|Learning disabilities: Overview||653.000000000000||Learning disabilities: Overview||Learning disabilities: Overview||L||English||Developmental||Preschooler (2-4 years);School age child (5-8 years);Pre-teen (9-12 years);Teen (13-18 years)||NA||NA||Healthy living and prevention||Caregivers
Adult (19+)||NA||2020-03-03T05:00:00Z||12.9000000000000||27.1000000000000||1400.00000000000||Health (A-Z) - Conditions||Health A-Z||<p>A learning disability is when a child with age-appropriate intellectual abilities has significant challenges with reading, writing or math. Learn about learning disabilities, their symptoms, and how they are diagnosed and treated.</p>||<h2>What is a learning disability?</h2><p>All children find school hard sometimes, but learning disabilities are different. Children with learning disabilities have average to above average intellectual abilities, but experience considerable challenges with reading, writing, and/or math. These learning problems affect how they perform in school, and their achievements in these areas fall well below what is expected for children of their age, grade and intellectual abilities.</p><p>Learning disabilities range in severity and may affect a child’s:</p><ul><li>reading (decoding and comprehension)</li><li>written language (spelling and written expression)</li><li>mathematics (computation and application)</li></ul><p>If your child has age-appropriate intellectual abilities, but has difficulty with one or more of these learning-related skills, they may have a learning disability.</p><div class="asset-video">
<iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tALQxNuNip4" frameborder="0"></iframe><br></div><p>For more videos from SickKids experts in collaboration with Youngster, visit <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoKMd2cYwegtZX19uHdNLQA">Youngster on YouTube</a>.</p>||<h2>Types of learning disabilities</h2><p>There are many specific learning disabilities. The most common are reading, writing, and math disabilities.</p><h3>Reading disabilities</h3><p><a href="/Article?contentid=3859&language=English">Reading disabilities</a> may include problems with:</p><ul><li>Phonological processing—the ability to break up words into sounds</li><li>Reading fluency or reading speed</li><li>Reading comprehension</li></ul><h3>Writing disabilities</h3><p><a href="/Article?contentid=3860&language=English">Writing disabilities</a> may include problems with:</p><ul><li>Composition: generating or organizing ideas</li><li>Spelling</li><li>Grammar</li><li>Handwriting</li></ul><h3>Math disabilities</h3><p><a href="/Article?contentid=3861&language=English">Math disabilities</a> may involve problems with:</p><ul><li>Grouping objects</li><li>Counting objects</li><li>Recognizing number symbols</li><li>Copying numbers</li><li>Using arithmetic signs correctly</li><li>Understanding math terms and operations</li><li>Following sequences of math steps</li><li>Learning multiplication tables</li><li>Decoding written problems into math symbols</li></ul>||<h2>Key points</h2><ul><li>A child with a learning disability has significant challenges with reading, writing, and/or math.</li><li>Learning disabilities are often diagnosed with a psychoeducational assessment. An assessment can be done through your child’s school or privately.</li><li>Children may be supported with accommodations and/or interventions.</li></ul>||<h2>Early warning signs of possible learning disabilities</h2><p>It is important to be aware of the early signs of learning disabilities. Early intervention may allow your child to catch up to their peers. Parents are the key to the early identification of their child’s learning disability.</p><p>Most learning disabilities are identified years after a child has started school, usually by the third grade. However, there are many warning signs that appear before a child enters school. Parents are in the best position to notice these early signs and get their child help.