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What Parents Should Know About Learning Disabilities

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2006-09-11 04:36:04     
Argosy University/Dallas

Learning disabilities such as dyslexia affect many children, but many parents often do not understand their causes, recognize the signs, nor know what to do to help their child overcome these challenges.

According to Lance Garrison, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Argosy University/Dallas, a learning disability is a neurological disorder, which is characterized by difficulty with certain skills such as reading, writing, mathematics, and auditory or visual processing. Learning disorders frequently affect the ability to interpret what is seen and heard and as a result have a negative impact on the skills children are able to demonstrate in the classroom.

"Learning disabilities are quite common and account for a large percentage of children who receive special education services in the public school system," explains Dr. Garrison. "By far, the most common learning disabilities are those having to do with reading, with as much as 80% of all learning disabilities being reading-related."

Learning difficulties are typically present early in life depending on their causes. Signs of a future learning disability can sometimes be seen in children not progressing properly through their developmental milestones.

"When it comes to identifying learning disabilities, many times parents will say that they sense something has been wrong from early in the child's development. It is important to take action," says Dr. Garrison. "A significant proportion of parents who notice their child exhibiting signs of difficulty with learning wait a year or more before acknowledging their child might have a serious problem."

There are early warning signs that can help parents know if their children have a learning disability. When children are younger, parents should observe whether or not they are progressing through the developmental milestones as expected. Are they crawling, grasping, walking, using speech to communicate, understanding and responding to attempts to communicate with them, and engaging others socially?

"In school, a few specific signs which might indicate the presence of a learning disability include: trouble learning numbers, alphabet or days of the week; identifying colors and shapes; difficulty following directions or routines; making consistent reading and spelling errors such as letter reversals; and avoiding or disliking reading aloud," explains Dr. Garrison.

What should parents do to help a child overcome or cope with learning disabilities? "The number one thing a parent can do is to be involved in their academic life," advises Dr. Garrison. "If and when they notice signs of a learning difficulty they should seek consultation with the child's school teacher, school psychologist and pediatrician."

Once it appears clear that a child is experiencing a significant learning difficulty which not responsive to tutoring or a little extra attention, parents should seek out a comprehensive learning disability assessment from a child psychologist. This will help identify the child's unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses from which a plan of intervention can be developed.

Argosy University/Dallas is one of 18 Argosy University locations in twelve states. Argosy University offers doctoral and master's degree programs in psychology, business, counseling, and education. Argosy University also offers bachelor's degree completion programs in psychology and business, and associate's degree programs in various health sciences fields. Argosy University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association (NCA) (30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602,

Specialized in: Argosy University - Doctoral Degree
URL: http://www.argosyu.edu
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