Does your child have trouble reading? Is he unable to understand his lessons at school? Does he have poor social skills? If your answer to each of these questions is ‘yes,’ then your kid may be suffering from one of five lesser-known learning disabilities.
Due to environmental factors and genetics, some children develop certain learning disabilities. These can impact their behavioural, emotional, social and academic abilities as well as their nonverbal cognitive skills.
Even with these disabilities, most children are able to lead a normal life. In some cases, such disabilities even go unnoticed. However, if you do notice something wrong, a proper diagnosis can reveal a much bigger underlying issue.
Learning disabilities: 5 uncommon issues that impact your child’s life
Learning disabilities are essentially neurological processing problems. These problems can interfere with your child’s basic learning skills including reading, writing as well as speaking.
They can also hinder his organisational skills as well as memory and attention.
It is therefore, crucial that such learning disorders are diagnosed. They impact not just academics but a child’s life and relations with his friends and family members.
You might recognise some problems during your child’s school years. Some symptoms are an immediate giveaway and include an inability to read, write and follow basic instructions. It is best to get a proper evaluation while your child is in school so it saves them from any struggle later on their lives.
But let’s clear one thing — learning disabilities should not be confused with learning problems. Therefore, it’s crucial to know more about these lesser known learning disabilities.
1. Nonverbal Learning Disability
In a Nonverbal Learning Disability (NVLD) a child may suffer from weaker motor skills, verbal skills and spatial skills. Those who have NVLD are unable to understand nonverbal cues like facial expressions and body language.
- Such kids can be quite ‘clumsy’ and have poor psycho-motor coordination. They are often seen bumping into people and objects.
- They also have a problem doing basic jobs like tying shoes and using scissors.
- Children are sometimes unable to understand directions and have poor social skills and suffer from anxiety.
- Such kids are also unable to solve difficult math problems, have a low attention span and have problems with the written word.
Most of the time NVLD is diagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, anxiety or math disorder.
2. Social Communication Disorder
In this type of learning disability, as the name suggests, a child’s social communication skills are lower than his verbal or general cognitive skills. It can impact a child’s verbal and non-verbal communication, inference as well as social skills.
You may notice the following issues in a child suffering from social communication disorder:
- Inability to respond quickly to others
- Difficulty in using gestures like waving and even pointing
- Unable to understand when his turn comes during a game
- He is unable to talk about his emotions and feelings
- Attention span is very low and so he moves onto other topics quickly
- Is not brief with his questions and greetings and might use many words to express one feeling
Speech-language pathologists can help the child with his verbal issues. However, social communication disorder needs a thorough diagnosis.
This learning disability causes a hindrance in understanding and solving mathematical problems. Number-related concepts or symbols are are difficult to understand for such kids. Unfortunately, it is a lifelong disorder but not as well-known as dyslexia.
Here are a few symptoms you will notice:
- Kids with dyscalculia have difficulty understating quantities and mathematical concepts.
- They are unable to connect numbers with their corresponding words. For instance, they cannot relate ‘3’ to ‘three.’
- They are not able to practically apply a theory.
- Such kids cannot solve mathematical problems easily.
Many specialists call this “mathematics disorder” because kids struggle with basic maths concepts. This type of learning disability is therefore, quite specific and may even affect their ability to handle money in the future.
4. Auditory Processing Disorder
Another lesser known learning disability is the Auditory Processing Disorder. It is a hearing disorder that often affects school-aged children.
In this condition, children are not able to connect what they hear and understand. Many times the brain doesn’t recognise or interpret sounds, especially in case of speeches.
Here are some common symptoms of auditory processing disorder that you might notice:
- Your child is easily distracted and gets startled at even the slightest loud noise.
- Noisy environments make your child extremely cranky and unsettled.
- Your child is unable to follow instructions or directions – both simple and complicated.
- He faces difficulty in reading, writing and even spelling.
- Your child often forgets his work and is unorganised.
- Conversations are also very hard to follow for your kid.
This type of disorder is often mistaken for behavioural issues or even ADHD or depression. Most kids diagnosed with this disorder develop better skills as they grow old. He may still need a speech-language pathologist to develop speaking and hearing skills.
5. Mixed receptive and expressive disorder
A mixed receptive and expressive disorder is now called a Language Disorder. As the name suggests, this is a learning disability where children have difficulty processing or understanding what is said to them. Such kids might also be unable to completely express their thoughts and feelings in words.
You may not consider it as a major issue, but it can have an impact on a child’s social skills. So watch out for the following symptoms:
- Your child cannot understand others or what they are talking about. In other words, his receptive abilities are poor.
- He is unable to share his feelings, thoughts and ideas in words (expressing ability is poor).
- His studies suffer because academics is all about verbal mediation.
- He is unable to read, comprehend math problems, or write proper sentences at school.
You might notice that symptoms of this learning disability are quite similar to that of autism, ADHD, dyscalculia, and even social communication disorder. However, this especially hinders a child’s academic achievement.
When trying to analyse learning disabilities it’s crucial for parents to be patient and comprehensively understand his strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes some children are not very good at being social but they express themselves through art.
On the other hand those who might come across as ‘slow’ in say mathematics, might be good at another subject. The key here is to keep a close watch on your child’s abilities and help him grow accordingly.
In a day and age where scores and grades hold utmost importance, it’s crucial to not focus on that. With your continued encouragement and support, your child can overcome any obstacle, even learning disabilities.