Learning Disability is not a specific disability; it is a category containing many specific disabilities, all of which cause learning to be difficult.
Dyslexia is defined as one of specific learning disability. But even this definition I would prefer not to use. I would say that dyslexia should be viewed as a learning preference, rather than a difficulty or disability. If you understand their learning preferences and employ practical strategies to suit them, the dyslexics will be good students. Dyslexic children just need to be explained in detail why some of the words cannot be learnt the way phonologically correct words are to be learnt.
The term 'learning disability' means a disorder in one or more of the basic processes involved in understanding spoken or written language. It may show up as a problem in listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, or spelling or in a person's ability to do mathematics, despite at least average intelligence.
There are a variety of learning disabilities which include :
Auditory Processing Disorder
Sensory integration disorder
Dyspraxia (difficulty with fine motor skills),
I have personally only dealt with dyslexic children and have no knowledge of any of the above learning disabilities.
I had written about Irlen syndrome based on what three friends from face book had written about their children to me. It suddenly dawned on me that many of the symptoms of Irlen syndrome and the above mentioned learning disabilities are similar to the symptoms found in a dyslexic. But a dyslexic does not have many of the other symptoms of the above learning disabilities. For instance “letters moving about” is related to Irlen syndrome and does not affect a dyslexic child. Unless of course if the dyslexic child also has Irlen syndrome.
Many articles written about dyslexia include many symptoms that have nothing to do with dyslexics thus confusing and misleading the public.(Why these institutions,associations and organisations attempt to mislead the public is obvious but we cannot write about those things in blogs can we?)
I have therefore decided to do some research and write on some of the other learning disabilities so that you will not be misled by many of the articles written on dyslexia.
Below is part of an article written by Tara Parker-Pope in the NY Times on auditory processing disorder. Brackets are included by me.
Children with auditory processing disorder are often called “slow.” They can be told to “pay attention,” or “stop being so lazy.” (Same as for dyslexics)
APD is a poorly understood syndrome that interferes with the brain’s ability to recognize and interpret sounds. (This is what is included in many articles on dyslexia and is not applicable. A dyslexic does not have this problem. Think of some of our famous dyslexics like Tom cruise and Whoopi Goldberg. Would they be where they are if they had problems to recognize and interpret sounds?)
Perhaps 2-5 % of children have this disorder, according to Gail D. Chernak, speech and learning sciences expert at Washington State University. And it’s likely that many cases are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
The symptoms include trouble paying attention and following directions, low academic performance, behaviour problems, as well as poor reading and vocabulary. (Same as for dyslexics, however poor reading and vocabulary for a dyslexic is because he has not been taught in his preferential method.)
Children may have challenges retrieving information and also formulating spoken language. Often these symptoms are mistaken for developmental problems, attention problems and even autism.
The normal reaction by the parent is ‘Why don’t you listen?’ They were listening but they weren’t hearing the right thing.
For the complete Times article by Tara Parker-Pope, visit http://tinyurl.com/2eh5dkp.
For a trove of information and a vast number of resources, visit the site of The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/.
I'll look for articles on Autism and other learning disabilities for my next article.
For Lesson 35 click here: