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Learning Disabilities and Late Intervention

Aug 17, 2007
While learning disorders are being diagnosed earlier and earlier nowadays, sometimes certain cases still slip through the cracks. This is unfortunate, since the sooner a problem is identified, the sooner it can be dealt with. However, it's always better to know that an issue exists than to never know, so if this is what's happened with your family, keep in mind that there are still plenty of treatment options available to your child. Of course, the first step is figuring out whether or not your child has a learning problem, and if so, which one.

Below, you'll find a list of symptoms grouped by disability type:
Dyslexia: Teenagers and adults who have yet to be diagnosed with dyslexia may have considerable difficulty with spelling. This may be demonstrated by spelling the same word multiple ways within the same essay. Those with dyslexia often rely heavily on phonetics when trying to spell a word. They may also write their letters or punctuation marks incorrectly (backwards, upside down, etc.) or put them in the wrong order.

Dyscalculia: People who don't know that they have dyscalculia may still have extreme difficulty with basic mathematical principles and practices, such as addition and subtraction. They may have trouble dealing with number sequences, columns of numbers, and mathematical symbols. Other common signs of dyscalculia include overreliance on calculators and confusion with left and right.

Dysgraphia: Those with dysgraphia have a hard time writing or drawing within a defined space, like a piece of lined paper. This is due to poor development of fine motor skills. Another symptom of dysgraphia is illegible handwriting, which isn't due to carelessness, but instead indicates a difficulty with handling a pen or a pencil.

Audio and Visual Perception Disabilities: If your child often has to ask you to repeat yourself, it may be a sign that they have an audio perception problem. It's not that he or she isn't listening carefully enough to you, it's that their brain is unable to sort out which sound or tone to interpret first. Those with visual perception problems may transpose letters, punctuation marks, numbers, and mathematical symbols. Once again, this is an issue of sequencing malfunction in the brain, not lack of attention.

Memory Disabilities: These can manifest themselves in different ways. One common symptom is the inability to retain information that has just been relayed. For example, if your child can't remember a passage that they have just finished reading, they may continue to reread that passage over and over again. This indicates a problem with short-term memory. Long-term memory problems may announce themselves through difficulties with retrieving information. For instance, if your child can't recall the mathematical formula that allows them to calculate the circumference of a circle, long-term memory problems are at fault. Of course, the two are related, since if a piece of information doesn't stick in your short-term memory, it won't make it to your long-term memory either.
About the Author
Jane Saeman runs an In-Home Tutoring service called Aim High Tutors. Find out about how to help your student reach their full potential at http://www.aimhightutors.com/blog
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