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    Detecting Learning Disabilities

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    Types of Learning Disabilities continued...

    Auditory Processing Disorder. This is a problem with the way the brain processes the sounds a person takes in. It is not caused by hearing impairment. People with this disorder may have trouble:

    • Learning to read
    • Distinguishing sounds from background noise
    • Following spoken directions
    • Telling the difference between similar-sounding words
    • Remembering things they've heard

    Visual Processing Disorder. Someone with a visual processing disorder has trouble interpreting visual information. He or she may have a hard time with reading or telling the difference between two objects that look similar. People with a visual processing disorder often have trouble with hand-eye coordination.

    Diagnosing a Learning Disability

    Learning disabilities can be hard to diagnose, because there is no definitive list of symptoms that fits every child. Also, many children try to hide the problem. You may not notice anything more obvious than frequent complaints about homework or a child who doesn't want to go to school.

    However, the following may be signs of a learning disorder:

    • Lack of enthusiasm for reading or writing
    • Trouble memorizing things
    • Working at a slow pace
    • Trouble following directions
    • Trouble staying focused on a task
    • Difficulty understanding abstract ideas
    • Lack of attention to detail, or too much attention to detail
    • Poor social skills
    • Disruptiveness

    If you suspect a learning disorder, talk to your child's pediatrician or teacher about having your child evaluated. It may be necessary to see several specialists before you get a definitive diagnosis. These specialists might include a clinical psychologist, a school psychologist, a developmental psychologist, an occupational therapist, or a speech and language therapist, depending on the problems your child is having. They will perform a variety of tests and assessments to get to the bottom of the problem.

    Early Detection of Learning Disabilities

    Knowing the early signs of a possible learning disability can help parents get their child the help he or she needs as soon as possible. That's why it is important to pay attention to your child's developmental milestones. Delays such as late walking or talking or trouble with socialization can be signs of a learning disorder in toddlers and preschoolers.

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