Specific Learning Disorder: How Do We Spot This Condition In Kids?

How To Spot Specific Learning Disorder In Kids?

Do you know one-third of children with learning disabilities also have attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder?

A specific learning disorder is a condition that interferes with children's ability to listen, think, speak, write, spell and do mathematics. Children mainly struggle with reading or writing. A specific learning disorder in the context of the reading is called Dyslexia; in the context of writing, it is called Dysgraphia, and in the context of mathematics, it is called Dyscalculia.

Specific Learning Disorder: Prognosis

The prognosis of SLD depends on several factors, like the age of diagnosis and comorbid conditions. Besides supportive environment in family and school helps these children overcome their deficits using excellent and practical teaching aids and helps them commit to learning despite challenges. However, comorbid conditions like attention deficit and hyperactivity symptoms, borderline intellectual abilities, or other behavioural disorders can make it difficult to predict the prognosis.

How Can We Diagnose This Disorder In Children?

According to the Statistical and Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders 5 specific learning disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition, which begins during school age and refers to ongoing problems in three areas, reading, writing and doing mathematics, which are foundational to one's ability to learn. Five to 15 per cent of school age children struggle with a learning disorder, and 80 per cent of learning disabled children have a reading disorder commonly known as dyslexia. One-third of children with learning disabilities also have attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. There are specific criteria in DSM 5 to diagnose SLD.

Specific learning disability

Does It Impact Children's Communication Skills?

Communication is impacted in kids with Specific Learning Disorder. As these children have difficulty comprehending complex messages, they cannot decode them properly, and this affects their reciprocity. Notes with multiple instructions or information create difficulty for these children to process. They find it difficult to make people understand what their problems are. They feel embarrassed as other children of the same age could do things they lack. For a good communicator, it is essential first to listen and understand the message sent by a sender, but as children with specific learning disorder lack these basic criteria, they fail to initiate a good communication pattern.

When Does A Child Need Medical Attention?

One can seek medical attention when a child cannot cope with daily activities or academically as per his age as others. A child may have a deficit in basic life skills, like taking care of himself or carrying out activities in an organized manner. There may be a fall in academic grades though the child appears to be intellectually average. A child may face difficulty in playing with mates. Feelings of embarrassment and hesitation can be noticed in the child. He may face problems following multiple instructions given by the teacher in class. Psychiatrists or clinical psychologists can help in the diagnosis of Specific Learning disorder.

Can This Disorder Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, a specific learning disorder cannot be prevented. It's a neurodevelopmental disorder. However, we can lower the risk of development of learning disorder in our child by avoiding alcohol or harmful drug exposure before or during pregnancy or after the child's birth, taking care of nutrition during pregnancy, avoiding stressful conditions during pregnancy or using appropriate coping skills to deal with stressors during pregnancy, etc.

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