When the signs of a learning disability are identified early, children can be given the right help to develop key skills that they will use throughout their lives. Often the first signs can be subtle and, as such, are unfortunately easy to miss if you don’t know what to look out for.
So, if you have concerns about a child in your care or you simply want to understand what you should be looking out for, here are some of the most common signs that could indicate a potential learning disability in a child.
1. Difficulties with organization
Many children find reading, writing and/or mathematics challenging, however, children with a learning disability are more likely to experience more profound and long-lasting difficulties. For example, children may take longer to identify connections between letters and sounds, reverse similar looking letters, and mix up their words. Children with learning disabilities may also find it challenging to identify sequences of numbers or confuse different arithmetic symbols.
Often, these difficulties affect other areas of everyday life, including telling the time and following directions.
2. Difficulties with organization
Children with a learning disability may find it particularly challenging to organize their belongings and their time. In addition to frequently misplacing homework, schoolbooks or favourite toys, they may also find it difficult to complete assignments within an allocated period of time.
3. Difficulties with fine motor skills
Many of us have moments of clumsiness throughout our lifetimes, however, when this clumsiness is more profound or combined with issues such as poor balance and difficulties when drawing, colouring, and writing, it could be indicative of a learning disability. You may notice that a child avoids using pens and pencils because they are having issues with coordination or that they appear to be experiencing more scrapes and bumps than other children of a similar age.
4. Difficulties with social behaviours
Children with learning disabilities may not display the same social behaviours as their peers and this can manifest in a variety of different ways. Some of the most common signs include a reluctance to engage with other children, playing alone, becoming easily frustrated, and displaying temper tantrums that are difficult to manage.
5. Memory issues
Often, children with learning disabilities find it difficult to remember information which becomes especially apparent when they are asked to recall something that another person has just told them. There are a variety of reasons why this symptom can manifest, but learning disabilities can often cause feelings of restlessness and distraction, which is a significant contributor.
The advantages of special needs classes
Research has illustrated that early intervention can be extremely effective for children and young people with learning disabilities. There are numerous, high quality special needs public schools in Toronto, as well as dedicated programs that are designed to meet the needs of every child.
Special needs public schools in Toronto
The city of Toronto has a wide range of programs and special needs classes, covering both elementary and high school classes, all of which are designed to provide people with the right support at the right times.