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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Signs That a Child Has a Learning Disability in the Classroom

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According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004, a learning disability is defined as a disorder in one or more basic psychological processes including thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling or doing mathematics. Learning disabilities include behavioral problems and academic problems; this is the perspective the American Psychiatric Association adopted in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Spotting a child with a learning disability in the classroom will lead to other tests that can help determine the category and severity of the learning disability. The following are the seven main criteria to determine if a child has a learning disability.
Difficulty with Oral Expression
Oral expression may be awkward, forced or completely absent. The spoken word is an indicator of mental cohesion; mixing up words or inability to properly express oneself is a further indicator. Any obvious signs of struggle when speaking or communicating should be further looked into. 

Difficulty with Listening Comprehension
The child will need to be told things over and over again or have concepts explained repeatedly. Subjects that are relatively easy for the average student to grasp will serve as a huge source of struggle for the disabled child. Repeated attempts followed by failure characterize this aspect of a learning disability.

Difficulty with Written Expression
The child may be able to speak and communicate regularly aside from the written word. He will be behind the majority of the classroom in his written skills; written tasks that are simple and straightforward for the average student will be baffling and overwhelming to him. 

Difficulty with Basic Reading Skill  
The child may struggle with dyslexia or simply not be able to catch onto reading as quickly as other students in the classroom. Stuttering, repeating the same word over and over again in an attempt to pronounce it correctly or even making things up from embarrassment all categorize this aspect of a learning disability. 

Difficulty with Reading Comprehension
The child will be able to read the words on the page, but will not be able to grasp the bottom line of the story. A focus on grammar but not on the content of the passage is an indicator of this sort of a learning disability. Repeated attempts to understand a story followed by failure serve as a further indicator.

Difficulty with Mathematical Calculation
Mathematics will be baffling and overwhelming for the child; basic addition and subtraction facts will not be solvable. Students with this aspect of a learning disability will be taught the foundations of math several times but not be able to grasp even the most simple of equations. 

Difficulty with Mathematical Reasoning
Students may grasp individual math concepts but be unable to connect each concept together to build upon what they have learned. They may be able to follow a set of instructions on how a math problem is to be completed, but be unable to work through the logic of the problem in their mind and apply the pattern to every problem. Students with this aspect of a learning disability will have a hard time building upon what they have learned in math and therefore moving forward to more difficult calculations.

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