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How to Recognize Kids With Learning Disabilities

Barb Malone

recognizear

Make a difference with children who may have trouble learning

"Every evening, the Israelites had meat from the quails that flew into the camp. In the morning, they had manna for bread," the teacher explained before asking, "Where did the children of Israel get food in the wilderness?"

A hand popped up. "I know!" the boy exclaimed. "They had to meet the quails and get banana bread." The other children laughed, and the boy broke out crying.

When you work with children, you may run into this type of situation. You may not know a child has a learning disability until you ask that child to do something.

Understanding Learning Disabilities

A learning disability may appear in many forms and have several symptoms. By becoming aware of different types of learning disabilities and how to handle them, you can alleviate misunderstandings and embarrassment for children. Some common learning disabilities:

Reading and language delays
When 9-year-old Amy was asked to read, "Daniel was in the lion's den," she read, "Daniel saw the lion dead." Children with reading and language delays often reverse words or skip words and letters. Unless a parent tells you about the child's reading disability, you won't discover it until you ask the child to read aloud.

Written language delays
Whenever the teacher asks Joshua to copy the Bible verse on the board, he is disruptive. Joshua acts out to avoid becoming embarrassed by his disability. When Joshua does write, he spells many words wrong. He leaves out punctuation and spacing between words.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Seven-year-old Jason received notoriety in the church at an early age. As an infant, he was inconsolable; he fought all cuddling. As a toddler, he tore through the hallways, wrote on walls and knocked over chairs. He never seemed to sit still. Tests at school revealed that Jason had a high IQ and neurological signs of ADD. Children with ADD have difficulty in following instructions and in remembering numbers and letters.

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