There are many different types of learning disabilities. The most common include Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia. In addition a deficit in the area of working memory can have a significant impact on academic functioning. Below are some of the warning signs(children pre-k to 2nd grade) which often indicate these difficulties.
Dyslexia is a language-based processing disorder which can hinder reading, writing, spelling and sometimes even speaking. It is not a sign of poor intelligence or laziness or the result of impaired hearing or vision. It is a neurological disorder that causes their brains to process and interpret information differently.
• Learning to speak (delayed compared to his peers).
• Learning the alphabet, numbers and days of the week.
• Naming people and objects.
• Speaking precisely and using a varied, age-appropriate vocabulary.
• Staying on topic.
• Getting or staying interested in stories and books.
• Understanding the relationship between speaker and listener.
• Pronouncing word correctly (Example: says “mazagine” instead of “magazine”).
• Learning and correctly using new vocabulary words.
• Distinguishing words from other words that sound similar.
• Rhyming words.
• Understanding instructions/directions.
• Repeating what has just been said.
• Naming letters.
• Recognizing letters, matching letters to sounds and blending sounds when speaking.
• Learning to read as expected for his/her age.
• Associating letters with sounds, understanding the difference between sounds in words.
• Accurately blending letter sounds within words.
• Recognizing and remembering sight words.
• Remembering printed words.
• Distinguishing between letters and words that look similar.
• Learning and remembering new vocabulary words.
• Keeping ones place—and not skipping over words—while reading.
• Showing confidence and interest in reading.
• Learning to copy and write at an age-appropriate level.
• Writing letters, numbers and symbols in the correct order.
• Spelling words correctly and consistently most of the time.
• Proofreading and correcting written work.
• Making and keeping friends.
• Interpreting people’s non-verbal cues, “body language” and tone of voice.
• Is motivated and self-confident about learning.
• Sense of direction/spatial concepts (such as left and right).
• Performing consistently on tasks from day to day.
Dyscalculia is a lifelong learning disabilities involving math. There is no single type of math disability. It can vary from person to person, and affects people differently at different stages of life.
• Learning to count
• Understanding the relationship between a number symbol (4) and corresponding number of objects (4 dinosaurs, 4 cars)
• Organizing objects in a logical way, such as grouping round objects in one pile and squares in another
• Counting quickly and doing simple math calculations
• Learning and remembering basic addition and subtraction facts
• Understanding when to use math procedures (adding, subtracting)
• Learning strategic counting principles (by 2, by 5, by 100, etc.)
• Learning the vocabulary of math
• Playing games that involve numbers and math strategies
• Understanding and learning to count money
• Estimating numbers and quantities
• Making comparisons (less than, greater than)
• Telling time
• Accurately sensing the passage of time
• Recognizing printed numbers
• Remembering numbers (phone numbers, game scores)
• Understanding spatial direction (such as right and left)
• Developing a sense of direction (is easily lost or confused in unfamiliar surroundings)
• Feeling motivated and confident about learning
• Joining peers in playing games that involve numbers, counting and other math concepts
Dysgraphia is a lesser known learning disability (LD) that affects writing, which requires a complex set of motor and information-processing skills.
Writing and Drawing
• Learning to draw and write at the same pace as children the same age.
• Gripping a pencil comfortably when writing or drawing.
• Forming letters and shapes.
• Understanding uppercase and lowercase letters.
• Leaving consistent spacing between letters and words.
• Writing/coloring on a line or within margins.
• Copying letters and numbers neatly and accurately.
• Spelling even familiar words correctly.
• Writing/printing neatly and without a lot of cross-outs and erasing.
• Maintaining energy and easy posture when writing/drawing.
◦ Being motivated and confident about writing, drawing and learning.
◦ Taking pride in his artwork and written work.
Working memory involves the short-term use of memory and attention.
A22-item checklist, standardized for grade school and junior high students and published by Pearson Assessment called the Working Memory Rating Scale (WMRS) has been developed. It helps identification of this problem by listing behaviors that are typical of someone with poor working memory such as:
• Abandons activities before completing them
• Looks like he’s daydreaming
• Fails to complete assignments
• Puts up a hand to answer questions but forgets what she wanted to say (This is typical for a five-year-old, but not for an 11-year-old, for example.)
• Mixes up material inappropriately, for example, combining two sentences
• Forgets how to continue an activity that he’s started, even though the teacher has explained the steps.