Early Signs Your Child Could Have a Learning Disability

Most children will face some academic challenges over the years, but some will struggle more than others. Have you noticed that your child is having great difficulty keeping up with their peers in school? Out of all the children receiving special education services, more than 35 percent have been diagnosed with a learning disability. It’s possible that your child may fall into this category.

Learning disabilities can take multiple forms, which is why they are often difficult to identify in children. If you suspect that your child isn’t performing up to their full ability despite great effort, they may have a condition hindering their potential. Find out how you can spot the early warning signs of a learning disability.

Difficulty with Reading, Writing, or Arithmetic

This is perhaps the most easily-spotted sign that a child could be struggling with a learning disability. Your child may struggle to learn or identify numbers, letters, or simple sight words. Some children may simply be slower learners or late bloomers. However, if the problem persists and they are consistently behind their peers, it could be a symptom of a larger issue.

Inability to Follow Directions

Does your child struggle to follow directions and you can’t figure out why? It may not be the defiant attitude that you expect. If your child is generally agreeable and cooperative, a learning disability may hinder them from following directions. Commands may need to be simplified to see improvement in this area.

Short Attention Span and Hyperactivity

If your child has difficulty memorizing simple things like songs, it could be because of a learning disability. This is particularly true if your child is also frequently hyperactive and often fails to finish tasks. Children with challenges in this area may demonstrate an inability to organize. When this issue is exaggerated compared to peers, there’s a high likelihood that a learning disability could be at play.

Poor Coordination

A child who develops physical milestones more slowly could also have a learning disability. Children who display this early sign may manifest difficulties in these areas:

  • Dressing, including buttons or zippers
  • Awkward gait when running and jumping
  • Clumsiness
  • Catching and throwing
  • Cutting

Other Signs and Symptoms

While the other early signs of a learning disability may be the most common, parents sometimes begin to notice a pattern of other behaviors. According to the National Institutes of Health, children could have some of these secondary signs of a learning disability:

  • Behavior problems at school or in social situations
  • Difficulty with speech and language
  • Immature manner of speech
  • Difficulty with listening attentively
  • Inability to deal with new things
  • Trouble understanding new words or concepts

Maybe you can see the frustration that’s growing inside of your child, prompting them to act out in class. They may be falling behind their peers socially and emotionally. No matter what symptom brings your child’s struggle to your attention, it could be an indicator of a learning disability.

Be sure to take a closer look at any potential signs of a learning disability. You will need to enlist the help of a professional to perform an official assessment. Once diagnosed, you can move forward with gaining the services and accommodations your child may need to succeed.

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