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Learning Disabilities and Children

What is a learning disability?

There are many reasons why a child may not be able to learn, such as:

  • Hearing problems
  • Poor motivation
  • Emotional problems
  • Mental retardation

Some school-age children with none of the above problems still have trouble in a school setting. These children may have normal, near normal, or above normal intelligence. This inability to reach their full potential is called a learning disability. In many cases, the cause of a learning disability is not known, but some risk factors include: low birth weight, stress before or after birth, treatment for cancer or leukemia, infections of the central nervous system, and sever head injuries. Experts believe that children with learning disabilities have a problem with the way the brain handles information. This hinders the normal learning process. A learning disability must be identified and treated early. If it is, there’s a great chance that children with learning disabilities will reach their potential. Learning disabilities are not uncommon. They appear to be more common in boys than girls.

What are the warning signs?

It may not be easy to detect learning disabilities in children. There are warning signs, however, that can help parents know if their children have a learning disability. Parents should note if any of the situations below are present in their preschool children:

  • Delays in language development. By 2 ½ years old, children should be able to put sentences together.
  • Trouble with speech. By 3 years old, parents and others should understand what children say more than half of the time.
  • Trouble with coordination. Just before kindergarten, children should be able to tie shoes, button, hop, and cut.
  • Short attention span. Between 3 and 5 years old, children should be able to sit still while being read a short story.

Regard these signs as risk factors only. Remember that no child develops in the same manner or at the same pace. These signs may not always reveal a learning disability.

When is the best time to diagnose/identify a learning disability?

The sooner it is detected, the sooner these children can receive special attention and treatment. Children with undiagnosed learning disabilities could become angry and frustrated. This can lead to severe emotional problems. Early treatment and special education can have a good effect on these children. Family love and support play major roles in helping children live with their learning disability. It also gives children a greater sense of confidence and inner strength. The people who have the most contact with the children are parents, preschool teachers, or pediatricians. Doctors or teachers can give screening tests to see if a problem exists. There are no cures for a learning disability. Only early identification and treatment can help children with learning disabilities and help them to become quite successful later in life.

Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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