Early Signs of a Learning Disability or Learning Disorder

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my name is Andrea Heavener and I'm a

pediatric neuropsychologist at the Mayo

Clinic Children's Center I'm going to be

talking with you today about academic

concerns and children which sometimes

might be characterized as a learning

disability or learning disorder most

children at some point in their

schooling will have challenges in their

education and in fact this is really the

way we want it to be because we want

kids to be sufficiently challenged

otherwise we're setting the bar too low

for their development but there are also

a subset of children who really struggle

throughout their education at a

different level than their peers and

these are kids who are putting in good

efforts and who have good educational

support at home but who just struggle to

master concepts and to learn new things

and these are the children that we might

characterize as having a learning

disability or a learning disorder

parents are sometimes very dismayed when

their children have learning problems

because we often relate academic

achievement to potential career

opportunities and life success so it can

be troubling when you see your child

struggling fortunately there are lots of

things that we can do to help and we do

live in a day and age where there is

lots of good treatment available if we

can get these children identified early

and get them the help that they need and

often this helps to avoid years of

struggle in school as they move through

toward graduation so parents will often

ask what are the early signs of a


ability and how my I know that my child

would be one who would go on to struggle

to learn so these signs can be difficult

to spot because having just one or two

of them is probably not meaningful or it

can be a sign of some condition other

than a learning disabilities so it's

important to take a measured and

cautious approach when you're thinking

about your young child and how his or

her development is progressing but the

things that we often see associated with

later learning disabilities are things

like delayed speech and language

development so kids who talk later and

even after they do develop language

their sentence structure and the length

of utterances what we call it is much

shorter than other children they also

might have difficulty in they're fine

and gross motor skill development

sometimes children will have trouble

with following directions or just

understanding basic kind of learning

concepts vocabulary that they might have

heard many times just doesn't seem to

stick a little bit older when we're

looking at kids who are preschoolers

these children might have difficulty

remembering the names of letters and

numbers and they also might have

difficulty with doing like early

literacy skills like rhyming well those

are some of the things that we see but

again it really would be a combination

of those skills that would signal the

possible presence of a learning

disability rather than just one or two

of those characters