School can be difficult, especially as you get older. Feeling challenged in school is usually nothing to worry about, but if you feel like you are struggling more often than not, there may be something more going on. A learning disability can affect your ability to do well, but with the right support in place, you won’t just survive in school. You’ll thrive.
What is a Learning Disability?
A learning disability is a type of disorder that affects a person’s ability to learn in conventional ways. This could include difficulties reading or understanding spoken or written language, doing mathematical calculations, controlling body movements, or remaining focused on tasks. A learning disability is due to genetic or neurobiological factors, meaning this is something you are born with. Often, learning disabilities are most noticeable in school settings, but they can also impact a person’s relationships with family or friends.
There are a few different types of learning disabilities, so let’s look at some of the most common ones. Below are key symptoms that might indicate the presence of a disability.
Dyslexia is a language and reading disability that makes it more difficult for a person to read and interpret what they are reading. Often, those who have dyslexia will mix up letters in sentences, which slows down their reading speed and makes texts harder to understand. Dyslexia also makes spelling and memorization more challenging.
Dyscalculia affects a person’s ability to learn and understand numbers and math processes. This could include difficulty learning math facts such as order of operations or memorizing formulas. It can also include difficulty differentiating between numbers and symbols in math.
Dysgraphia causes difficulty with writing and fine motor skills. This often shows up during earlier years when children are learning to write, but if not treated early, it can continue to cause problems throughout teen and adult years. Dysgraphia affects a person’s writing grip (either too tight or too loose), letter spacing, and general handwriting.
Dyspraxia causes problems with motor control and can often result in clumsiness, poor posture or balance, and poor hand-eye coordination. People with dyspraxia also can have a sensitivity to light, noise, touch, or sudden movements. Dyspraxia does not affect a person’s intellect but can impact their ability to learn.
Auditory Processing Disorder
An auditory processing disorder causes difficulty processing or interpreting sounds. Specifically, people with auditory processing disorders have trouble telling where sounds come from or blocking out background noise. This can affect a person’s ability to focus on necessary information in school without getting distracted by other sounds.
Find Help for Learning Disabilities
Having a learning disability can feel overwhelming, and it’s hard to know where to turn. If you’re concerned that you might have one of the conditions listed above, talk to your parents or guardians first. Struggling in school is nothing to be ashamed of, and talking about it is the first step in getting help.
Here are some tips to help start the conversation:
- Prepare specific examples of ways you are struggling in school.
- Ask your parents if you have ever been assessed for a learning disability before.
- Use this blog as a reference for the type of learning disability you think you might have.
- Be open to your parents asking questions and know they want the best for you!
If you and your parents decide a formal assessment is needed, reach out to us at The Forum. We can provide a professional evaluation to help you advocate for the support you need.