- Nowadays, an escalating population of students suffering from a learning disability is extremely high.
- ADHD, memory and processing deficits, and dyslexia are some of the most common learning disorders students are facing today.
- When detected earlier in life, a student dealing with a learning disability can be given the tools they need to succeed in school, limiting the stress they face as they get older.
- Success is possible for someone with a learning disability; it is all about managing your disability and working through challenges.
- If your child has a learning disability, do your best to support them and work with their educators to help them succeed in school.
In this fast-paced world we live in today, things are constantly evolving—technology, fashion trends, social habits, and one of the most important aspects of life, education. The way today’s children are educated is exceptionally different than the way their parents and grandparents were educated. Not only is technology vital, but the presence of learning disorders is apparent in today’s school-aged children.
Now, is it that the same information wasn’t known before and children have always been struggling with learning disorders? Or, does our society today have such an added level of chaos creating an unfocused culture filled with processed foods and other toxins that can be contributing to the added cases of learning disorders in the US?
Insight from a Teacher with Direct Experience
Emily Morrison, an English teacher of 19 years, has nearly two decades of experience with children in the classroom. She has seen, firsthand, how learning disorders have affected children in school. “Over the last decade or so, I’ve noticed an escalating population of students who have significant learning differences. Namely: ADHD, processing deficits (visual and auditory), working and short-term memory deficits, and dyslexia. Even more than these disabilities, I’ve noticed a dramatic increase of students with anxiety, depression, and mood disorder. Though these disorders significantly impact students’ ability to learn, they are classified as medical conditions and students are given 504 plans versus individualized education plans to help accommodate their learning needs.” Here’s more on three widespread learning disabilities identified by Morrison:
1. ADHD. Morrison says this is the most pervasive learning disability she sees. “Students with ADHD often lack focus, impulse control, or the ability to stay still for long. Conversely, students with ADD can stay still for long periods of time and maintain control of their impulses, but they still struggle to pay attention.”
2. Processing. She also sees many students struggle with processing disabilities. “Some students cannot follow verbal instructions because they lack the ability to comprehend and retain what they hear. Other students need almost all materials read aloud or have audio copies provided for them,” she explains.
3. Memory. Another common learning disability has to do with memory. “In an age of instant information, more and more students seem to have fleeting retention of information. Though I suspect the roots to this disorder go back to early childhood development, the bottom line is the same: students cannot hold onto information in their brain long enough to synthesize its meaning (working memory deficit). On the flip side of this coin is short-term memory: students can understand/process information but cannot retain it for long periods of time.”
4. Dyslexia. Finally, dyslexia is also common, but not as common as those that precede it in this list. Morrison says this might be due to a lack of diagnosis. “Dyslexia is an easy learning disorder to miss. Early on, teachers may notice kids having difficult reading, spelling, or pronouncing words correctly but they can mistakenly attribute these behaviors to poor reading skills or laziness if a student is particularly unwilling to read aloud or perhaps has developed other distracting behaviors to divert attention away from their significant learning difference.”
Early Detection Is Key to Moving Forward
Learning disorders can be debilitating to children suffering with them. The sooner these children get the assistance they need, the sooner they can move forward, and the stress of symptoms associated with learning disorder lessens.
Success for a child dealing with a learning disorder is possible. It’s all about managing your disorder by learning and developing tools and receiving extra assistance. If you feel like your child is struggling with a learning disability, support them and work with their teachers to help them manage their disability and succeed in school.