Your Child Have a Learning Problem?
By Dr. Sally Robinson and Dr. Keith Bly
parent wonders (and many worry) about their child's ability to learn.
the truth is, kids learn in many different ways and at different
rates. And there's a very wide range of normal. While schoolteachers
cannot be expected to tailor curriculum for each individual style,
they should be teaching in a variety of ways so that every child
in the class can grasp the daily lessons.
children have ups and downs in their learning. And many outgrow
sometimes kids have more than the usual amount of difficulty. They
may have problems with seeing or reversing letters and words; developing
language skills; or processing and understanding information. Others
may experience troubles with speech and coordination skills. Some
may also have problems concentrating or sitting still.
children are born into families with a history of learning disabilities.
Other children may have risk factors that make them more likely
to develop a problem. Some of these risks include low-birth weight,
stress before or after birth, infections of the nervous system or
severe head injuries. Learning disabilities are common. It's estimated
that one in 10 public school students may be in need of some form
of special education, according to The Association for Children
and Adults with learning Disabilities.
specialist can determine whether a child has a learning disabilityæand
if so, what kind. Depending on budget constraints, schools may have
a full- or part-time learning specialist. The special-education
department in your school district should be able to refer you to
you suspect a problem, the first step is to have your child's pediatrician
give him or her a complete physical examination to rule out any
medical problems, such as poor vision or hearing loss. Next, find
out what resources are available in your school district to assess
your child's progress. By gathering information from as many sources
as possible, including anecdotes from teachers and parents; observing
the child in the classroom, and performances on IQ, achievement
and aptitude tests, a learning specialist can determine the nature
of the problem.
a diagnosis is made, the school must develop an individualized education
plan. The Education for the Handicapped Children Act of 1975 mandates
that all youngsters with learning disabilities be given a "free,
public and appropriate education."
parents are concerned that diagnosing kids with a learning disability
unfairly labels them for life. Try to think of it this way instead:
By pinpointing a problem and helping kids with it, you're giving
them the tools and emotional support they need to feel good about
disabilities do not have to hold someone back. Inventor Thomas Edison,
scientist Albert Einstein and political leader Nelson Rockerfeller
were all learning disabled but rose above their problem to achieve
Sally Robinson is Professor of Pediatrics, and Dr. Keith Bly is
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical
Branch at Galveston Children's Hospital. For more information, visit:
information presented on this site is intended solely as a general
educational aid, and is neither medical nor healthcare advice for
any individual problem, nor a substitute for medical or other professional
advice and services from a qualified healthcare provider familiar
with your unique circumstances. Always seek the advice of your physician
or other qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical
condition and before starting any new treatment.