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How to Recognize a Learning Disability

The earlier you recognize a learning disability, the sooner you can help your child to cope. Follow these steps to identify how your child might be struggling.


  • Step 1: Note delayed development Notice delays in milestones. A long wait for your child's first words or first steps can indicate a problem.
  • Step 2: Document patterns Document patterns of inattentiveness, carelessness, and slow responses. Avoiding mental challenges may be symptomatic of a larger problem.
  • Step 3: Note problems with instructions Watch for problems following instructions. A learning-disabled child will have trouble remembering spoken or written instructions and retaining skills and facts.
  • TIP: Some psychotropic drugs may improve attention and focus, and limit hyperactivity; consult your pediatrician.
  • Step 4: Watch for impaired memory and processing Notice if your child misreads information or transposes number, letter, or story sequences.
  • Step 5: Be aware of physical problems Watch to see if your child has poor balance, has trouble running and jumping, or struggles with handling small objects.
  • Step 6: Notice temper and behavior Don't ignore your child's temper. Some learning-disabled children are prone to behavioral problems.
  • TIP: Encourage your child to interact socially, and reinforce their strengths.
  • Step 7: Keep abreast with help Be aware of changing symptoms as your child progresses through school. Talk to your doctor, who can refer you to a specialist.
  • FACT: Up to 10 ten percent of U.S. children under age 18 have some type of learning disability.

You Will Need

  • A record of your child's behavior patterns
  • Professional advice
  • Psychotropic drugs (optional)

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