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When Learning is the Problem


[...] it is very important for parents and school personnel to help prepare children with learning disabilities to be successful not only now in school but also later in life. [...] a learning disability need not define who your child is but can be just one of many things that come together to make him a unique and outstanding individual.

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									When Learning is the Problem
                                                                                              By Tracy Anglada
Few children would choose an             •   Gathering information from the      keeping friends, getting along with
afternoon of instruction in the              senses                              siblings and understanding tasks
classroom over an afternoon at           •   Accurately processing that          at home. Because children do not
the playground. While school may             information                         grow out of learning disabilities,
not be a favorite pastime—and all        •   Comparing this information to       these difficulties generally follow
children have difficulty in school           previously held knowledge           them into adulthood.
from time to time—most children          •   Discarding irrelevant informa-
are able to navigate the school              tion                                It may be difficult for these adults
environment with little difficulty.      •   Organizing the information          to get along with coworkers, un-
They travel from grade to grade          •   Storing the information             derstand tasks at work and main-
meeting appropriate milestones.          •   Accessing this information at       tain relationships. Thus it is very
For the most part it seems their             a later time                        important for parents and school
learning comes naturally.                •   Demonstrating by perfor-            personnel to help prepare children
                                             mance that the information          with learning disabilities to be
There are, however, a group of                                                   successful not only now in school
                                             was understood
children for whom school is a                                                    but also later in life. Given the
painful experience. Despite be-          Most of us take this complex pro-       right tools for success these “out
ing of normal or above average           cess for granted. But when one          of the box” learners may turn out
intelligence, they just can’t seem       or more of these processes goes         to be individuals whose different
to grasp certain concepts or dem-        awry, learning is interrupted. This     way of thinking helps them solve
onstrate what they know.                 is, in effect, what happens to peo-     problems and become leaders in
                                         ple with learning disabilities. One     a given field later in life.
In the “old” days of school these
                                         or more of these processes goes
were the children who would have                                                 Types of Learning
                                         off course. This doesn’t mean that
red knuckles from rulers being
slapped—and sometimes broken—
                                         children with learning disabilities     Disabilities
                                         can’t learn but it does mean that       There are many types of learning
over their hands. While this did
                                         they may need to learn in a dif-        disabilities, depending on what
little to change their difficulties in
                                         ferent manner than their peers or       part of the learning process goes
school, it did manage to leave per-
                                         demonstrate their knowledge in a        wrong. An individual can have
manent scars in their self-esteem.
                                         different way.                          one learning disability or a com-
Greater awareness of learning dis-
                                                                                 bination of learning disabilities.
abilities and appropriate interven-      For example, a child with a learn-      In addition, children with learning
tions has changed the way these          ing disability may need a more          disabilities frequently have other
children receive an education and        “hands on” approach to learning         co-morbid conditions such as at-
provides them with a more posi-          experiences. He may need to             tention deficit disorders, sensory
tive school experience.                  demonstrate mastery of a subject        integration dysfunction and mood
                                         through verbal answers versus a         disorders. There are varying de-
What is a Learning                       pencil-and-paper task. It doesn’t       grees of impairment depending on
Disability?                              mean the information wasn’t             the individual.
A learning disability should not         learned or needed to be watered
be confused with a lack of intel-        down. It simply means that the          Children with auditory processing
ligence nor should it be thought         student needs to demonstrate his        disorder have problems process-
of as a roadblock to success. A   
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