Important Tips to Identify the Learning Disabilities in Kids

7 Important tips to know about Learning Disabilities in Children

Right from birth, children keep learning many things on a daily basis. Some kids are quick learners, and some are slow learners. Every child is unique, and he will learn things in his own way. Some kids learn to speak faster, whereas others learn it a little slower rate. As a parent, we constantly compare our kids with their peers and worry about the child’s progress. Even if the parents are not worrying, the extended family and well-meaning neighbors keep a tab on our children and keep putting pressure on us. So, we need to understand the basic premise of learning disabilities in children before we can brand our own child or someone else’s child as a slow learner.

What are Learning Disabilities?

Learning disability is a term used to describe the neurological differences in which the brain receives, processes, and sends information. How the brain processes information results in a slow development of various mental capabilities like reading, writing, understanding math concepts, or at times talking.

7 Tips to identify the Learning Disabilities in Kids

But in some kids, the above-mentioned problems can be handled with little extra care by introducing different activities which spark their curiosity. In a few other children, they might result in the learning disorders like hyperactivity (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, etc.

Also, please note that all the kids who have difficulties in learning need not have learning disorders. They can be limited to learning disabilities and corrected with sustained support from the elders (parents and teachers).

What causes Learning Disabilities in Children?

Research has shown that most learning disabilities are genetic or due to some problem in children’s brain structure. It might be that the chemicals in the brain are not getting supplied to the right place of the brain or might not be getting produced properly. As a result of this only, the child’s brain is not able to receive, send or process the information properly.

Most adult caretakers and teachers are unaware of learning disabilities. So they either brand the child as being plain lazy or as a kid with learning disorders without understanding where the child is struggling or where the child needs the support. Only recently, the term Learning Disabilities started appearing in the Indian Educational system, but teachers are yet to be fully trained on this concept. Until then, we as parents must be vigilant and identify if our child is suffering from any learning disabilities. If yes, we need to discuss it with their teachers and work out a plan to support these kids. Kids with learning disabilities don’t really require the special education which is needed for kids with learning disorders.

Diagnosing a Learning Disability

The following are the signs that indicate that a child is suffering from a learning disability. Also, please note that these are only indicative and can vary from child to child.

He lacks interest in reading and writing

He has trouble focusing on a single task

He works at a slower pace when compared to the other kids

Trouble following directions from an adult

Shies away from making the eye contact

Has trouble memorizing things.

Doesn’t mingle freely with his peers.

The above-mentioned symptoms could be found even in a shy or introverted kid when he goes into a new class or school. That’s another reason why teachers are failing to identify the symptoms of any learning disorder in kids. In fact, with the new knowledge about the child’s mental health, most teachers are jumping the gun in making this diagnosis. (I am not generalizing here about all the teachers here, but this is also happening).

Tips to identify the Learning disabilities in Kids

A shy or introverted child would also be exhibiting some or most of the symptoms above outside his home. But he can be a talkative and happy kid within his home or safe surroundings. That’s why parents must be more vigilant to watch for signs of learning disabilities.

Typically Mostly the, children with learning disabilities suffer in the following three areas:

Reading Skills:

According to a study by the American Association of Pediatrics, around 2-8% of children suffer from reading disability and have dyslexia. But in the same study, they also mentioned that some kids learn reading at a slower rate when compared to others with a little additional help from adults. So, that’s the reason why parents have to observe in which area of the reading the child is having problems. Is it with recognizing the letters and sounds associated with letters, or understanding what they read, or separating the different sounds while reading a single word? Once we pay little careful attention to our child’s reading abilities, then we can clearly understand whether it’s a reading disorder or just a reading disability.

If in doubt, we can consult our pediatrician, who can undertake the necessary testing to identify the real root cause so that we can address it properly.

Writing skills:

Initially, most of kids write badly while starting the writing. But with practice, they will learn good handwriting. The symptoms we need to be watchful to identify the writing disability are Irregular handwriting even after a lot of practice, omission of words or letters in sentences, writing some letters in a reverse way, difficulty in writing on a single line, problems in converting the thoughts into writing, etc.

Mathematical Skills:

The kids who have consistent trouble identifying the numbers (they read 35 as 53), not able to solve even simple addition and subtraction activities using mental math are the ones we need to be watchful of and consult an expert for further guidance. These kids will be unable to understand and solve the word problems, even after teaching them multiple times. They fail to recollect the number sequences or the numeric operations.

Tips to Identify the Learning Disabilities in Kids

When to Seek Help?

As with any other mental ailment, early intervention is always the best cure, even for Learning Disabilities and learning disorders. Children with both learning disabilities and learning disorders will start losing motivation to attend school, as they can very well recognize that they are falling behind their peers in those areas. This drains their confidence levels and causes anxiety and depression in kids.

So, as parents, we need to be vigilant about the learning progress of our kids and get help from experts or professionals at the earliest. They would first conduct a few tests before ascertaining the problem and then suggest the occupational therapist or a special educator. Occupational therapists would be able to work on learning disabilities, but special educators are required for learning disorders. Occupational therapists give the kids a much-needed boost in reading and writing in a fun-filled way. So that they can increase their skills in those areas.

So that way, we can help the child develop coping strategies to overcome their learning disabilities or learning disorders. They will be able to leverage their strengths in the other areas to overcome these problems easily if we can provide timely intervention.

Suhasini, IP, is the Author of the book “Practical Tips for Kids Mental Health.” As a certified kids and parents life coach, she helps/guides you toward a happy family life for your kids. She firmly believes that “Emotionally Happy Kids of today are the Mentally Strong and Happy Citizens of tomorrow.” Let’s make the world a happy and beautiful place for our kids to thrive.


  1. You have quite comprehensively expalined the learning disabilites, much needed content for parents and educators.
    Here from AtoZ

  2. Learning disabilities sometimes get overlooked by parents and some parents do not want to accept that their child has one and try to ignore it. As an educator we were given special training on how to identify kids with learning disabilities and how to deal with the same. Your efforts show in each of your posts
    Deepika Sharma

    1. Yeah Deepika, most of hte parents just dont want to accept about the learning disabilities

  3. My son is 5 and frequently writes mirror images of numbers and switches the tens and ones place. His teacher asked us to make him practice writing numbers every day.

    1. Thanks to that teacher for not making you go to occupational therapist. I heard that even four year olds are recommended to be checked by occupational therapists, as the kid doesnt want to hold a pencil. Yes kids need a lot of practice in writing then only they can stop writing mirror images. That is their first developmental stage of writing.

      1. Thank you for the reassurance! So many opinions nowadays that it’s confusing for parents.

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