Language Based Learning Disabilities


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People with language based learning disabilities have problems with reading, spelling or writing appropriate to their age. This disorder is not related to how intelligent the person is. The majority of people who have learning disabilities possess average to above average intelligence.

Signs & symptoms of language based learning disability

‘Dyslexia’ is used in connection with the particular learning problem of reading. But the term ‘language based learning disabilities’ or just ‘learning disabilities’ is considered better because of the connection between the spoken and the written language. A lot of children who have reading problems also have problems with spoken language.

A child who has dyslexia has difficulties with written words (or printed words), and since dyslexia is a part of a bigger language learning disability, he/she has problems with both spoken and written words. Such problems may be seen in difficulties with:

# Expressing his ideas clearly, as though the words were on the tip of his tongue, but they don’t come out. He may speak vaguely, using “stuff” or “thing” to replace the words he can’t remember. He uses filler words such as “um” while trying to remember a word.

# learning new vocabulary that he sees or hears

# following directions or understanding questions

# recalling numbers in a sequence such as addresses or telephone numbers

# retaining or understanding a story’s plot or classroom lectures

# learning the words of songs or rhymes

# learning the alphabet, letters and numbers, telling the time, spelling etc etc

How is language based learning disability diagnosed?

An SLP, or speech-language pathologist evaluates the children who have been identified by their parents and teachers as having difficulty. Their spoken language (speaking and listening skills), and written language (reading and writing skills) are evaluated.

What are the treatments available for this disability?

To treat a child with reading problems, the specific aspects of his problem with writing or reading are targeted. For instance, if the child can read the words but cannot understand the details, his comprehension is worked on. If a small child finds it difficult to distinguish the sounds making up words, his treatment focuses on activities to help him develop skills in this area - tapping out the syllables, rhyming etc.

Personalized programs are always connected to the child’s school work. The materials used in his treatment are related to those used in his classes such as textbooks meant for reading activities. To be able to really help him, the SLP may sit with the child with language based learning disabilities in his classroom and work with him.


Types of Learning Disabilities