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Learning disability

Definition


Learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using a language, spoken or written, which may manifest in an imperfect ability to listen, think, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations. (Kirk) The term includes conditions such as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include children who have learning problems, which are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor handicaps or mental retardation, emotional disturbance or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantages.


Characteristics

  • Difficulty in school learning: Usually the parents and the teachers are the first ones to spot something unusual about the child. He cannot cope up with the regular school work.
  • There is a vast difference between the child's oral performance and written work or gap between potential and achievement.
  • They are often clumsy. They have eye-hand coordination problems.
  • They are hyperactive (excessive motor activity), impulsive (choice of very first solution, be it correct or incorrect) and have short attention span.
  • Language problems, immature speech.
  • Cannot follow multiple directions.
  • Has difficulty telling time and telling right from left.
  • Writes poorly.
  • Reverses letters or places them in incorrect sequences. Exampled' for 'b' and 'saw' for 'was'.

Causes

Learning disability is not a result of single causative factor. They are a combination of genetic, neurodevelopmental, environmental and constitutional factors. Various prenatal (before childbirth), perinatal (during childbirth) and postnatal (after childbirth) factors also contribute towards learning disabilities.


Types

There are different kinds of learning disabilities.

  • Dyslexia - Reading disorders.
  • 2. Dysgraphia - Disorders of written expression. Extremely poor hand writing or the inability to perform the motor movements required for handwriting.
  • Dyscalculia - Mathematical disabilities. Difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic, such as difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, and learning facts in mathematics.
  • Dyspraxia- Fine and/or gross motor coordination disorder

  • Treatment Management

    A child with learning disability needs detailed assessment and remediation programme by a trained special educator.
    Remediation is the method of instruction to correct deficits in a child's performance and ways to improve and enhance his learning.
    Since these children have average or above average IQ and are in mainstream schools, classroom teaching modifications are important. A child with dyslexia will find it easier to learn when he reads the text beforehand to know what is going to be taught in class later so that he can prepare a list of difficult words, highlight key points. For Dysgraphia, the child should be made to sit in front row to avoid distractions, to copy easily from the board & also for the teacher to observe how much is the lag. While tackling Dyscalculia, allow the child to use calculator, computer, instruments to draw shapes etc. whereby he can concentrate on understanding the concepts.

    Tips to Parents

    Be patient.Repeat the instructions,make them short and simple. Observe the child in different situations and find out in which mode he leans the best e.g. he may learn best when shown a picture along with text. Make school learning relevant to real life situations. Provide extra time for homework and let him watch his favourite show on T.V. as a reward. When the child shows improvement, computer games can be provided as an incentive which can also improve fine motor movements, directionality and speed on task etc. in a fun way and is enjoyed by the child.

    Certification

    Nowadays the schools, Education Board and the Government have become sensitive towards these SEN (Special Educational Needs) children. Once the child is identified as having learning difficulty either by the parents or by the class teacher, the school recommends the child to a neurologist or a child guidance clinic. Based on their examination, child is further tested by the certifying Govt. Hospital.
    In Mumbai city, the certification is undertaken infollowing hospitals.

    1)Sion Hospital 2) Nair Hospital 3) K.E.M. Hospital.

    The provisions are made based on their assessment, recommendations and the type of learning disability.

    Concessions for students with LD

    For Std.1stto Std. 9thand 11th

  • Oral test along with written test for unit and semester exams.
  • 30 minutes extra for written tests.
  • For Std.10th(Maharashtra State Board/Government)

  • Language Exemption - Students with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, need to study only two languages and one work experience subject in lieu of third language.
  • Lower level Maths - Students with Dyscalculia can study Std. VII Arithmetic (75 marks) and one work experience subject(75 marks) total 150 marks in lieu of Algebra and Geometry.
  • Spelling errors and reverse numerals are exempted during evaluation.
  • Students are exempted from drawing figures, maps and graphs.
  • Students can choose an examination centre near their residence.

  • For Concessions & procedure to apply to different Boards & Universities Log on to Maharashtra Dyslexia Association –

    http://www.mdamumbai.com/exam-provision.php