10 Common Traits of Kids with Learning Disabilities

Find out what issues kids with learning disabilities may face.

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1. Literacy Issues

80 - 90% of all children with learning disabilities have reading problems. Children with severe reading disabilities have trouble reading single words, deficits matching sounds with letters (phonological awareness), and difficulty quickly naming what they see (rapid naming speed). Children who have trouble reading quickly and accurately also have difficulty comprehending what they read.

2. Dyslexia

Dyslexia is one of the most common kinds of reading disabilities. Students with dyslexia have difficulty spelling, recognizing words, and decoding words with accuracy and fluency. People with dyslexia view print differently than others. They need to work harder than most people to read successfully.

3. Written-Language Deficits

Most students with learning disabilities have trouble with spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation. Some students have a specific disability with written language. These students have difficulty planning what they write, and they often write what immediately comes to mind. They often do not organize ideas or edit their writing.

4. Math Underachievement

Calculation and number reasoning can be difficult across the grades for most children with learning difficulties. They often have trouble retrieving math facts and solving word problems. Sometimes they have difficulty conceptually understanding what numbers represent.

5. Memory Problems

Students with learning disabilities can have difficulty with long-term memory, remembering information like math facts. They can also have trouble with short-term memory, recalling information recently read or heard. Short-term memory problems contribute to learning disabilities in reading, mathematics, and writing.

6. Weak Metacognitive Skills

Metacognition is how people think about their thinking. People with learning disabilities can have trouble monitoring their thought processes and being aware of how they are learning. This can cause difficulties in academics.

7. Poor Social Skills

Many students with learning difficulties easily get along with teachers and peers. Other students have poor social skills and may struggle to interpret emotions and nonverbal expressions. In many situations social ease and peer acceptance is not caused by the disability, but is rather created by parents, teachers, and peers.

8. Attention and Hyperactivity

Students with learning difficulties often have trouble sustaining attention for significant periods of time. Having difficulty focusing on tasks, such as homework or classroom instruction, can pose an obstacle to student learning. Students display hyperactivity when they have trouble staying seated and move around a lot. Children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) consistently display a variety of these behaviors.

9. Behavioral Problems

When students have difficulty learning, they often act out in class. Students with learning difficulties are more likely to have behavior and discipline issues. Behaviors can result from feel frustrated with school.

10. Low Academic Achievement Despite Adequate Intelligence

The main trait of students with learning disabilities is having significant deficits in academic performance despite having an adequate intelligence. Learning disabilities are not temporary. They stay with children throughout their lives. Equipping children with tools to effectively learn early on is essential.

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