What is Learning Disability?
LD is more than a "difference" or "difficulty" with learning — it's a neurological disorder that affects the brain's ability to receive, process, store, and respond to information. LD will vary in how it impacts each individual child, adolescent and adult
Early Diagnosis and Process of Learning
most children with LD are not diagnosed till they are in 2nd or 3rd standard or of the age of 7 or 8. However a few signs observed during early childhood may indicate the presence of LD.
These signs are:
- Mild delay in gross motor development (sitting, standing, running, writing etc.)
- Difficulty in fine motor development (holding things, bringing etc.)
- Delay in speech development
- Inability to recognize separate sounds in a word- Phonetic Awareness
- Inability to repeat same sounding words or inability to understand that the sound corresponding to the letter distinguishes one word from the other for e.g. ‘hop’ from ‘pop’
How Does One Learn?
A 4-step computer model has been suggested to describe the process of learning.
- INPUT (process of recording information)
- INTEGRATION (organizing and understanding)
- MEMORY ( storing the information)
- OUTPUT (communicating to people or translating into action)
There are 7 areas in which a child can exhibit LD.
- Basic Learning Skills
- Reading Comprehension
- Oral expression
- Listening comprehension
- Written expression
- Mathematical calculation
Types of LD
There are three types of LD. They are as follows.
- DYSLEXIA: disorder affecting reading
- DYSGRAPHIA: Disorder affecting handwriting
- DYSCALCULIA: Disorder affecting mathematical reasoning and calculation
Causes of Learning Difficulty
The exact cause of LD is not known just as yet. Primary LD is assumed to have a genetic basis as similar problems are often seen in parents, sibling and close relatives. Family history is one of the most important risk factors, with 23-65% of children who have a parent with dyslexia have been reported to have the disorder. The rate of this disorder among siblings of affected persons is approximately 40%.
The other causes that may be related to LD are:
PRENATAL (before birth): Any health complication faced by the mother during pregnancy/ consumption of any kind of addictive substance (tobacco, gutka, alcohol)
PERINATAL (at birth): Prolonged time taken for a baby to cry after birth/ low birth weight/ prematurity/ forceps/ vacuum delivery.
POST NATAL (after birth): Meningitis/ head trauma/ brain tumors/ other infections.