Characteristics Of Learning Disabilities

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Characteristics of learning disabilities have different forms and they are lifelong. Students who have some kind of learning disability have problems in language, math, information processing or difficulty in other academic areas.

Each student is unique

Every student has his/her own learning needs, strengths and weaknesses. Each child’s learning potential is influenced by many factors such as intellectual, physical, cultural, social, emotional etc. It is very important to figure out what the students’ strengths are and what learning style suits them. Students with learning disabilities possess cognitive skills that are usually average or above average, but needs teaching modifications or additional strategies suited to their characteristics of learning disabilities.

Deficiency in different areas

While there are many different definitions of learning disabilities, they usually mean that students may show deficiency in the following areas: receptivity to language including reading and listening, deficit in processing language that includes understanding, thinking, comprehension and integration of concepts; deficits in speaking, writing or spelling, or in mathematical computation which is known as discalcula.

Needs in different areas

Children possessing different characteristics of learning disabilities demonstrate their need in areas like: understanding and following directions, performing consistently, comprehending, reading, writing, sequencing and organizing thoughts, following of more than one step directions or instructions, retaining information, appropriate interaction with peers and often struggling with confidence and self-esteem.

Conceptual deficits

Given below are some common characteristics of learning disabilities and conceptual deficits seen in such students:

- Cannot make connections between similar concepts in learning, e.g. cannot connect 3 + 5 = 8 when asked what 5 + 3 equals

- Finds it difficult to compare or classify things or sort items by a specific criteria

- Time concepts such as before, after or last week, tomorrow present difficulties

- Sometimes cannot understand jokes or the ideas in a humorous situation

- Imagination and creativity are often limited

- Slow to respond

- Difficulty in predicting e.g. what can happen next, or inability to answer comprehension related questions

- Difficulty in thinking in a sequential or logical manner

- Difficulty in grasping number concepts

- Usually requires one to one support and a lot of clarification

Behavior components

Children with characteristics of learning disabilities often demonstrate certain behavior patterns in the classroom:

- Often finds it difficult to sit still, and experiences good and bad days

- Sometimes acts impulsive and doesn’t consider the consequence before acting

- Often has a very low frustration level and shows a short fuse

- Often distracted easily so finds it difficult to finish assignments

- Acts fidgety and is often seen tapping feet, fingers, twiddling pencils etc

- The child’s mind often wanders and has a tendency for mood swings

- May sometimes exhibit oppositional or negative behavior

- Sometimes does not follow the rules, shows mood swings, make fun of other children

- Finds it difficult to mind her own business

- Is often disorganized and loses things

- Makes excuses for not reading, saying he/she is tired

- Complains their eyes are hurting

Types of Learning Disabilities