Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Top 5 Signs that Your Child May Have a Learning Difference

Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, ADHD, and many other issues can affect your child's learning from an early age but may go undetected until adulthood. Here are the top 5 signs that your child may have a learning difference:

  1. Avoidance
    If your child claims to hate school or homework, puts off work until the last minute, or flat out refuses to complete tasks, then this can be a sign that a learning issue is involved. Often times children will try to talk their way out of doing work, attempt to distract you with stories or conversations, or even lie about whether or not they have work to do. If your child goes to great lengths to avoid completing academic work, then consider observing their other habits to see why this may be happening. 

  2. Self-criticism or Anxiety
    Even seemingly insignificant tasks can be intimidating to a child with a learning difference. If they sense that they won't be able to focus long enough to finish an assignment, or that they won't be able to remember the directions, then they may begin to voice negative opinions about themselves and become restless or fidgety. Your child may also shy away from games or activities that require speed or critical thinking, even if it seems like something they might enjoy.

  3. Inconsistency
    Do you ever observe your child struggling with homework and think to yourself, “I KNOW you can do this. I've seen you do this before!”? They can't seem to complete a task they've done repeatedly in the past. One day they can add and subtract with ease, and the next day they don't even know where to begin. In the same sitting, they might sound a word out independently but then simply guess when they see the same word later on down the page. These events can be frustrating and puzzling, but they're also a major red flag that there might be a learning issue with your child.

  4. Oppositional Behavior
    Acting out, talking back, and a lack of respect for personal space are all warning signs that your child may be struggling with a learning difference. It can affect their relationship not only with you, but also with teachers and friends. Have you been made aware that your child has recently become disruptive during class or other activities, or seen their behavior negatively impacting their relationships? Think about the context of these events, and if there doesn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary that could be putting stress on your child, then this might be another key warning.

  5. Family History
    Just because you have ADHD does not mean that your child will, but there is still the likelihood—especially if you're seeing the other warning signs! Don't wait to find out if there's something going on. There are plenty of great resources that can get your child help right now, before things spiral out of control socially and academically.

Thanks to Dr. Erika Madison at MindWell Psychology for providing these tips and for training SpiderSmart teachers to identify the initial signs of learning differences in students. If you have concerns about your child's behavior or attention span, call your local SpiderSmart center and get a referral to a trusted child psychologist today!

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