Specific learning difficulties are usually disorders of the central nervous system that interfere with one or more basic learning functions.
Child judges depth, distance, or size incorrectly – or can’t match clues from different senses.
Memory may be poor in certain areas; child may not be able to remember sequences of sounds, how sounds match with letters.
Child can’t perceive small details or class similar objects together, confuses sizes.
Child may have trouble translating what he/she knows into speech, writing, or physical activity.
Some learning disabilities are mild (child will probably overcome them with minimal assistance) while others are relatively severe (child will need extensive specialised help). Most learning disabilities are discovered when school problems occur, when a child isn’t able to participate in class activities or complete schoolwork consistently.
Brain can’t control speech muscles, so child can’t reproduce sounds accurately. He/she can’t perceive sounds or their order in a word, so can’t repeat them correctly.
Words and letters are confused – may be reversed. Child can’t build words from letters, or translate letters into sounds.
Child cannot copy a visual image. He/she may be able to tell shapes apart but can’t draw them.
Child is unable to understand and use number concepts. Child may reverse the order of figures, fail to understand the order involved in counting, etc.
Short attention span and the effect of the difficulties on self-esteem, motivation and behaviour; often compound learning disabilities. Without specialised help, several disabilities may overlap and make schoolwork impossible.
Estimates vary, but in various forms they may affect up to 10% of all school children.
Untreated, learning disabilities can
Better understanding of the problem can lead to earlier detection and help for the child.