recall of facts
• Difficulty making friends
• Trouble understanding body language and facial expressions

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