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Learning Disabilities

Learning Disabilities

A deficit with intelligence or motivation is not a learning disability. Children with learning disabilities are not dumb or lazy. In fact, the majority are just as intelligent as everyone else. Simply their brains are wired differently. This difference affects how they process and receive information. The umbrella term for a wide variety of learning problems are learning disabilities, or learning disorders.

In other words, adults and children with learning disabilities hear, see, and understand things differently. This can lead to problems when learning new information and skills, and putting them to use. The most common types of learning disabilities involve problems with listening, math, reading, reasoning, speaking, and writing.

Children with learning disabilities can be successful
No parent wishes to see their children in pain. You may be puzzled by what it could mean for your child’s future, or be preoccupied about how your child will make it through school. Perhaps you’re concerned that by adding attention to your child’s learning problems he or she could be labelled “challenged” or assigned to a less challenging class. It can be hard to face the possibility that your child may have a learning disorder. By being more knowledgeable about learning disabilities in general, and your child’s learning deficits in particular, you can help build the way for success at school and beyond. However, the important matter is to remember that most children with learning disabilities are just as intelligent as everyone else. These children just need to be taught in ways that are specific to their unique learning styles.

Common Types of Learning Disabilities

Auditory Processing Disorder – Difficulty hearing differences between sounds, problems with comprehension, language, and reading
Dyscalculia -Difficulty with math, problems doing mathematical problems, understanding time, and using money
Dysgraphia -Difficulty with writing, problems with handwriting, organizing ideas, and spelling
Dyslexia -Difficulty reading, problems with reading, spelling, speaking, and writing
Dysphasia/Aphasia – Difficulty with language, poor reading comprehension,and problems understanding spoken language
Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder) – Difficulty with fine motor skills, problems with balance, hand–eye coordination, and manual dexterity
Visual Processing Disorder – Difficulty interpreting visual information, problems with charts, math, maps, pictures, reading, and symbols

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities and disorders

If you suspect that your child’s learning challenges may require special assistance, please do not delay in finding help. The sooner you receive assistance, the better your child’s chances for reaching his or her maximum potential. If you’re concerned, don’t waste time.

Learning disabilities can look very different from one child to another. It is not always simple to determine learning disabilities. There is no single profile or symptom one can look to as proof of a problem, because of the wide variations. One child may struggle with reading and spelling, while another child enjoys books, but cannot comprehend math. Yet another child may struggle communicating out loud or understanding what others are saying. The challenges are very different, but they are all learning disorders. Nonetheless, some warning signs are more common than others at different ages. By being aware of what they are, you’ll be able to catch a learning problem earlier and take adequate steps to get your child support.

Keep in mind that children who don’t have learning disabilities may still experience some of these challenges at various times. The time for concern is present with an unevenness consistency in your child’s ability to master certain skills. The following checklist lists some commonly seen red flags for learning disorders.

Preschool signs and symptoms of learning disabilities
Difficulty coloring within the lines or controlling crayons, pencils, scissors
Difficulty following directions or learning routines
Difficulty rhyming
Problems pronouncing words
Trouble finding the right word
Trouble learning the alphabet, colors, days of the week, numbers, shapes
Trouble with buttons, learning to tie shoes, snaps, zippers

Ages 5-9 signs and symptoms of learning disabilities
Confuses basic words when reading
Consistently makes frequent reading errors and misspells words
Difficulty remembering sequences and telling time
Trouble learning basic math concepts
Trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds
Unable to blend sounds to make words
Slow to learn new skills

Ages 10-13 signs and symptoms of learning disabilities
Avoids reading aloud; Dislikes reading and writing
Difficulty with math skills or reading comprehension
Poor handwriting
Poor organizational skills (bedroom, desk is disorganized and messy, homework)
Spells the same word differently in a single document
Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud
Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems

Early detection of developmental milestone differences may be an early sign of a learning disability and problems that are spotted at an early point can be effortless to correct. Paying attention to developmental milestones can assist you identify learning disorders. Looking at the normal developmental milestones guidelines for toddlers and preschoolers is crucial.

You as the parent know your child better than anyone else does, so if you believe there is a problem, it doesn’t hurt to get an evaluation. You can also ask your pediatrician for a developmental milestones chart. A developmental lag might not be considered a symptom of a learning disability until your child is older, but if you observe it when your child is young, you can intervene appropriately.

