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Think Your Child Might Have A Learning Disability?

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You love your child more than anything, and in your eyes they can do no wrong. It’s your parental instinct to want what’s best for your child, and sometimes that means facing uncomfortable truths, one of which is that your child might have a learning disability. Make no mistake: it is no mark against them as a person, nor is it a mark against you as a parent; it is simply a fact of life, whose causes are both varied and, often, not well known.

A child with a learning disability might be just as smart (and often smarter!) than their peers, but owing to some neurological difference they might have trouble with conventional learning processes, like reading and writing. Thankfully, with care and intervention, children with learning disabilities can go on to be successful both in school and in their lives thereafter. Here are a few facts about learning disabilities, as well as what you can do if you think your child might have a learning disability.

Learning disability

What is a learning disability?

According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada, learning disabilities “refer to a number of disorders which may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information.” Put another way, they are neurological differences (indeed, some prefer to the term “learning difference”) that cause difficulty in learning. Common learning disabilities include Dyslexia (trouble reading), Dyscalculia (trouble comprehending math and arithmetic), Dysgraphia (trouble with written expression) and Dyspraxia (difficulty forming speech).

What are the signs?

If your child has consistent, prolonged difficulty reading; if they struggle with math concepts, even after thorough, repeated explanation; if they have difficulty writing; or they make repeated, often inconsistent errors in speech production, they might have a learning disability. You might have noticed that they have difficulty concentrating, or that their academic performance is inconsistent, which could also be cause for concern. If your child is struggling at school, it could be a sign that there is an underlying learning disability at work, and that you should take them for an assessment.

What are the next steps?

If you suspect your child might have a learning disability, the next step is to access a psycho-educational assessment from a child psychologist. Aside from the value of understanding your child’s strengths and shortcomings better, the benefits of seeing a child psychologist are that they can then offer recommendations to improve learning and address difficulties, as well as offer a helpful diagnosis or identification. There are wonderful health services right here in Ajax that are ready to help, and it’s just a matter of contacting them.

Learning assessment

Though your child might have a learning disability, there is no reason that they shouldn’t get all the same opportunities as others to learn and express themselves. Start here, by understanding learning disabilities better and how to detect them, and then seek the help of a child psychologist, who will assess your child and offer recommendations for learning. You want what’s best for your child, and that means understanding both their strengths and their shortcomings.

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