Learning differences are more common than you might think, which also means it’s common for American families to see the need to send one or more of their children to a specialty school designed to assist with learning disabilities.
In the US, about 1 child in every 5 is affected by some learning disability and receives some form of specialized education to help. The first step is to properly and accurately ascertain whether your child has a learning disability and whether he or she is in the correct school to cope with that disability. If your child displays multiple – or all – of these signs, then you may want to explore the option of a specialized boarding school.
1. Lack of Progress in Elementary School
Fortunately, most learning disabilities in children are recognized and accounted for while the child is still in elementary school. It’s beneficial to watch for signs of a learning disability early on in a child’s education because then the child can receive support and coping strategies from early on.
There are many reasons why a child may not progress in school, but a significant stunt in progress in elementary school is a more pronounced problem that’s hard to miss. This is especially noticeable if you believe the child’s lack of progress does not reflect their true intelligence. Pay attention to the child’s participation and interest in school in addition to teacher feedback and grades.
2. Poor Literacy Skills
Poor reading and writing skills are some of the more specific problems that manifest with learning disabilities. This does not mean the child isn’t smart. Poor performance in this area means that the disability prevents the child from completing tasks that come more naturally to others. Here are some specific reading and writing skills to watch out for in children:
- Difficulty reading or understanding what they read
- Trouble learning the alphabet and associating letters with sounds
- Trouble with spelling
- Making many mistakes when reading aloud
- Frequently mispronouncing words
- Slow to learn a language with a limited vocabulary
- Struggling to convey an idea in writing
- Difficulty holding a pencil and having messy handwriting
It’s rare for just one of these things to appear with a child who has a learning disability. Usually, multiple issues will show up. If your child is frustrated with these tasks, boarding schools for learning disabilities can help your child cope with, address, and master these skills.
3. Poor Hand-Eye Coordination
Poor hand-eye coordination doesn’t just occur with holding a pencil, but with many other things. If your child has exceptional difficulty with holding, throwing, or catching a ball, or participating in other common activities for his or her age, this can make school and recess and other interactions difficult and painful, which will in turn lead to decreased interest and participation. Look for signs of hand-eye coordination in a variety of activities.
4. Short Attention Span
While it may be fairly common for children to have a shorter attention span than most adults, a markedly short attention span that affects a child’s educational progress may be a sign of a learning disability such as ADHD. Most children can learn to direct their attention for longer periods of time at school; however, children with ADHD cannot control their attention span. ADHD boarding schools can provide education that helps these children to learn in a non-typical school setting. If your child is consistently restless, impulsive, and distracted, and seems unable to become better with continued practice, you may want to consider that your child has a learning disability.
5. Struggles to Follow Directions
Another sign is that a child struggles to follow directions in various situations. This doesn’t just mean that a child doesn’t want to obey you or a teacher when told to do something they’d rather not do (though that can be a symptom of the problem as well). Following directions means hearing an instruction, understanding it, remembering it, and then being able to perform or act on the instructions accurately. Following direction requires skills of understanding, memory, and coordination. If a child frequently seems lost or confused or unable to complete directions (as opposed to simply unwilling), there may be a learning disability involved.
6. Confusing Numbers, Letters, Symbols, Sounds, and Senses
We briefly already mentioned literacy difficulty with reading and writing; however, there may be much more involved. Difficulty with math may also be a symptom of learning disabilities, especially if the difficulty comes in recognizing numbers and symbols, what they mean, and how to solve basic equations. Some children with learning disabilities also experience difficulty with sensory tasks. This can include holding pencils, being averse to touching certain textures, being able to place and organize items in their space (such as a bedroom or a desk), and being shy of contact with other people.
Remember that learning disabilities can be as unique as each child. You can read about more learning disability symptoms from the LDA or you may even notice struggles that seem completely unique to your child. No matter what your child’s symptoms, if your child is frustrated and under-performing in school, you can always find help. Boarding schools for ADHD and other disabilities are well-equipped to help your child cope. All children deserve to discover their true intelligence and find gratification in learning.