Learning disabilities are determined when your child’s intelligence is greater than he is performing academically. A common presentation is your child having normal or high intelligence, but not performing at his current grade level in reading or math.
A “slow learner” describes a child who does not have a learning disability but learns more slowly than other children in his age group. A common presentation for a slow learner is a child whose intelligence is low average or slightly below average, but not so low as to be considered intellectually disabled. Children who are slow learners can benefit from repetition, tutoring, and help with development of study skills.
Children who have ADHD struggle with attention and impulsivity, and may also have hyperactivity. Some children with ADHD may struggle with attention and focus only, and treatment to improve their attention will result in a better ability to learn. Studies show that half of the children with learning disabilities may have ADHD. Learning disabilities are addressed with assistance in classroom modifications and development of study and coping skills. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is addressed with assessment for medication to improve attention and behavioral therapy to assist with coping techniques. Your child's physician or a child psychiatrist can assist in determining the factors impacting your child and assist in treatment.
Whenever a child has difficulties with communication, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) should be considered. Children with ASD will present with the following symptoms: deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors, and deficits in developing, understanding, and maintaining relationships) and two of four behavioral criteria (i.e., repetitive speech or motor movements, insistence on sameness, restricted interests, or unusual response to sensory input) from the DSM-V. Many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder may also have Specific Learning Disorders.
Whenever your child has academic difficulties it is important to determine the factors that are impacting your child. Once your child’s learning problems are defined, you can work with a treatment team to address them in a way that is helpful.