Common learning disorders affect a child's abilities in reading, written expression, math or nonverbal skills.
Common learning disorders affect a child's abilities in reading, written expression, math or nonverbal skills.

Understanding the different types of learning disorders

By Tamara Mafilika Time of article published Feb 8, 2021

Share this article: describes learning disorders as an umbrella term for a variety of learning problems. A learning disorder is not a problem with intelligence or motivation, and children with learning disorders are not lazy or dumb.

In fact, most are just as smart as everyone else. Learning disorders can also be present with emotional or behavioural disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or anxiety.

Learning disabilities look different from one child to another. The problems are different, but they are all learning disorders. It’s not always easy to identify learning disabilities.

Remember that children who don’t have learning disorders might experience some of these difficulties at various times. It becomes a concern when there is a consistent unevenness in your child’s ability to master certain skills.

In Part 1 of our series, we take a look at four of the most common learning disorders and their symptoms.

1. Dysgraphia: A learning difficulty specific to writing

i) Cramped grip, sore hand

ii) Poor spacial planning of sentences and margins

iii) Frequent erasing

iv) Inconsistent letter and word spacing

v) Poor spelling, missing words/letters

2. Dyslexia: A learning difficulty specific to reading

i) Slow and labour-intensive reading

ii) Difficulty reading aloud

iii) Mispronounced words

iv) Problems retrieving words

v) Problems writing and spelling

Dyscalculia: A learning difficulty specific to mathematics

i) Difficulty identifying number patterns, for example place value, quantity, positive or negative value, carrying/borrowing

ii) Difficulty understanding and doing word problems

iii) Difficulty sequencing information or events

iv) Difficulty using steps in maths operations

Dyspraxia: A learning difficulty specific to fine and/or gross motor skills.

i) Difference in speech

ii) Perception problems

iii) Poor hand-eye co-ordination

iv) Poor balance and posture

v) Clumsiness

vi) Fatigue

While every child may have trouble with homework from time to time, if a certain area of learning is consistently problematic, it might indicate a learning disorder.

The most important thing to remember is that children with learning disorders need to be taught in ways that are tailored to their unique learning styles.

By learning more about learning disorders in general, and your child’s learning difficulties in particular, you can help pave the way for success at school and beyond.

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