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Identifying Learning Disabilities in Preschoolers

Summary

Learning disabilities in children are quite common and consist of various reading, writing, and mathematical disorders. Spotting learning inabilities in young children can be difficult because children develop at different rates. But there are some red flags that parents should be aware of.

Childhood Education: Identifying Learning Disabilities in Preschoolers

It’s probably safe to say that even the most intelligent child can have trouble grasping certain aspects of language or identifying phonemes.

But learning disabilities are very common and parents should be vigilant in having a formal evaluation if they suspect difficulties in academic ability.

What is a Learning Disability?

Learning disabilities actually include a broad category of disorders that are classified under one umbrella term. Those disorders that are classed as learning disabilities do not include mental retardation, autism, or impairment of the senses.

Instead, they affect normal children of average or above average intelligence. Children with learning disabilities are the same as other children in many ways. However, they differ in the way that they process information.

In other words, children with learning disabilities have brains that are wired differently. The most common learning disabilities are marked by the difficulty of performing basic academic skills.

They include the following:

  • Reading disorders. The most common learning disability is a reading disorder or dyslexia. Reading disorders can affect all skills involved in the reading process. Children with dyslexia can have great difficulty recognising letters, decoding words, and comprehending ideas in stories.
  • Writing disorders. Also called Dysgraphia, writing disorders are marked by difficulties with writing, spelling, and written expression. Dysgraphia is marked by the inability to write letters legibly or consistently. This disorder can also affect a child’s ability to spell, or even remember how to form letters.
  • Mathematical disorders. Known as dyscalculia, problems with mathematical computation can make it difficult or impossible to master the fundamentals of addition or subtraction. This disorder also makes memorising multiplication tables an overwhelming challenge.

Signs and Symptoms of Learning Disabilities in Preschooler

Learning disabilities can be tough to spot in very young children. One reason for this is because children develop at different rates. Just because your 4-year-old thinks an “S” is a “5” doesn’t indicate a learning disability.

In most cases, it means that they simply haven’t learned to recognise the difference. Instead of looking for isolated incidences such as these, parents should look for the consistent inability to master certain age-appropriate skills.

Here are a few red flags that may indicate a learning disability in young children:

  • Rhyming difficulties. This may indicate that they are not processing language adequately.
  • Inattention to story time. Children are curious by nature. When they are not interested in an appealing story, it may be a sign that they do not understand the content.
  • An inability to recognise the sounds that letters make. If children seem to not be able to make this connection, they may be at risk.

If you suspect a learning disability, don’t wait to get a formal evaluation from a trained professional. Early intervention is the key to managing learning disabilities.

 

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