“Learning Disabilities” is a comprehensive term referring to a range of problems that arise when information from the senses is not accurately received by the brain. Children with learning disabilities are sometimes thought to be mentally handicapped. These youngsters, however, are often quite intelligent. Among those known to have had learning disabilities are inventor Thomas Edison, sculptor Auguste Rodin and politician Nelson Rockefeller.
Additionally, more than 5 million children throughout the world suffer from attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children affected by ADHD show such traits as easy distractibility, hyperactivity, impulsiveness and attention-demanding behavior. Experts estimate that half of the kids with ADHD have learning difficulties, and one-fourth of the children with learning disabilities have ADHD. These conditions are not always present together.
- Auditory Dyslexia: Those who suffer from auditory dyslexia are unable to distinguish spoken sentences such as the rhyme “Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy.” To a child suffering from auditory dyslexia, this sounds like: “Mairse dotes and dozy dotes and little lamzy divy.” They are often unable to differentiate between similar sounds such as “pet” and “pot,” and have difficulty properly vocalizing words. They also have trouble distinguishing sounds, such as a teacher’s voice from those of noisy classmates.
- Directional Difficulties: Some individuals have difficulty understanding the difference between up and down, right and left, forward and backward. If asked to stand in front of his desk, a pupil with directional difficulties may stand behind it.
- Distraction Problems: Oftentimes, those with learning difficulties have difficulty concentrating on one task for any length of time.
- Dysgraphia: Students who exhibit awkward handwriting, printing and drawing may be suffering from this dysfunction which identifies a problem with eye-to-hand coordination.
- Dyscalculia: Individuals who suffer from dyscalculia find it extremely difficult to do mathematical calculations.
- Motor Coordination Difficulties: Poor gross-motor coordination results in the inability to easily move large body muscles. This results in clumsiness and awkward performance in most sports. Poor fine-motor coordination results in the inability to do dexterous tasks, such as buttoning, writing or using scissors.
- Visual Dyslexia: This common problem is the result of being unable to correctly understand information received through the eyes. For instance, a person with this dysfunction may not be able to pick out a pencil from several other objects. Similar letters and words may also be confused. The word “horse” may be seen as “house,” and the letters “b” and “d,” “q” and “p” and others are often confused. Letters are frequently transposed, resulting in “si” and “is,” “spot” for “stop,” etc. Visually dyslexic students must repeatedly sound out difficult words such as “the” and “where.” These individuals spell phonetically so “enough” is often spelled “enuf.”
Last updated October 2004