Types of Learning Disabilities
Below you’ll find details about different types of learning disabilities we see here at MindWare Academy. If you feel your child exhibits symptoms or signs you see here, please get in touch. We can help your child thrive.
Dyslexia is defined as an inherited, neurologically-based condition, varying in degrees of severity that makes it extremely difficult to read, write and spell in your native language, despite at least average intelligence. This definition is full of important information that must be looked at piece by piece if we are to understand dyslexia and how it affects both children and adults.
First of all, dyslexia is inherited. It is in fact the most heritable of the reading disabilities, affecting 1 in 5 people. It is carried on up to three chromosomes. The main marker is chromosome #6, but it can also be carried on #2 and #15. Chromosome #6 is the one responsible for phonemic awareness, the number one factor involved in dyslexia.
Dyslexia is neurologically based. You are born dyslexic and will be dyslexic your entire life. Although you can develop coping strategies that help, dyslexia does not go away.
Dyslexia also affects more than reading. Dyslexics have difficulty with many tasks including:
- Language processing difficulties: both receptive and expressive
- Rote memorization
- Time Concepts and Management
- Organization of Physical Space
- Mechanics of Math
- May have ADHD like symptoms
About Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that often leads to challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication. At times, individuals on the Spectrum may have restricted or repetitive behaviors. It is important to note that each individual with ASD is unique and the severity of symptoms will vary from person to person. Autism Spectrum Disorder may impact a person’s ability to navigate the complexities in our society.
While individuals with ASD may exhibit a range of symptoms to different degrees, a common characteristic is a significant impairment in social interaction. Although many children and adults with ASD have average to above average intelligence, some may find it difficult to function well in school, make and maintain friendships, or find stable employment. Individuals on the Spectrum are at a higher risk for developing anxiety, depression, and poor self-esteem, often resulting from bullying and social isolation. Early intervention and support can make a significant and positive difference in both present and later life successes.
Many individuals on the Spectrum may:
- Not pick up on social cues and may lack inborn social skills
- Dislike any changes in routines
- Appear to lack empathy or struggle to understand others’ perspectives
- Be unable to recognize subtle differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of others’ speech
- Avoid eye contact or stare at others
- Have unusual facial expressions or postures
- Be preoccupied with only one or few interests, which he or she may be very knowledgeable about
- Talk a lot, usually about a favorite subject (One-sided conversations are common and internal thoughts are often verbalized)
- Have delayed motor development
- Have heightened sensitivity and become over stimulated by loud noises, lights, or strong tastes or textures
- Need support with emotional regulation
About Nonverbal Learning Disabilities
The very name is misleading. Despite the name, these children have superior verbal skills. Their difficulties lie in interpreting nonverbal cues and the subtleties of speech such as facial expression, body language, inferences and sarcasm. On a WISC there will be a marked discrepancy between the verbal score and the performance score.
Children with a nonverbal learning disability often struggle with writing and note taking, social skills, some aspects of math such as geometry and pattern replication, poor coordination, difficulties with fine motor skills and difficulty adjusting to new situations and making transitions.
Unlike language-based learning disabilities that can be detected in the early years, most children with NLD are not diagnosed until Grade 3 or later. Another difference is that NLD gets worse with age, as more of our language because nonverbal and there is more emphasis placed on social skills.
Social difficulties consistent with NLD:
- Difficulty making and keeping friends.
- Inappropriate social behaviours that are seen as “weird”.
- Unsuitable conversation.
- Lack of understanding of personal space, boundary and privacy issues.
- Difficulty maintaining social conversation.
- Fixation on certain topics or interests that are not “normal” for their age.
- Often humour is lost on them as they interpret language literally.
- Sarcasm and threats are lost on them.
- Difficulty seeing someone else’s perspective which is often seen as a lack of empathy.
- Naively trusting of others.
- Does not embrace the concept of dishonesty.
- Has trouble recognizing lying and deception in other children.
Sees everything in black and white – true and false.
Needs a strict routine and has difficulty with change
About Gifted L.D.
Many children at our school have a dual diagnosis of gifted L.D. They are extremely bright but have deficits in other areas. Our small class sizes and experienced teachers allow us to individualize the program so that this group is challenged in the areas they excel at but feel supported in areas where they struggle.
It is not enough to just feed the passion, we must close the gap. Likewise, we cannot be so focused on the deficit that this group becomes bored and begins to hate learning. Also, it is important to know that gifted kids do not need more work – they need different work. They need enrichment activities that allow them to explore their interests, not more questions for homework!.