Auditory and visual processing problems: the importance of the ears and eyes
The eyes and the ears are the primary forms of transporting information to the brain, a process sometimes called “input.” If either the ears or the eyes aren’t functioning properly, learning can suffer.
Auditory processing disorder – Professionals may perceive to the ability to hear well as “auditory processing skills” or “receptive language.” The ability to hear things correctly significantly impacts the ability to read, spell, and write. An inability to distinguish subtle differences in sound, or hearing sounds at the incorrect speed make it challenging to sound out words and understand the basic concepts of reading and writing.
Visual processing disorder – Problems in visual perception include having problems with eye–hand coordination, missing subtle differences in shapes, misperceiving depth or distance, skipping lines, skipping words, reversing letters or numbers, or misperceiving depth or distance. Professionals may call the work of the eyes as “visual processing.” Visual perception can affect gross and fine motor skills, math, and reading comprehension.

Problems with math, reading, and writing

Learning disabilities are often clustered by school-area skill set. The types of learning disorders that are most conspicuous if your child is in school usually revolve around math, reading, or writing.

Learning disabilities in math (dyscalculia)
Learning disabilities in math vary significantly depending on the child’s other strengths and weaknesses. A child’s ability to perform math will be challenged differently by a language, learning disability, or a visual disorder or a difficulty with memory, organization, and sequencing.

A child with a math-based learning disorder may struggle with memorization, organization of numbers, number “facts” (such as 2+2=4 or 2×2=4), and operation signs. Children with math learning disorders may also have trouble with counting principles (such as counting by threes or counting by fives) or have difficulty telling time.

Learning disabilities in reading (dyslexia)
There are two kinds of learning disabilities in reading. Basic reading problems occur when there is difficulty comprehending the relationship between letters, sounds, and words. Reading comprehension problems occur when there is an inability to grasp the meaning of paragraphs, phrases, and words.

Signs of reading difficulty include challenges with:
Comprehending ideas and words
General vocabulary skills
Letter and word recognition
Reading fluency and speed

Learning disabilities in writing (dysgraphia)
Learning disabilities in writing can involve the mental activity of comprehending and synthesizing information or the physical act of writing. Basic writing disorder refers to the physical difficulty joining letters and words. Expressive writing disability indicates a challenge to organize thoughts on paper.

Symptoms of a written language learning disability revolve around the act of writing. They include problems with:
Accurately copying letters and words
Consistency of writing and neatness
Spelling consistency
Writing coherence and organization

Other types of learning disabilities and disorders

Math, reading, and writing aren’t the only skills impacted by learning disorders. Other types of learning disabilities involve difficulties distinguishing between sounds, interpreting visual information, and motor skills (movement and coordination), understanding spoken language.

Learning disabilities in language (aphasia/dysphasia)
Language and communication learning disabilities involve the ability to comprehend or produce spoken language. Language is also considered an output activity, because it needs calling upon the correct words to verbally explain something or communicate with someone else and organizing thoughts in the brain.
Signs of a language-based learning disorder involves problems with verbal language skills, such as the ability to recount a story and the fluency of speech, as well as the ability to understand directions, parts of speech, and the meaning of words, etc.

Learning disabilities in motor skills (dyspraxia)
Motor difficulty refers to challenges with coordination and movement whether it is with fine motor skills (coloring, writing) or gross motor skills (running, walking). A motor disability is sometimes referred to as an “output” activity, which means that it relates to the output of information from the brain. In order to jump, run, skip, the brain must be able to communicate with the necessary limbs to complete the action.

Signs that your child might have a motor coordination disability include problems with physical abilities that require hand-eye coordination, such as holding a pen or tying a shoe.

ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
There are many factors that may cause a child to have difficulty with their schoolwork. Learning disabilities often cause students to struggle, but issues like anxiety and depression can also interfere with a student’s ability to learn. Dealing with a stressful home or family life may also lead to problems with concentration. In some cases, a child’s autism or ADHD may influence their abilities at school, but these disorders are not classified as learning disabilities.

Autism
Children with autism or Asperger’s syndrome can be very bright, but the symptoms of their disorder can impact their ability to deal with their schoolwork as well as their school’s environment. They might have problems with social interaction and find it difficult to communicate their thoughts to others.

If a child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), they may struggle to concentrate on one task for an extended period of time. This will impact their ability to complete their work both in school and at home. In addition, they may find it hard to follow instructions and stay seated during class.

Can the Brain Be Re-Wired?

If a child is experiencing difficulties with learning, it could be because the pathways in their brain are not working effectively. These badly wired neural connections make it more difficult for the brain to process new information. However, the brain can also create new connections because of something called neuroplasticity.

