Common Learning Difficulties
Autism can also provide significant advantages. People with ASC often fixate on specific topics. As a result, they can focus on single issues easily and often become expert. Bill Gates and Albert Einstein are just two examples of famous people with ASC. The below websites can provide more information:
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that can cause above-normal levels of hyperactive and impulsive behaviours. People with ADHD may also have trouble focusing their attention on a single task or sitting still for long periods of time. ADD is similar although differs from ADHD in that people with ADD appear inattentive as opposed to hyperactive.
One in ten children between ages 5 to 17 years receives an ADHD diagnosis, making this one of the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorders in the United States. Medication can be very helpful for students with ADHD. Medications are designed to affect brain chemicals in a way that enables the person to better control their impulses and actions.
The word ‘dyslexia’ comes from the Greek and means ‘difficulty with words’. It is a lifelong, usually genetic, inherited condition and affects around 10% of the population - 4% severely. It is the most common of the Specific Learning Disabilities.
A student with dyslexia may mix up letters within words and words within sentences while reading. They may also have difficulty with spelling: letter reversals are common. However Dyslexia is not only about literacy. Dyslexia affects the way information is processed and working memory. Working memory is the memory that enables us to hold information as we are using it. It is common for people with dyslexia to have difficulty with working memory.
Dyslexic people are often highly intelligent. They may be creative, artistic, sporting, orally articulate and highly knowledgeable. However, alongside these abilities, may be a cluster of difficulties, individual to each person. The following may apply to a person with dyslexia:
Has a poor standard of written work compared with oral ability
Has poor handwriting with badly formed letters
Has neat handwriting, but writes very slowly indeed
Produces badly set out or messily written work, with spellings crossed out several time
Spells the same word differently in one piece of work
Has difficulty with punctuation and/or grammar
Confuses upper and lower case letters
Writes a great deal but ‘loses the thread’
Writes very little, but to the point
Difficulty with organisation of homework
Finds tasks difficult to complete work on time
Appears to know more than can be committed to paper.
Finds difficulty remembering tables and/or basic number sets
Finds sequencing problematic
Confuses signs such as x for +
Can think at a high level in maths, but needs a calculator for simple calculations
Misreads questions that include words
Finds mental arithmetic at speed very difficult
Finds memorising formulae difficult.
May be hesitant and laboured, especially when reading aloud
Omits, repeats or adds extra words
Reads at a reasonable rate, but has a low level of comprehension
Fails to recognise familiar words
Misses a line or repeats the same line twice
Loses their place, or uses a finger or marker to keep the place
Has difficulty in pin-pointing the main idea in a passage
Finds difficulty with dictionaries or directories.
Is disorganised or forgetful e.g. over sports equipment, lessons, homework, appointments
Is immature and/or clumsy
Has difficulty relating to others: is unable to ‘read’ body language
Is often in the wrong place at the wrong time
Is excessively tired, due to the amount of concentration and effort required.
Confuses direction – left/right
Has difficulty in learning foreign languages
Has indeterminate hand preference
Has difficulty in finding the name for an object
Has clear processing problems at speed
Misunderstands complicated questions
Finds holding a list of instructions in memory difficult, although can perform all tasks when told individually.
Dyspraxia is also know as developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD). It is a common disorder that affects movement and co-ordination. It does not affect intelligence but can make it more difficult to learn. It can also make daily life more difficult and affect coordination, skills requiring balance as well as fine motor skills, such as writing or tying laces.
There is no cure for dyspraxia but a number of therapies can help children to manage their difficulties. These include:
being taught ways of do activities they find difficult, such as breaking down difficult movements into smaller parts and practicing them regularly
adapting tasks to make them easier, such as using special grips on pens and pencils so they are easier to hold.
Although the physical co-ordination of a child with dyspraxia will probably remain below average, it often becomes less of a problem as they get older. However, difficulties in school, particularly producing written work, can become much more prominent and require extra help from parents and teachers.
There are 2 main types of hearing impairment:
There are 2 main types of hearing impairment:
Conductive: This is the most common type and occurs when sound cannot pass through the outer and middle ear to the cochlea and auditory nerve in the inner ear. This is often caused by fluid building up in the middle ear (also known as ‘glue ear’). Glue ear can cause temporary deafness and either clears up naturally after a short period of time or can develop into a long-term condition requiring intervention, such as grommets, or wearing hearing aids.
Sensori-Neural: As sound passes through the outer and middle ear, tiny hair cells in the cochlea convert sound waves into electrical signals. These signals travel along the nerve of hearing to the brain. Most cases of sensori-neural deafness are caused by loss of, or damage to the hair cells in the cochlea, so the cochlea does not process the sound effectively. The deafness can be genetic or caused by an infectious disease such as rubella, mumps, measles or meningitis and is permanent.
‘Mixed deafness’ is when a child has a mixture of conductive and sensori-neural deafness.
Degrees of deafness
There are different degrees of deafness and these are classified as mild, moderate, severe or profound. Some children have little or no hearing in one ear, and ordinary levels of hearing in the other ear. This is known as unilateral deafness. Deafness does not always fit into a particular category. A child may have a moderate to severe hearing loss, therefore features of both levels need to be considered.
inflamed, weepy, cloudy or bloodshot eyes
squints and eyes that do not seem to be aligned and working together
rapid involuntary eye movements
continually blinking, rubbing or screwing up of eyes
discomfort in bright light
frequent headaches or dizziness
difficulty in copying from the board
poor presentation skills
confusion between similarly shaped letters words.