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Learning Disabilities

What do Albert Einstein, Leonardo DaVinci, Whoopi Goldberg and Walt Disney all have in common? They are all known or thought to have suffered from various learning disabilities. Watching a child struggle to learn something can be a very frustrating experience. Long ago, children who had learning difficulties might have been labeled retarded or put in special classes where they were taught much below their abilities. In reality, children with learning disabilities are, by definition, of average or above average intelligence. Learning disabilities are categorized as the discrepancy between what a child should be capable of learning based on his/her intelligence level, and the level they are currently achieving at. If the discrepancy is large enough, and it is not due to other physiological or environmental factors, the child most likely has a learning disability.

There are many classifications of learning disabilities. Students might struggle with their visual processing, and not see words or numbers as they actually appear in print. They might have auditory processing issues, and not be able to take in new information simply by listening to a lecture. They might have short-term memory problems or difficulties retrieving already learned information. Whatever their specific difficulty is, the most important thing is that their learning differences are identified and they receive the individualized help they need.

If you think your child or a child youre working with might be struggling with a learning disability, you should talk to their teacher and follow the proper channels to have them tested. Most schools have a system already in place to help identify students with learning disabilities. The good news is that once identified, many strategies exist to help those diagnosed. Special education teachers are trained to work specifically with children with varying learning needs. In public schools, every child identified will receive an Individualized Education Plan, detailing and outlining the type and amount of help s/he will receive. It is of utmost importance to remember that individuals with learning disabilities are often highly intelligent people; Given the proper assistance and tools, they can achieve great and wonderful things!

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