A learning disorder is when a child has trouble learning in certain school subjects. Your child may have problems with reading, math, or writing. His or her skill is below what is expected for the child’s age, grade level, and intelligence. The problem is bad enough to interfere with school or everyday activities.
Experts believe a learning disorder happens because of a problem in the nervous system. The problem may be in the structure of the brain. Or the chemicals in the brain may not work right. As a result, a child with a learning disorder receives, processes, or communicates information in a different way.
Learning disorders may run in families. They may also be linked to:
Each child’s symptoms may vary. Common symptoms are:
Parents or teachers may first spot the signs of a learning disorder in a child. The child may often have trouble with:
A child psychiatrist or other mental health expert can diagnose a learning disorder. He or she will talk with parents and teachers. The child will also need educational and mental health testing.
Public schools have a duty to check children with certain learning problems. And when it is appropriate, these schools must also offer treatment. Check with your school to find out how to request an evaluation. An evaluation identifies whether your child has a learning disorder. It also finds learning strengths and weaknesses. The results help decide on your child’s educational needs and best placement at school.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Parents, teachers, and mental health experts work together to help a child. Treatments may include:
Experts don’t know how to prevent learning disorders in children. But spotting and treating one early can ease symptoms and enhance your child’s normal development. It can also improve your child’s quality of life.
A learning disorder has no cure. But early diagnosis and treatment can make it less severe. It will also improve your child’s learning potential and quality of life.
You play a critical part in your child’s treatment and well-being. Here are things you can do to help your child:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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