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Help With Specific Learning Disorder

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Specific learning disorder is a developmental disorder that begins by school-age, although it may not be recognized until later. It involves ongoing problems learning key academic skills, including reading, writing and math.

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

  • Nov 30, 2017
Direct-to-Consumer Advertising Linked to Changes in Medication Use Among People with Serious Mental Illness

People with serious mental illness exposed to direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of medications are more likely to stop taking their medications than those not exposed to the advertising, according to new research published in Psychiatric Services in Advance.

  • Nov 15, 2017
Effective Messages to Fight Stigma

Despite increasing public awareness and discussion about mental illness and substance use disorders, stigma is still a major barrier to many people seeking treatment. New research has identified communication strategies that are effective in reducing stigma and increasing public support for policies and programs benefitting people with behavioral health conditions.

  • Nov 14, 2017
Workers Benefit When Managers Get Mental Health Training

Coping with mental health concerns in the workplace can be challenging for individuals and organizations. More days of work are lost to mental illness than any other chronic health condition, including diabetes, asthma and heart disease. A new study finds that training managers on mental health issues can help.

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Additude: Attention Deficit and Learning Disabilities

My daughter (4th grade) struggles with reading. I am concerned she may have a learning disorder. Her teacher tells me not to worry about it. Where do I go to find out if she has a problem that can be addressed?

Learning disorders are present when a significant difference exists between a student’s intelligence and her academic performance. The best way to determine the presence of a learning disorder is to have your child undergo academic testing. (Also be sure to rule out any problems with vision.) Your school district can arrange for testing but children must meet certain criteria. Some parents seek evaluation by psychologists or other educational specialists in the community. I would suggest that you pursue having academic testing to get a clear answer for your concerns. Read More

After several years of struggling in math, my son has been diagnosed as having a learning disability in math. Now what? What type of special services will help him? How can I help him and be sure he is getting the help he needs at school?

Federal law mandates that students who have learning disabilities receive assistance in the public schools. Special services include extended time for tests and projects, which can benefit a student with a learning disability. Individual time with a teacher to help your son with learning in math is often added in school settings. Some schools will provide before and after school tutoring times as well. As a parent, you can help your son by staying in close communication with his teacher to see how he is making progress. You can check in daily with your son to hear his perceptions as to how he is learning. Many communities have tutoring programs in which your child can have additional learning opportunities during his summer break to strengthen his math skills. Get information about and take advantage of the resources in both your school system and your community to help your child. Read More

As an adult, I think I may have had a learning disability in reading – is there somewhere I can go to get tested (just for my own understanding)? And if so, is there anything I can do at this point to make reading easier for me?

The best way to get a clear understanding of your ability in reading as an adult is to have educational testing. A psychologist or educational diagnostician can provide an assessment and clarify whether you have a learning disability in reading. And yes, there are things you can do to improve your proficiency in reading. Having an understanding of the specific difficulties you may have in reading can assist your evaluator in giving you recommendations of ways in which you can improve your reading skills. Read More

atkisson-expert

About the Expert:

Debra Atkisson, M.D.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Benbrook, Texas

Gina's Story

Gina was 12 years old and finishing 6th grade. Her grades had been straight As in all her classes until 5th grade. Then she began struggling with reading and writing assignments and her grades dropped to Bs. In 6th grade her grades declined further to Cs. Her mother had been working with her at home and had noted that Gina was taking much longer to finish her reading assignments.

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Editor's Choice

JAN 10, 2018

“9 ways parents can empower a child who has learning issues”

Washington Post

As parents embark on the journey to identify and address learning or attention issues, here are nine ways they can support and empower their child. Keep a log and talk to counselors, teachers and other adults in your child’s life to identify patterns. Parents might discover that symptoms change depending on the classroom setup, the skills required in a specific class, the teacher’s behavior management skills or their relationship with the child, says Melanie Auerbach, the director of student support at Sheridan School, a private school in the District.

DEC 29, 2017

5 Lesser-Known Learning Disabilities That Could Be Affecting Your Children

Your Tango

Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability that primarily impacts a person's math ability. Often times a person's nonverbal cognitive skills are weaker than their language. Areas impacted can include math calculations, math problem solving skills, math facts, handling money, and understanding graphs.

DEC 29, 2017

What is it like to read with dyslexia? Website shows reality of condition

Independent

You can never truly understand the struggles of others until you have walked a mile in their shoes – as the saying goes. One website aims to put you in the shoes of someone who suffers from dyslexia, showing how difficult it can be for those with the common learning disability to read and write – and it is an eye-opening experience. Created by a friend of a dyslexia sufferer, the website recreates the effort of reading a paragraph with the condition.