Manifestation of Academic Problems Due To Learning Disability

Puzzling is a term teachers use to describe the students with learning disability. This is because they have a ‘hidden handicap’ - a handicap that is not obvious. Their strengths in some areas often mask or hide learning problems in other areas.

At different age levels people with Specific Learning Disability experience different problems. Different people with Learning Disorder present different combinations of ‘learning disorder specific symptoms’ with varying intensity.

A child manifests this problem mainly as poor scholastic performance, difficulty in learning to read, learning to write, learning the spellings, learning and/or expressing the subject concepts, ideas and knowledge.

LD & Learning Problems of Preschool Children

Preschoolers may show indications such as slow speech development, poor clarity in speech and difficulty in activities which need fine motor coordination. Kindergartners show difficulty in learning alphabets, numbers and colour names, left right confusion, colouring, tracing, copying, reversals and mirror images in writing.

Most of the children with learning disability don’t have much difficulty in learning alphabets and other preschool activities. Usually the problem of learning disability starts its outward presentation when they start to learn reading and spelling. Parents and teachers usually identify the problem when the child who seemed quite bright had trouble mastering these skills that comes easily to others. The early years of formal schooling (up to third standard) is critical in identifying learning disability.

LD & Learning Problems of Primary School Children

Elementary school children with learning disability face trouble in learning reading, spelling, copying, number skills, arithmetic operations and writing. Reading problems include deficits in word recognition skills, reading fluency and reading comprehension. Writing problems include skill deficits in spelling, legible handwriting, framing own sentences, expressing knowledge and ideas and the physical activity of writing. Along with academic difficulties some of them have language difficulties, exhibited often as poor narration skills and word finding difficulty.

Earlier identification and intervention helps the children with learning disability to develop these skills and to build the foundation for good academic achievement.

LD & Learning Problems of Secondary School Children

Children in higher grades with unremedied learning disability carry on the reading and writing difficulties. They are not able to develop study skills according to the demands of curriculum. Accumulated problems such as lack of basic knowledge in different subjects and emotional and behavioural problems may also arise as secondary problems and cause huge hindrance to academic progress. Scholastic achievement depends upon the nature and severity of the problems in different areas. The strengths and interests of the child, the help they received to develop the foundation of academic skills, the ongoing help and own effort to master the academic skills are important in determining their accommodation to the education system.

Remedial intervention during elementary level and ongoing support during secondary level help children with learning disability to keep an upward curve in academic achievement and to pave the way for higher education.

Adults and Learning Disability

Adults with unresolved dyslexia have reported that in many walks of life they faced problems and suffered mental agony due to the inefficiency in reading, writing and mathematical abilities. For example, can list a few:- while shopping from a supermarket cannot read products’ name and other details; have to depend on calculator even for small calculations; difficulty in finding a job; difficulty in collecting information by reading and acquiring knowledge; trouble to complete the formalities in various offices and hospitals and even in performing religious activities.

Adults who overcome Learning Disorder are able to read, write and to pursue university education according to their areas of interest. They can develop career, based on their scholastic achievement and skill areas, even though they still carry some residue of difficulties. But unemployment and the subsequent problems are the major negative impacts of learning disability.

LD is Unique

The presentation of the problem is unique to each person. LD can affect one or more areas of academic skills in different combinations and at varying range of intensities. Some children with difficulty in reading and writing may be good in arithmetic while some others have difficulty in all areas of scholastic skills. Some children have severe difficulty in reading and writing while some others have only mild or moderate level of difficulty. Most of the children with disorder in reading have difficulty only in acquiring reading fluency while some of them have difficulty in reading comprehension also. LD can occur with or without ADHD and the level and presentation of ADHD also varies. The strengths and weaknesses vary from child to child. Some children with Learning Disability have language difficulties also while some others have very good oral expression skills. Some children with Learning Disability are very good in physical skills, drawing, and sports and dance. On the contrary some children are poor in motor coordination and have difficulty in learning drawing, colouring, cycling, balling, batting and other play activities. Thus the combinations of weaknesses and strengths vary.

Individuals can learn to compensate for and can overcome areas of weakness. Learning Disorders are not curable and do not go away by its own. These conditions can be lifelong that, in some cases, affect many parts of a person's life. However appropriate remedial training in time helps them to acquire and develop academic skills and to achieve success in school, career and other life situations, as if there were no learning disorder.