Why Is Early Detection of a Learning Disability Important?
The need for early detection of learning disabilities all comes down to potential. Although learning disabilities all occur due to the way the brain is structured or in the way it functions, the problem emerges in different ways and at different ages from one child to the next.
Children who may initially be thought to have lower intelligence than their peers may have normal intelligence, but have a problem learning that prevents them from reaching their potential. Not recognizing the reasons that young children struggle in school will prevent them from getting the help they need to reach their potential, then, and later on.
Learning disabilities do not go away. Instead, they tend to grow more problematic as time is allowed to pass. Getting behind in third grade may not seem like a significant problem. Once they reach fourth grade, and then fifth, the impact of the learning disabilities become more apparent, but the children have already fallen well behind.
By this point, children are feeling a lack of confidence and becoming more frustrated, sometimes resulting in their acting out. On the other hand, when the learning disability is recognized early on, steps can be taken to help the children to obtain the life skills needed for a successful life throughout adulthood.
Sending a child with a learning disability to a school for special needs like John Cardinal O’Connor School can eliminate a number of additional problems from occurring. Children with learning disabilities are often held back because they are unable to meet the academic requirements to pass to the next grade. Behavioral problems can occur, and those who make it to high school are more likely to drop out when they do not receive treatment for their learning disability. The sooner learning disabilities are diagnosed and treated, the more likely children will be able to reach their potentials.
Recognizing the Signs of Learning Disabilities
Although learning disabilities may be detected at all ages, from preschool to high school, it is always best to make the diagnosis as soon as possible. WebMD advises parents to be aware of developmental milestones such as walking or talking. An inability to socialize can also signal a learning disability in children of different ages, as can the signs below:
- Problems sounding out or pronouncing words
- Difficulty pronouncing or learning the meaning of new words
- Problems following instructions
- Failure to respond to questions
- Difficulty explaining what they want
- Problems rhyming
- Lack of balance
- Poor memory
- Impulsive and easily distracted
- Difficulty focusing on a task
- Difficulty learning new concepts
- Becomes frustrated easily
- Easily angered
The signs change somewhat for older children who face more complex and challenging academics. Early placement in schools for children with learning difficulties can help get children on track at an early age so they get the help they need from experienced instructors that understand the specific disability that each child has.
Early diagnosis not only improves the child’s ability to reach their academic potential, but also prevents the development of low self-esteem and behavior problems that further interfere with their ability to learn. Without early diagnosis, the potential to develop the skills they need to have a normal, successful life as an adult can be greatly reduced.