Specific Learning Disabilities

Failure at school is a problem that negatively affects children’s mental health and family relationships. Reasons for school failure and learning problems include mental retardation, visual-hearing disabilities, serious mental problems, socio-cultural deficiencies, neurological-orthopedic disabilities, family conflicts, lack of motivation, problems arising from school-teacher or education program. A special case that is outside of the learning problems that arise due to these reasons is “Learning Disorder”.

It is used for children who have a normal or above-normal level of Learning Disability intelligence but cannot acquire the academic skills expected of them. These individuals perform lower than expected. Learning Disability includes children who do not have any sensory, neurological, physical, mental or cultural disability, and who have difficulties in one or all areas of reading, writing, mathematics, self-expression and orientation in space.

Learning Disorder is a general term. It is a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning and mathematical abilities. These disorders are thought to be related to the nature of the individual and to be related to the central nervous system dysfunction. In addition, it has been expressed by many researchers that self-management, social perception and social interaction problems can also be seen. It is known that this problem can be seen at any age.

Many classifications of Learning Disorders have been made. These include impairments in academic skills; It is classified as Developmental Arithmetic Disorder, Developmental Written Expression Disorder, and Developmental Reading Disorder.

Developmental Arithmetic Disorders (Dyscalculia); It is the definition used for individuals who have difficulties in learning mathematical terms and concepts, transforming written problems into mathematical symbols, recognizing numbers and symbols, arranging mathematical operations, and learning the multiplication table.

Developmental Written Expression Disorders (Dysgraphia); It is the definition used for individuals who show features such as mixing letters, spelling mistakes, grammatical and punctuation errors, weakness in composition, writing missing or excess letters, dividing words in the wrong place, writing the letters in the word too spacing or too adjacent.

Developmental Reading Disorder (Dyslexia); It is the definition that expresses individuals who have difficulty in reading skipping, distorting meaning, changing places, mixing letters, not being able to remember the rules about the use of sounds, and having difficulty in understanding what they read.

Children with Learning Disabilities may show the following features in different numbers and in different intensities:

  • Having normal or above-normal intelligence levels,

  • Some have high activity levels (hyperactive), while others are very slow (hypoactive),

  • Short attention span, difficulty concentrating,

  • Hand-eye coordination, the presence of difficulties in coordinating the body,

  • Difficulties in visual discrimination, shape-ground discrimination, distance-depth perception,

  • Difficulties in auditory discrimination, weakness in auditory memory,

  • Existence of difficulties in discrimination by touch,

  • Insufficient self-expression, difficulty in learning grammar rules,

  • Difficulty organizing time and space

  • Difficulties in finding direction, orienting in space, distinguishing left and right,

  • Having difficulty in learning the concept of time,

  • Cross lateralization (right hand-left eye or left hand-right eye),

  • Insufficient working habits,

  • Various emotional-social behavior problems,

  • Defects in academic skills.

In order to diagnose Learning Disorder, the child’s developmental characteristics, intelligence level, audio-visual perception, behaviors, reading-writing-mathematics skills are evaluated with psychopedagogical evaluation. Interviews are made with parents, children, school-teacher, observations are made and various tests are applied. In the light of the information obtained from these, it is decided whether there is a learning disability, in which area and to what extent.

Individuals with this diagnosis can learn through special education programs based on the information obtained as a result of the evaluations and therapy with a psychopedagogical approach. In the therapy of a child with a learning disability; If multi-faceted sensory-academic therapy, behavioral therapy, and family therapy are required, speech therapy is frequently used techniques.

Early diagnosis is very important for individuals with learning disabilities to catch up with their peers. The ability of the child to show the performance that is expected of him depends on this. Early diagnosis means early intervention. In early intervention; It means getting rid of big problems by making the systems that exist but not working due to only minor problems work thanks to specially prepared programs. For these reasons, if there is any doubt about a learning disorder in a child, a specialist should be consulted as soon as possible.

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