Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities may vary depending on the type of learning disability.
Some symptoms of learning disabilities include:
- Difficulty with reading and/or writing
- Problems with math skills
- Difficulty remembering
- Problems paying attention
- Trouble following directions
- Poor coordination
- Difficulty with concepts related to time
- Problems staying organized
- Inappropriate responses in school or social situations
- Difficulty staying on task (easily distracted)
- Difficulty finding the right way to say something
- Inconsistent school performance
- Immature way of speaking
- Difficulty listening well
- Problems dealing with new things in life
- Problems understanding words or concepts
Learning disabilities are often identified when a child begins to attend school.
Specialized testing is required to make a clear diagnosis. Diagnosing a learning disability usually includes an evaluation.
An evaluation can:
- Identify whether a child has a learning disability
- Determine a child's eligibility under federal law for special education services
- Help construct an individualized education plan (IEP) that outlines supports for a youngster who qualifies for special education services
- Establish a benchmark for measuring the child's educational progress
A full evaluation for a learning disability includes the following:
- A medical examination, including a neurological exam, to identify or rule out other possible causes of the child's difficulties
- Exploration of developmental, social and school performance
- A discussion of family history
- Academic achievement testing and psychological assessment
A learning disability is treated by using educational strategies to help overcome difficulties.
In general, experts work to help a child learn skills by building on the child’s strengths and developing ways to compensate for the child’s weaknesses. Interventions vary depending on the type of and extent of the disability.
For most children, federal law requires that a public school create an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
An IEP is specific to your child's disability and includes appropriate teaching methods and goals for the school year.
An IEP can change based on the child’s progress. You have the right to ask for a change in the IEP if you don't agree with it.