Learning Disability is the major concern of the teachers that I observed during the span of my 26 years of teaching profession as the Principal and teacher of various Schools. Several times I have come across students who found it difficult to cope up with their day to day learning activities such as reading, writing, spelling, reasoning skills, Maths etc. Many teachers walk into my room and say "Mam- Tommy is lethargic, he doesn't finish his assignments nor does he attend to the projects and the class work. Ann is irresponsible and Jim is naughty".
Students are labeled as lazy, idiot, good for nothing when the parent or a teacher doesn't understand that the child has a learning difficulty. Now, what is this Learning Difficulty? This is a condition in a person's biological system which affects the ability in him/ her to store information, to process it and to reproduce the same.
Common learning difficulties are Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia and Attention Deficit Hyperactive disorder. Dyslexia is a language based difficulty where the child has a difficulty with reading, writing and spelling. Generally a child with this difficulty is found to read very slowly and has a lot of trouble with spellings.
Dyscalculia is a difficulty a student has with written concepts like solving problems in Mathematics. The child would score very low (little aptitude to maths) marks in Maths and does not show interest in the subject. It is found that this kind of children find it difficulty to differentiate between the basic symbols (=,-, x, /).
Dysgraphia is a difficulty in writing. Here the student finds it difficult to form letters and to write within the given space. The child's writing could be distorted with several spelling mistakes. Generally these types of children hate and avoid writing tasks. Dysgraphia also is a condition where a person finds difficulty in coordinating their motor movements. Here the difficulty is transmitting messages from the brain to different parts of the body.
A disorder in the behavior is ADHD that is Attention deficit/ Hyperactivity. Here the child finds it difficult to pay attention and is hyperactive and impulsive. These students are easily distracted and find it difficult to remain seated in the class.
It is very important for the School and parents to identify the child and work together. We need to understand that Learning difficulties can be overcome by planning individual programme for the children. A little more care, support and encouragement helps to boost the child's interest towards learning. In the lower classes we need to make learning interesting with activities. Lot of sharing and caring is required through open communication, discussion and teacher-child and parent-child activities.
Let's look at our children from a different perspective when we find them being different and give them our complete support.
Shantha Maria James