We all learn by processing information from our senses, for example, listening, looking & doing. Sometimes our learning abilities are uneven. Our brain may be more efficient at processing what it ‘hears’ compared to what it 'sees' or the other way around. This can make learning more difficult for some children. If you or your child is struggling with learning more information is available.
Learning Abilities Overview
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What is Dyslexia now seen as a Reading disorder
Dyslexia is typically characterised by 'an unusual difference in skills' and varies in degree from person to person. Characteristics typically include clusters of weaknesses and also strengths. Dyslexia is widely recognised as being a specific learning disability of neurological origin.
Dyslexia does not imply low intelligence or poor educational potential and may overlap with dyspraxia/ADHD. This means that it is often misattributed to emotional and/or behavioural disorders. People with dyslexia develop sophisticated compensating strategies masking difficulties.
The neurological basis of Dyslexia
“Dyslexia is a neurologically-based, often familial disorder which interferes with the acquisition of language. Varying in degrees of severity, it is manifested by difficulties in receptive and expressive language, including phonological processing, in reading, writing, spelling, handwriting and sometimes arithmetic. Dyslexia is not the result of lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities, but may occur together with these conditions. Although dyslexia is life-long, individuals with dyslexia frequently respond successfully to timely and appropriate intervention” (Orton Dyslexia Society, 1994).
Dyscalculia now seen as Mathematics Disorder
Dyscalculia is a specific learning difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic, such as difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to maniplulate numbers and learning facts in mathematics
Dysgraphia now seen as a Written Expression disorder
Dysgraphia is difficulty writing coherently.
People with dysgraphia often can write but are slow and/or writing can be illegible with poor organisation and development. They may have a higher than average IQ, but lack co-ordination, and may find other fine motor tasks such as tying shoes difficult.
An unusual pencil grip, poor spelling and poor sequencing; poor drawing and fine motor co-ordination; poor visual processing and perception are often clues to dysgraphia. Often these children are bright with good reading skills.
This makes it hard for teachers to understand why they don't seem to be able to produce the required standard of written work. They are often labelled as lazy or as not trying although, in reality, they are doing their best. Over time this can cause emotional distress to the student.
Non-Verbal Specific Learning Difficulty
Nonverbal Learning Disability is a developmental disorder which too often goes undiagnosed.The term Nonverbal Learning Disorder/Disability is actually quite misleading. Individuals with this disability are highly verbal, with their areas of the deficit being in the nonverbal /perceptual domains.
The student is often bright, sometimes incredibly so. As young children, they may actually be targeted as gifted, due to their mature vocabulary, rote memory skills, and apparent reading ability.
However, parents likely realise early on that something is amiss. As preschoolers, these youngsters probably have difficulty interacting with other children, with acquiring self-help skills, are not physically adept, are not adaptable, and present with a host of other troublesome problems that are of concern, but not alarming.
“Children and youth have outstanding talent /cognitive abilities and perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience, or environment.
Characteristics/Signs of Gifted Children
Often perfectionist and idealistic. Heightened sensitivity to own expectations and others. Often asynchronous/uneven development and both sequential learners & spatial learners with advanced cognitive abilities and ahead of their chronological age mates. They typically think abstractly with complexity and are sometimes quirky with a good sense of humour.
Twice Exceptional (2E)
The combination of marked strengths and weaknesses found in 2e children can result in behaviour and academic performance that puzzle parents, teachers, and even some medical and mental health professionals. Because their disabilities or deficits are often not apparent to those around them, twice-exceptional children may appear to be uninterested, lazy, distracted, frustrated or disruptive in class.
They often develop asynchronously (unevenly), their reasoning abilities are better developed than physical, social and emotional development.
Children can have difficulty with handwriting and can get frustrated when they cannot get the information in their head onto paper quickly (dysgraphia).
The 2e student's strengths help to compensate for deficits; the deficits, on the other hand, make the child's strengths less apparent. The interplay of exceptional strengths and weaknesses results in inconsistency in performance.
Results often alternate between high and low, sometimes within the same subject. Advanced vocabulary and ideas may be evident but the student may be unable to organise those ideas and express them on paper.
They might be a skilled artist but assignments are messy/ illegible. They might complete assignments but lose them or forget to get them in on time.
Children identified as twice exceptional can exhibit a wide range of traits, many of them typical of gifted children. Like those who are gifted, 2e children often show greater asynchrony than average children (that is, a larger gap between their mental age and physical age). They are often intense and highly sensitive to their emotional and physical environments which can impact on social interactions and social skills. They can be perfectionists and this may impact on their everyday life, they may become anxious and worries with 'many meltdowns'.
Dyspraxia (Diagnosed by a Pediatrician or Occupational Therapist)
Dyspraxia is like dyslexia, there are no immediate visible signs to quickly identify dyspraxic children.
I am happy to do an assessment for Specific Learning difficulties following a diagnosis/concerns of Dyspraxia.
Sensory Profiles (See Occupational Therapist for diagnosis)
Following diagnosis I can do an Assessment to determine a Specific Learning Difficulty.
Sensory processing is the ability to organise and interpret the information we receive through our senses. However, the efficiency of our sensory systems varies from person to person. Regulating incoming information can be difficult.
Some children experience sensory challenges, such as having difficulty regulating sensory input, having heightened sensitivity to sensory information (loud noises) and have inconsistent responses to sensory stimulus.
Children experiencing sensory processing difficulties may be disorganised, have delayed motor development or poor co-ordination or may experience variable attention levels, for example, these children are not able to process sensory information as efficiently or automatically as others.
Autistic Spectrum (Diagnosed by paediatrican/child psychiatrist and some psychologists, this is not an area within my scope)
Following an ASD diagnosis an assessment can be completed to determine a Specific Learning Difficulty following discussion with parents.