</p><p>Children who have speech and language difficulties before starting school are more likely to experience learning disabilities later in their development. These language difficulties are called communication disorders, which involve problems with different aspects of spoken language. These can include:</p><ul><li>Trouble recognizing and producing speech sounds (poor <a href="/Article?contentid=1896&language=English">phonological awareness</a>)</li><li>A lack of speech fluency, meaning that words do not come effortlessly</li><li>Poor communication skills</li><li>Difficulty understanding others</li></ul><h3>Speech and language difficulties at an early age</h3><p>Signs that your child may be having speech and language difficulties include:</p><ul><li>Few spoken words by two years of age</li><li>Indistinct, garbled speech after three years of age</li><li>Trouble learning words to songs or nursery rhymes</li><li>Difficulty expressing themselves in words after three years of age</li><li>Trouble recalling specific words; saying “thing” a lot</li><li>Using immature forms of grammar longer than expected (e.g., “I goed to the park”)</li><li>Mixing up word order in sentences</li><li>Trouble answering “why” questions, once in school</li><li>Trouble retelling familiar stories, once in school</li></ul><p>Stuttering and speech impediments are problems with speech that may not indicate a language problem or learning disability.</p><h3>Other signs of a learning disability</h3><p>Children who have learning disabilities may also experience behavioural or emotional symptoms. These can include:</p><ul><li>Seeming distracted or expressing boredom when participating in learning activities</li><li>Acting out at school or at home</li><li>Refusing to participate in learning activities or complete homework</li><li>Avoiding school or expressing anxiety/worry over attending school</li><li>Not finishing tests or assignments, or requiring more time to complete them</li><li>Displaying a low self-esteem</li></ul><p>These symptoms by themselves do not indicate a learning disability; but combined with academic challenges, they may warrant further investigation.</p>||<h2>What causes learning disabilities?</h2><p>The exact causes of learning disabilities are not known. However, genetics and environmental factors can increase your child’s risk of developing learning disabilities.</p><p>Learning disabilities are <strong>not</strong> caused by factors such as cultural or language differences, inadequate or inappropriate instruction, socio-economic status or lack of motivation, although these things can have an impact on the challenges that your child experiences.</p><h2>How common are learning disabilities?</h2><p>It is estimated that between 4-6% of Canadians have some form of learning disability.</p>||<h2>Will my child always have a learning disability?</h2><p>Although learning disabilities are life-long, the impact on everyday functioning can be reduced through intervention and support strategies. The severity of challenges varies from child to child. You may notice that your child displays some struggles as early as their pre-school years, or signs of a learning disability may only begin to become evident later in life.</p>||<h2>Diagnosis of learning disabilities</h2><p>Many schools in Canada require a learning disability diagnosis in order for a child to receive targeted supports and accommodations.</p><p>If you suspect your child might have a learning disability, it is important to share your concerns with your child’s teachers. They will be able to observe your child’s learning, and identify available resources and strategies to help improve your child’s skills. If the resources and strategies provided by the school do not help improve your child’s learning, your child might benefit from a formal assessment.</p><div class="asset-video">
<iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZbtV1QKBaFc" frameborder="0"></iframe>
<br></div><p>For more videos from SickKids experts in collaboration with Youngster, visit <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoKMd2cYwegtZX19uHdNLQA">Youngster on YouTube</a>.</p><h3>Psychoeducational assessment</h3><p>To diagnose a learning disability, a child needs to have a psychoeducational assessment completed. The psychologist or psychological associate will first rule out cognitive or physical developmental delays. If the child’s achievement in reading, writing, or math is much lower than expected for their age and education history, and they have age-appropriate intellectual abilities, the child may be diagnosed with a learning disability.</p><p>A psychoeducational assessment may be available through your child’s school, community mental health centres, psychologists in private practice, and sometimes through psychology departments at hospitals.</p>||<h2>Treatment for learning disabilities</h2><p>It is important to act early to support a child’s development. Learning disabilities can be supported with two main approaches—accommodations and interventions.</p><h3>Accommodations</h3><p>Accommodations are changes made in the classroom to help students support their areas of need. Accommodations can be as simple as having someone take notes, or they can be as sophisticated as having text-reading computer software. Accommodations can help some children succeed without direct intervention.