Learning Disability - Symptoms and Signs

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What were some of the signs or symptoms of your child's learning disability?

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What are the signs of a learning disability?

There is no one sign that shows a person has a learning disability. Experts look for a noticeable difference between how well a child does in school and how well he or she could do, given his or her intelligence or ability. There are also certain clues that may mean a child has a learning disability. We've listed a few below. Most relate to elementary school tasks, because learning disabilities tend to be identified in elementary school. A child probably won't show all of these signs, or even most of them. However, if a child shows a number of these problems, then parents and the teacher should consider the possibility that the child has a learning disability.

When a child has a learning disability, he or she:

  • may have trouble learning the alphabet, rhyming words, or connecting letters to their sounds;
  • may make many mistakes when reading aloud, and repeat and pause often;
  • may not understand what he or she reads;
  • may have real trouble with spelling;
  • may have very messy handwriting or hold a pencil awkwardly;
  • may struggle to express ideas in writing;
  • may learn language late and have a limited vocabulary;
  • may have trouble remembering the sounds that letters make or hearing slight differences between words;
  • may have trouble understanding jokes, comic strips, and sarcasm;
  • may have trouble following directions;
  • may mispronounce words or use a wrong word that sounds similar;
  • may have trouble organizing what he or she wants to say or not be able to think of the word he or she needs for writing or conversation;
  • may not follow the social rules of conversation, such as taking turns, and may stand too close to the listener;
  • may confuse math symbols and misread numbers;
  • may not be able to retell a story in order (what happened first, second, third); or
  • may not know where to begin a task or how to go on from there.

If a child has unexpected problems learning to read, write, listen, speak, or do math, then teachers and parents may want to investigate more. The same is true if the child is struggling to do any one of these skills. The child may need to be evaluated to see if he or she has a learning disability.

Return to Learning Disabilities

See what others are saying

Comment from: anonymous, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 16

My daughter had difficulty with her speech when she first started to talk. Then in school, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't say words properly or remember them in a sentence. She couldn't sound them out. This was 34 years ago. She is now 40. I took her to a specialized center in Torrance, CA that gave her a battery of tests and determined she had aphasia. She went into special education but never really progressed past second or third grade reading level. It seems in all those years nothing has been done about this problem. They believe it was due to a difficult birth experience.

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Comment from: Linjrv, 3-6 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 15

I have trouble understanding what my 5 year old is saying. The child does not focus well when teacher or parent is teaching or reading, but the child does well with puzzles and Legos.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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