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Learning Disabilities: How to Identify Children with a Learning Disability

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  • 0:07 Identifying Disabilities
  • 1:29 Behaviors
  • 2:25 Learning Disabilities
  • 2:54 Common Disabilities
  • 4:49 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Valerie Houghton, Ph.D.

Valerie holds a Ph.D. in Health Psychology.

Identifying children with a learning disability can be tricky because it can be confused with a lack of interest in a school subject. In this lesson, we will look at how learning disabilities can be identified and the three most common learning disabilities: dyscalculia, dysgraphia and dyslexia.

Identifying Children with Learning Disabilities

Did you have a favorite subject in school? Did you look forward to going to school, or did you dread going? Some children absolutely love school, and some children just don't enjoy it. How can a parent or a teacher tell the difference between a child who just doesn't like school or a particular subject and a child who has a learning disability?

A teacher and a parent can look at the grades of a child, and if they are failing in an area, that could be an indication that they may have a learning disability in that subject.

Bad grades might be a sign of a learning disability.
Report Card Illustration

However, their failing grade could simply be from a lack of interest in the subject, or they could be developmentally delayed in their learning ability. If they are developmentally delayed, they typically are able to catch up with their peers once they are given additional tutoring in the subject. However, if tutoring doesn't help the child, and the student is consistently struggling in one or more subject areas, the parent or the teacher may request that the child be given a diagnostic achievement test. This test is used to determine a student's strengths and weaknesses. However, the assumption that an achievement test makes is that the student is willing to do their very best on the test. Unfortunately, often, if a student doesn't enjoy school, they will be less than enthusiastic to perform well on an achievement test. If this is the case, it becomes important to look at the behavior of the student.

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