1. Know the Risks and Contributors to Learning Disabilities
- Family history of learning disabilities;
- Injuries and long-term illnesses affecting neurological development;
- Parental substance abuse;
- Poor prenatal medical care and nutrition;
- Prenatal injury or delivery complications;
- Exposure to environmental toxins such as lead or toxic mold;
- Poverty; and
- Abuse and neglect.
It is important to understand that not all learning disabilities occur because of poor prenatal habits. Fortunately, however, many prenatal risks are preventable.
2. Early Childhood Delays Should be Monitored for Signs of LDs
- Gross Motor - Large muscle movements such as standing, walking, or pulling up;
- Fine Motor - Small muscle movements such as grasping objects, moving fingers and toes;
- Communication - Ability to understand language or to use speech;
- Cognitive Skills - Ability to think and solve problems; and
- Social/Emotional - Ability to interact appropriately with others and show appropriate emotional responses.
3. Signs of Potential Learning Disabilities - When Delays are a Problem
4. Routine Checkups can Detect Learning Disabilities and DelaysYour pediatrician will examine your baby at birth to check vital signs and your child's response to various stimuli. During regular checkups, throughout your child's early development, the doctor will check and monitor your child's physical development, cognitive functioning, vision, speech and language. Keep notes and questions to share your concerns. If there is evidence of a problem, referrals will be made at that time to early intervention specialists for evaluation and treatment if necessary.
5. Signs of Learning Disabilities can be Seen at School
6. Recognize Learning Disabilities as Basic Skills are TaughtChildren continue to develop at different rates in primary school years. By the third year, children should be able to read simple chapter books at grade level, write simple sentences, add, subtract, and begin to multiply. Students may not perform these tasks with complete accuracy. It is normal for some letter reversals and mirror writing to appear in their work. Most students will learn to correct these errors with instruction.
7. Learning Disabilities Show Themselves in a Variety of Ways
- Does not connect letters and sounds;
- Cannot read grade-level text;
- Cannot understand what he reads;
- Cannot understand number concepts;
- Does not understand that numerals represent quantities;
- Cannot form letters or remember which letters stand for which sounds;
- Has difficulty following directions, even with help;
- Has poor memory;
- Has difficulty communicating with peers and adults;
- Cannot repeat information or copy items;
- Has difficulty following lines when cutting; and
- Has difficulty with attention or behavior.