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Learning disabilities: How to support your child at school

Reading time 7 minutes
Learning disabilities: How to support your child at school

Does your child daydream instead of listening at school? Do the teachers complain? No one wants to admit that their offspring is struggling in school. But maybe there really is a learning disability. What does this mean for your child - how does such a learning disability affect his or her future life?

Those who learn more slowly than others need targeted help. Simply cramming is no longer enough. Instead, familiarize yourself with the typical characteristics of learning disabilities. This is the only way you can support your child in school. And only in this way will he or she find the strength to cope now and in later phases of life.

Learning disability definition: what actually is it?

It usually starts in elementary school: Some students' knowledge just flies by, but others have problems. They need a lot of time to read and learn to write. It is difficult for them to get used to the daily school routine. They cannot sit still for long and instead fidget around. Sometimes they disrupt the lessons. A certain amount of restlessness in first graders is normal. But if the problems persist in later school years, they may be signs of a learning disability.

Some children don't really keep up with certain school subjects. For example, they have to concentrate hard to solve a math problem. In reading and writing, on the other hand, they show no abnormalities. To a certain extent, small weaknesses are not problematic. But if the difficulties intensify or spread to other school subjects, experts speak of a learning disability.

An important characteristic for determining a learning disability is the intelligence quotient. Children usually have an IQ of 85 to 115. If the value is between 70 and 84, they are considered to have a learning disability. If the IQ is below 70, it is an intellectual disability.

learning disability definition

Common causes of learning disability

Why do some children not come along with the others? Where does the learning disability come from - is there a specific reason for it? Whoever deals with the subject recognizes the typical accompanying symptoms and also the aggravating conditions.

Usually there are several factors that come together. They influence the mental abilities, the mental condition and also the physical Resilience. Depending on the environment, the factors can also reinforce each other.

Often the learning disability has organic and neurological causes. These are based on congenital, genetic factors, sometimes also on brain-organic damage.

The causes of learning disabilities or learning disabilities cannot always be determined. In certain cases, however, for example in the case of a metabolic disease or a hereditary defect, a precise analysis is possible.

Damage in the course of pregnancy

In some cases, damage in the course of pregnancy is responsible for the disability. This can be a severe infection, medication or influences from other harmful substances.

Not only biological causes are a danger. Psychosocial factors such as a difficult environment can also trigger and intensify learning problems. Even babies and toddlers experience developmental delays due to a lack of emotional attention. Such delays continue later. Often such children grow more slowly and suffer from mental illness. A healthy, cognitive development needs incentives and attention.

5 different types of learning disability

A learning disability can have various degrees and characteristics. Typically, it manifests itself in a specific learning disability. Some schools offer support programs that help the affected Children should help.

Here you get an overview of the most common problem cases.

  1. Dyslexia and dyscalculia are manifested by frequent spelling mistakes and a halting reading flow.
  2. The dyscalculia, also Dyscalculia, refers to the difficulty in dealing with numbers. Mathematical solutions are difficult for children with dyscalculia to understand and even simple arithmetic problems cause them problems.
  3. Learning difficulties caused by ADHD are related to a lack of concentration. Thus it comes to Learning Disabilitieswhich make everyday school life considerably more difficult. Sometimes stress and school anxiety are added, from which the children suffer without understanding the real problem.
  4. Dyspraxia is a disorder of coordination and development that has a negative impact on everyday life and also on learning. The motor difficulties last throughout life, but there are support options.
  5. A nonverbal learning disorder manifests itself in special abilities, which, however, are accompanied by conspicuous deficits. The neuropsychological syndrome affects the children's motor skills and also their spatial-visual perception. In addition, they have difficulty interpreting nonverbal communication correctly. The diagnosis is very complex and requires sophisticated, individualized support.

5 tips to help children with learning disabilities

You fear that your offspring is not only a dreamer, but suffers from a learning disability? Then you shouldn't wait too long, but act quickly. The sooner you do something, the better the chances are for your child. In the best case, you will prevent your child from feeling overwhelmed and completely refusing to go to school. Often, children with learning disabilities feel like victims and are correspondingly anxious. But such complexes don't have to be - as you can see in this Article learn

The following 5 tips will show you how to support your child specifically.

  • With school anxiety, however, you must not try to protect your child all around. They should make some effort and deal with the school knowledge. If children are underchallenged, their learning behavior suffers - and that would not be helpful. It is better to train the right way of learning.
  • Learning to learn - yes, that's possible. Of course, you can help your offspring with their homework. But that doesn't mean you have to do the work: Just show them how to do it. Or let the child explain the homework to you. That's a good way to help your child learn the ropes anyway. Increase motivation to learn. With small Learning successes he or she gradually makes progress and has more fun at school again. You will notice this even if your child does not openly admit it.
  • Don't talk about school performance all the time. There are other important things in life. Take a family trip, visit friends, watch a movie together. The subject of school should not come up all the time: Give yourselves a Time out.
  • Observe your child and recognize his or her talents. Perhaps he is enthusiastic about soccer or a special craft, music or art. Give him the opportunity to live out his own abilities. Even a small sense of achievement strengthen self-confidence.
  • Show your child that you love and appreciate him. Regardless of his academic performance, you are on his side. But don't take care of all his problems: Children solve small disputes best among themselves. This is also important for self-confidence. Of course, young children often look to their parents for protection. You should give your offspring that, too. But in certain cases, it's better for their development if they can handle things themselves.

Possible supports for children with learning disabilities

There are two approaches to supporting children with learning disabilities. The first option is integration into a regular school with additional individual support. For this purpose, some schools offer a special education service that holds support sessions for the children concerned. The second option is a special school with learning support. This means that children with similar learning difficulties are taught together. They start in small classes with a reduced learning pace. If the children perform well at school, they can later transfer to a regular school.

If there are indications of a learning disability before school enrollment, you can consult a child psychologist. In some cases, there are also diagnostic support classes for the first two years of school. The experienced teachers will inform you about the possibilities of support and give a school recommendation. Depending on the situation, it may make sense to have the learning disability recognized.

learning disability symptoms

How do I know if my child has a learning disability? 7 signs that indicate it

How is your child doing in school? Report card grades alone are not much help. Even the assessments and evaluations of educational professionals are often not enough to determine a learning disability. Perhaps a medical examination is necessary or a visit to the school psychologist. In any case, it is worthwhile to talk to the teachers in order to possibly necessary support measures to initiate.

If your child is struggling from first grade and it doesn't improve, he or she may have a learning disability. 

The following warning signs should get your attention.

  • Learning difficulties and below average school performance in several subjects,
  • lack of concentration and memory,
  • Impaired or simplified imaginative ability,
  • Not a successful learning strategy,
  • Problems in motor and language development,
  • negative beliefs and inferiority complexes,
  • emotional instability up to Behavioral problems and aggression.

At what age is a learning disability diagnosed?

The sooner you notice that your child is not learning properly, the sooner you can do something. And the earlier support begins, the better the chances. Occasionally, problems are noticed as early as kindergarten, but most of the time the learning disability doesn't show up until school. In the beginning, even children with learning difficulties can still keep up halfway, but when the first assessments come, you should take a close look.

The diagnosis of a learning disability can therefore be made when children are four, six or eight years old. However, specific learning disabilities such as dyscalculia are often not recognized until later, for example at the age of ten or 12. This is particularly problematic if the children cleverly hide their weaknesses.

As long as school is still fun, children are motivated. But as the years go by, learning often takes on a negative flavor. This makes it all the more important to identify learning disabilities or learning difficulties at an early stage. Without support, the children suffer from the problems and develop a strong school- and Test anxiety.

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How to support your child with learning difficulties

Again, your child is bringing home poor grades: is it just learning problems or is it a learning disability? Is there a lack of intrinsic motivation or are there possibly other reasons why the school children cannot concentrate?

In the Learning coach training you will learn many interesting things about learning disabilities and personal development. Also how Learning Blocks or how you support the next generation.

The E-Book with learning tips is a good companion for you. It contains successful learning techniques and tips on constructive communication. After all, imparting knowledge is not just about cramming as much content as possible into your child's head: he or she should also understand the context. Almost more importantly, they should learn to learn. Because that's the foundation stone for the future.

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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