*This post originally appeared on The PediaBlog on October 28, 2020.
LDs — Did You Know? (1)
Did you know?
• Learning and attention issues are more common than most people think. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), up to 20% of American schoolchildren (1 in 5 students) face brain-based obstacles that prevent them from learning effectively and efficiently in school.
• Learning and attention issues are brain-based problems affecting reading, writing, math, organization, focus, listening comprehension, social skills, motor skills, or a combination of these.
• Learning and attention issues are NOT the result of low intelligence, poor vision or hearing, or lack of access to quality instruction.
• Risk factors for the presence of learning disabilities include genetics, environmental toxin exposure (we’ve extensively covered the effect of lead on developing brains here), and adverse childhood experiences such as child abuse and neglect.
• Children diagnosed with learning disabilities face a number of barriers for success in school and in life if they are not adequately addressed with early and effective interventions. Students will LD are more than twice as likely to be suspended and face disciplinary actions by the school, resulting in the loss of instructional time and increasing the risk of failing grades. School drop-out rates are three times higher in students with specific learning disabilities, which can reduce lifelong employment opportunities and financial well-being. In fact, compared with adults who do not have LDs, adults with these issues are twice as likely to be jobless.
• Common examples of learning disabilities include:
· Dyslexia: More than 80% of adults with children have heard of dyslexia, which is a language-based disability in which reading and understanding written words is difficult. Dyslexia is the most commonly diagnosed learning disability, affecting between 5% and 17% of school-age children. Contrary to popular myth, the American Academy of Pediatrics explains that “children who have dyslexia are not unusually prone to seeing letters or words backwards. Rather, they have significant difficulty in naming the letters, often calling a “b” a “d” or reading “saw” as “was.” The problem is linguistic, not visual.”
· Dyscalculia: Only 11% of parents have heard of this mathematical disability that makes it difficult to grasp math concepts and solve arithmetic problems. 5-7% of children and adults struggle with this problem.
· Dysgraphia: 13% of parents have heard of this writing disability affecting fine motor coordination, making it hard to form letters and write within a defined space.
· Dyspraxia: Difficulty with movement — fine motor skills, gross motor skills, motor planning, and coordination — characterizes this learning disability that affects 5-6% of school-age children. This condition is also known as developmental coordination disorder.
· Auditory Processing Disorder: This non-verbal learning disability describes when a child has difficulty understanding language despite normal hearing and vision. This can affect attention and executive function (organizational skills).
· ADHD: Most parents have heard of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which occurs in 5-11% of all school-age children. About half of children diagnosed with ADHD also have another specific learning disability that makes learning in school even more difficult.
October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month for a reason: LDs are very common and yet they are not well-understood by the general public. Tomorrow we’ll debunk a few myths about LDs and find out ways to help students and families achieve success in school and in life.
Read more about learning disabilities on The PediaBlog here.