Parent-Teacher Guide To Learning Disabilities

Having a child with a learning disability can be challenging for a parent. Not only do they need to learn as much as they can about their child's disorder, but they also need to spend time with their child's teacher. Parents and teachers together need to create common goals for the child. Teachers who deal with children with learning disabilities take extra responsibilities upon themselves. They are not only responsible for what a child learns academically, but they are also responsible for keeping track of the child's emotional and behavioral goals. The following will describe some of the more common learning disabilities and provide links to other sites for more information.


Dyslexia, also called developmental reading disorder, is a learning disability that impacts comprehension or fluency accuracy with regard to reading. Symptoms frequently include difficulty connecting the letters of words with language sounds, difficulty recognizing written words, transposition of letters and/or numbers, and difficulty determining the meaning of sentences. Dyslexia may impact a child's life by causing problems in school and affecting their self-esteem. Reading problems in childhood can persist into adulthood if not addressed. Treatments for dyslexia include remedial instruction in school, special classes, individual education plans, private tutoring, and lots of positive reinforcement.


Dyscalculia is a learning disability that affects mathematical calculations. The severity of the condition varies from person to person. Major areas of weakness that signal a diagnosis of dyscalculia include visual-spatial difficulties and language processing difficulties. Other common symptoms include trouble with learning mathematical facts, trouble with number recognition, and mathematical problem-solving difficulties. Children who do not have proper math vocabulary and visual-spatial associations may find it more difficult to move on to advanced math in the future. Treatment for dyscalculia often involves using alternative learning methods and different ways to approach mathematical problems.


Dysgraphia is a learning disability that results in difficulty expressing thoughts in writing. It is sometimes referred to as poor handwriting. Symptoms include poor writing skills but strong verbal skills, punctuation that is random or non-existent, illegible writing, spelling errors, and disordered numbering. If not caught early, dysgraphia can limit writing ability, limit a person's creativity, and even affect their self-esteem. Common treatment methods consist of handwriting practice, spending more time on written tasks, using manuscript writing in place of cursive writing, and using computers.


Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects motor skill development, including speech difficulties. Symptoms of dyspraxia include trouble with speech control, trouble with activities that require fine motor skills, poor coordination, and sensitivity to touch, light, smells, and taste. This disorder affects people by impacting speech and writing ability and can make the person appear clumsy. Self-confidence may also be affected, due to the condition. There is no cure for dyspraxia. Treatment options include practicing simple tasks, developing coordination, and working with speech, occupational, and physical therapists to improve functioning.


Dysphasia is a language disorder that is characterized by impairment of speech, writing, and comprehension of spoken or written language. The affection may be mild or severe. Symptoms include difficulty in talking, writing, listening, and understanding. Daily tasks such as answering the phone or shopping may prove difficult. There may also be difficulties with grammar structure and verbal association. Dysphasia can often cause people confusion due to the comprehension deficits, and it can cause stress at school and at home. People with this condition are often considered illogical and sometimes thought to be drunk or mentally confused. Treatments include adaptation through coping mechanisms, speech therapy, and techniques such as repeating things, talking slowly, and using drawings.


Aphasia is a condition that affects the ability to communicate. It is frequently caused by brain damage and causes problems with speaking, reading, listening, and writing. Symptoms of aphasia consist of trouble using words and sentences and understanding others. Sufferers may have trouble finding the words to express an idea, and they may omit smaller words or speak in short phrases. The condition may be mild or severe. It impacts a person's life by affecting the ability to express and understand both verbal and written language. Aphasia treatment normally consists of speech therapy, practicing language skills, using alternative communication methods, and using specialized computer programs.


ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a condition that is characterized by problems with over-activity, inattentiveness, and impulsivity. It is a chronic condition for which there is no cure. Common symptoms that occur with ADHD are trouble staying focused and lack of attention, hyperactivity, and trouble controlling behavior. If ADHD symptoms are not addressed, problems can arise such as failing in school, problems with keeping a job later in life, trouble with the law, and drug and alcohol abuse. Treatment options for ADHD include behavior therapy and various medications that aim to reduce the symptoms.