Simply put, neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to form new pathways. Over the course of a person’s life, the brain can reorganize itself and change due to external factors. By forming new neural connections, someone who has difficulty with tasks like reading, writing, or math has the potential to improve their skills.

Because scientists now understand the concept of neuroplasticity, certain programs have been developed to help people who have difficulties with learning. Students who struggle with reading comprehension may be treated by using computer-based programs that help them comprehend words at a quicker pace. One of the most notable treatments is the Arrowsmith program, which helps students strengthen their abilities in weak areas. As scientists do more research, more options may become available for people who have learning difficulties.

Having Your Child Evaluated

Diagnosing a learning disability or disorder can take time, and depending on the child’s symptoms, it may prove to be a difficult task. All children struggle with schoolwork from time to time, but if you feel your child’s difficulties are a sign of a genuine disorder or disability, you’ll want to get them evaluated by a professional. In some cases, you may have to visit several specialists before you find one who can accurately diagnose your child.

Getting a diagnosis is important, however, and the sooner it’s done, the better off your child will be. You’ll be more able to understand why they’re struggling in the classroom and provide them with treatment to help them improve their learning skills. Waiting to see if they improve may only lead to more problems, so if they appear to have symptoms of a disorder that could interfere with learning, trust your instincts. Because getting a diagnosis can take time, it can be a frustrating process. Try to focus on the specific needs of your child and develop strategies to help them cope with their schoolwork.

The Evaluation Process
When you take your child for an evaluation, it’s important to see a professional who is qualified to diagnose learning disabilities and other disorders. There are a number of types of specialists who may be able to help. These include clinical psychologists, educational psychologists, child psychiatrists, and developmental psychologists. In some cases, these professionals may work together as a team to ensure that a child is given a diagnosis that most closely fits their symptoms.

It can be a challenge to find a qualified professional who you feel comfortable working with. You may be able to find a specialist through your child’s school, but you could also ask your doctor as well as friends or family members for recommendations. The evaluation itself will likely involve several steps. Your child may be tested and observed to understand how their symptoms manifest themselves. Once you have a diagnosis, it will be easier for your child to accessthe appropriate services, such as special education programs.

If your child is still struggling in a public school setting, you may want to consider placing them in a non-public school that specializes in teaching children with learning disabilities. By visiting your state’s Department of Education website, you can find out more about these options.

Understanding the Learning Process
When your child gets diagnosed with a learning disorder, you may hear the term “integration”. In learning, integration is simply the brain’s process of understanding the information it has received. There are three steps involved in integration, which are sequencing, abstraction, and organization. In order to learn effectively, we need to do all three.

Having difficulty with one or more of these steps can make it hard to learn new information. Sequencing is the process by which a person puts information into the right order. This step is important when it comes to doing math, as it is required for skills like multiplication. Abstraction refers to someone’s ability to make sense of the information they receive, and this step plays a vital role in many parts of education. Organization, meanwhile, is the process of using the information to create cohesive ideas. As with abstraction, lack of organization can impact multiple areas of education.

Finding the Right Assistance

If you want your child to get the kind of educational assistance they require, you’ll likely need to work with specialists as well as the staff at your child’s school. After you get a diagnosis, it will be easier for the school to create a learning plan that’s tailored to your child’s academic needs. Getting help from professionals is vital, but you can also play an important part in helping your child cope with their learning difficulties. There are a number of steps you can take.

Educate Yourself: One of the first steps is to fully educate yourself about the learning disability or disorder your child has been diagnosed with. If you have a deeper understanding of how it impacts the way they learn, you’ll be better able to determine how they can improve their educational skills.

Assess Your Treatment Options: Gather as much information as possible about what types of treatment options are available for your child and evaluate which ones may work best for them. By knowing this information, it’ll be easier to communicate with the school about what your child needs. If the school doesn’t offer certain types of programs, consider whether in-home treatment is an option. Your child may benefit from meeting with a tutor or therapist.

Focus on Their Interests: A child who struggles in one academic area may show talent or interest in another, so it’s important to focus on what your child is good at. By paying attention to their strengths, you can help them better deal with the skills they struggle with.

Social and Emotional Skills
When your child has learning difficulties, they may become frustrated while at school or suffer from a lack of confidence. They might begin to worry about the fact that they struggle with certain academic areas while their peers do not. This frustration can lead to a variety of behavioral problems. In addition, your child’s disability could make it more difficult for them to engage in social situations, especially if they have trouble communicating or interpreting social cues. The challenges your child faces makes them more likely to become isolated form their peers.