</p><h3>Interventions</h3><p>Interventions help students address their areas of need. Interventions teach children specific skills and allow them to become more independent learners.</p><p>There are many programs to help children with learning disabilities. These can be provided through <a href="/Article?contentid=1890&language=English">special education or remediation</a>. Special education is provided within the school system through the classroom, and remediation can be provided within or outside the school through special education teachers or tutors.</p><p>The earlier that intervention is started, the more successful it will be.</p><h3>Individualized Education Plan</h3><p>Once your child has been assessed and has received a diagnosis of a learning disability, their school will often create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to support their learning. An IEP is a document that outlines your child’s strengths and needs, as well as the accommodations and modifications that their school will implement to help them. An IEP will be kept in your child’s school record and will be reviewed and updated each year to make sure that the interventions are addressing their current needs.</p>||<h2>Living with a learning disability</h2><p>A learning disability is not anyone’s fault.</p><p>All children benefit from knowing about their personal learning style and gaining an appreciation for the fact that all people have different areas of strengths.</p><p>Here are some suggestions for how to work with your child at home if they have a learning disability:</p><ul><li>Foster curiosity. Wondering about the world helps keep a child’s love of learning.</li><li>Explore your child’s passions and interests.</li><li>Engage in non-academic skills, such as athletics, hobbies, music, or group activities.</li><li>Model how to cope with challenges.</li></ul>||<h2>Resources</h2><p>Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario<br>
<a href="https://www.ldac-acta.ca/">https://www.ldac-acta.ca/</a></p><p>National Institute for Learning Development<br>
<a href="https://nildcanada.org/">https://nildcanada.org/</a><br></p><p>Boomerang Health</p><p><a href="http://www.boomeranghealth.com/">www.boomeranghealth.com</a><br></p><p>Boomerang Health was opened by SickKids to provide communities in Ontario with greater access to community-based services for children and adolescents. For more information on virtual care services in Ontario to support learning disabilities, visit <a href="http://www.boomeranghealth.com/services/child-psychology/">Boomerang Health</a> powered by SickKids.<br></p>||<h2>References</h2><p>Ontario Psychological Association Guidelines for Diagnosis and Assessment of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Learning Disabilities: Consensus Statement and Supporting Documents (June 2018).
<em>Ontario Psychological Association</em>. Retrieved from <a href="http://www.psych.on.ca/getattachment/37646d71-1469-4731-a3c6-55a458a8238f/OPA-Guidelines-for-Diagnosis-and-Assessment-of-Learning-Disabilities-Sept-7-2018-%281%29-1.pdf">http://www.psych.on.ca/getattachment/37646d71-1469-4731-a3c6-55a458a8238f/OPA-Guidelines-for-Diagnosis-and-Assessment-of-Learning-Disabilities-Sept-7-2018-(1)-1.pdf</a>.</p><p>Official Definition of Learning Disabilities. <em>Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario</em>. Retrieved from <a href="http://www.ldao.ca/introduction-to-ldsadhd/what-are-lds/official-definition-of-lds/">http://www.ldao.ca/introduction-to-ldsadhd/what-are-lds/official-definition-of-lds/</a>.</p><p>Learning Disabilities Statistics. <em>Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario</em>. Retrieved from <a href="http://www.ldao.ca/introduction-to-ldsadhd/articles/about-lds/learning-disabilities-statistics/">http://www.ldao.ca/introduction-to-ldsadhd/articles/about-lds/learning-disabilities-statistics/</a>.</p><p>“Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Learning Disabilities in Children (2015). <em>Canadian Psychological Association</em>. Retrieved from <a href="https://cpa.ca/docs/File/Publications/FactSheets/PsychologyWorksFactSheet_LearningDisabilitiesInChildren.pdf">https://cpa.ca/docs/File/Publications/FactSheets/PsychologyWorksFactSheet_LearningDisabilitiesInChildren.pdf</a>.</p>||<img alt="" src="https://assets.aboutkidshealth.ca/AKHAssets/learning_disabilities_introduction.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />||https://assets.aboutkidshealth.ca/AKHAssets/Learning_disabilities-Overview.jpg||Learning disabilities: Overview||False|