Learning Disorders - The Warning Signs

As the most important person in your child's life, you may well be the first to notice an indication that all is not as it should be with their learning. Luckily, too, most teachers today are better versed in spotting the first signs of a learning difficulty and bringing it to your attention.

The most important things to remember here are:

1. Trust your instinct: even if you turn out to be wrong, it's better safe than sorry!

2. "Early recognition = early treatment!" - See your child's teacher as soon as possible

3. If the teachers are not responsive, take it further!

Here are some of the signs to watch out for:

Before school begins:

• Talks later than most children

• Has trouble finding the right word

• Difficulties with pronunciation

• Limited vocabulary

• Difficulty rhyming words

• Finds it hard to learn the alphabet, days of the week, number names

• Trouble mixing with other children

• Restlessness and poor concentration

• Finds it hard to follow instructions

• Slower development of fine motor skills (e.g. Using building blocks, drawing, etc.)

Years 1-4:

• Has trouble remembering and recalling facts and learning new skills

• Finds it hard to connect letters and sounds

• Confuses simple words (cat, dad, tree)

• Makes consistent reading and spelling errors such as letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (meal/food)

• Transposes numbers (71/17) and maths signs (+, -, x, /, =)

• Poor concentration

• Lack of planning and thinking ahead

• Poor handwriting and pencil control

• Trouble learning about time

• Poor coordination and gross motor skills

Years 5-8:

• Weak reading accuracy and comprehension

• Dislikes and avoids reading aloud to others

• Spelling difficulties and transpositions (whole/hole, lots/lost)

• Weak handwriting

• Difficulty with abstract aspects of maths (word problems, formulae, etc.)

• Finds it hard to plan and complete written work

• Difficulty memorising and recalling information, especially in stressful situations such as tests and exams

• Difficulty making friends and with social interaction

Year 9 and beyond:

• Ongoing problems with reading, reading comprehension, writing and spelling (although they may have developed successful strategies to hide or overcome some of these difficultues)

• Difficulties with study skills such as note-taking, revision, organisation, summarising, verbal presentations

• Problems decoding complex instructions

• Weak memory skills

• Slow work pace

• Trouble understanding abstract concepts