In the previous article we identified the different types of learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities (LD) is a collective term for a wide variety of learning problems. Learning disabilities are problems that affect the brain's ability to receive, process, analyze, or store information. Children and adults with learning disabilities see, hear, and understand things differently. The different types are: The most common ones:

  • Dyslexia - Difficulty with reading
  • Dyscalculia - Difficulty with math
  • Dysgraphia - Difficulty with writing

Other types:

  • Dyspraxia - Difficulty with fine motor skills
  • Dysphasia - Difficulty with language
  • Auditory Processing Disorder - Difficulty hearing differences between sounds
  • Visual Processing Disorder - Difficulty interpreting visual information

Let's now look at what can be done about it.

Keeping in mind that a learning disability is a life-long condition that can't be “cured”, will help parents and children cope with it better. There is no medical treatment for a learning disability. In case of a comorbidity of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), often with medication and even more effectively with a combination of medicine, behavioral therapy, and educational support the symptoms can be controlled.

Children with learning disabilities can learn different strategies to cope with it better. This will give them a chance to succeed academically and in other areas as well. Whenever a child is not able to cope with the condition it could lead to frustration, low self confidence, low self esteem and other emotional disturbances.

There are certain strategies that parents and teachers can use, to ease down the learning process for the child.

  • It would be very beneficial if instructions are given directly and in a simpler way.
  • Use probes to facilitate understanding.
  • Break down the learning into smaller steps.
  • Give quality feedback. Ask for feedback from the child as well.
  • Use diagrams, graphics and pictures to explain the diagram better.
  • Reinforce practice.
  • Use different strategies that can ease learning.
  • Record notes to memorize better.
  • Set a routine, a consistent time to study.
  • Use grammar and spell checkers regularly for computer work.
  • Encourage questions.
  • Explain homework & other expectations clearly with specific instructions.
  • Teach study and organizational skills.
  • Implement the use of a planner.
  • Allow the child to process what is taught and then follow up.
  • Repeat complicated instructions and break them down.
  • Reduce distractions as much as possible.
  • Model what you want the child to do.
  • Provide a copy of class notes to the child so that it reduces the stress on writing.
  • Teach the child to use both visual and auditory senses when reading text.
  • Provide chapter outlines or study guides that highlight key points in their reading.
  • Label objects.
  • Engage the child in activities that help them learn to recognize letters visually.
  • When teaching decoding, begin with small, familiar words.
  • Focus on phonetics
  • Point out unfamiliar words and explore their meaning.
  • Build background for the reading selections and create a mental imaginary for the child to understand better.
  • Use mnemonic to teach writing.
  • Use diagrams and draw math concepts.
  • Use coloured pencils to differentiate between sections.
  • Use music to teach math facts.
  • Teach students how to proofread assignments and tests.
  • Remedial therapy helps the child to learn many more strategies which facilitates learning.

A child with learning disabilities can benefit from concessions from the board of examinations. Some of these are as follows:

  • 25% Extra time
  • Oral test along with the written examination
  • Writer/ Reader
  • Exemption from the Second and Third Language
  • Exemption from certain subjects
  • Use of Calculator
  • Spelling errors and incorrect sentence construction to be ignored.
  • Students may be exempted from drawing diagrams, graphs, and charts.

Marks for such questions proportionately distributed to the other questions or students to be provided with supplementary questions.

A learning disability can be dealt with better, when detected at the right time and when provided with the right support. Identify the child's symptoms early and get the assessment done so that they can benefit.

Every child has a different learning style and pace. Each child is unique, not only capable of learning, But also capable of succeeding
Robert John Meehan