The good news is that, as a parent, there are a number of things you can do to decrease your child’s frustration and help them form healthy social relationship. By helping them with emotional and social skills, you’ll be setting them up for successin life. Rather than focusing solely on your child’s academic abilities, try to help them improve as a person.

Helpful Resources about Learning Disabilities: These resources can help you find information about symptoms and how they can be treated.

General

National Center for Learning Disabilities – This site can help you understand the signs and symptoms of learning disorders as well as tips for coping in the classroom. (ncld.org)
Learning Disabilities – This article is great a great introduction for kids hoping to find out more about learning disabilities. (TeensHealth)
LD Basics – Find out more about the signs and symptoms of learning disorders by checking out this resource. (LD OnLine)

Specific Disabilities and Disorders

Dyscalculia: Learning Disabilities in Mathematics – Provides information about dyscalculia, which is a math-related learning disability. (National Center for Learning Disabilities)
Dyslexia Basics – Explains what dyslexia is and what treatment options are available. (International Dyslexia Foundation)
Auditory Processing Disorder – Find out more about this disorder, which affects how a person understands information they hear. (Nemours Foundation)
Understanding Dysgraphia – Learn more details about this learning disability, which impacts a person’s ability to write. (International Dyslexia Foundation)
What Is Dyspraxia? – Offers information about the symptoms of dyspraxia, a developmental disorder that causes problems with coordination. (Medical News Today)
Nonverbal Learning Disorders – This resource covers information about nonverbal learning disorders, which are often misunderstand and not diagnosed until the teenage years. (LD Online)

Assessments

  • At Math ETC we are data-driven. All incoming students are required to take an assessment to determine strengths and weaknesses. The results are shared with parents in a conference and then used to construct a streamlined lesson plan for the tutorial sessions.
  • Assessments can be administered up to 2 times each school year, including the initial assessment.

Scheduling

  • Sessions are scheduled in 12, 18, or 24-hour packages per quarter (3 months). Parents can choose a month-to-month plan which will be assessed at a higher rate.
  • 2 The initial schedule agreed upon between Math ETC and the parent will be posted on the Parent Portal prior to class start.

Rescheduling

Reporting

  • Communication regarding the status and progress of students will be reported via student notes and emailed to the parents within 24 hours of students completing their session.
  • Detailed Progress Reports that give an overview of student’s growth and performance compared to the initial benchmarks will be provided every quarter by email.
  • To better serve all clients of Math ETC, instructors and staff are unable to speak with parents after every session as this would impede assistance to other clients. Parents are welcome to request a conference via their Parent Portal.
  • Any concerns must be discussed first with the Center Director by sending an email to [email protected] If an issue cannot be resolved in this manner, a phone call or meeting may be requested.

Communication

  • Communication regarding the status and progress of students will be reported via student notes and emailed to the parents within 24 hours of students completing their session.
  • Detailed Progress Reports that give an overview of student’s growth and performance compared to the initial benchmarks will be provided every quarter by email.
  • To better serve all clients of Math ETC, instructors and staff are unable to speak with parents after every session as this would impede assistance to other clients. Parents are welcome to request a conference via their Parent Portal.
  • Any concerns must be discussed first with the Center Director by sending an email to [email protected] If an issue cannot be resolved in this manner, a phone call or meeting may be requested.

Late Pick Up Policy

  • All correspondence between parents and Math ETC Learning Center must be written for documentation and sent to [email protected] for prompt response. Verbal agreements, be it by phone or in person, that prompt a future course of action must be transcribed and emailed to all parties involved to consider it binding. Schedules, invoices, and financial statements will be communicated to parents and students via the Parent Portal.

Conflicts

  • For the safety of the child, every child who is not picked up within 15 min of their session ending will be checked into aftercare per childcare regulations. Parents will be billed $10 per hour when the childcare center is open and $1 per minute after 6:30 pm when the center is closed.
  • When a child is not picked up within 15 minutes of the center closing at 7:30pm, the closing supervisor will call the parents and all emergency contacts on file. If a parent is reached, the parent will be required to sign the Late Pick Up form and pay the late fee in cash or card.
  • If a parent cannot be reached within 30 min of the center closing, the supervisor will call the Center Director who will try to reach the parents before calling the Department of Social Services and/or local authorities for further assistance.

Payments

  • All tutorial sessions must be prepaid. We offer the following payment plans: Monthly – 100% of the monthly tuition due on the 1st of the month. Bi-Monthly – 50% of the monthly tuition due on the 1st and 50% due on the 15th of the month Installments (1/2/3) – this option is only available for test prep clients and annual packages.
  • 2 All payments are to be made online by ACH and can be viewed and managed through the Parent Portal.