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As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

How to Determine if Your Child May Have Difficulty Learning

Children who have different learning styles require programs
which take into account these differences. Schools need to
develop curricula for children who develop at different rates.
There are some late blooming children who, if not allowed to
develop at their own pace, may begin to think of themselves as
unintelligent and become discouraged with learning. They may
even be given a label of learning disabled.

Children categorized as learning disabled generally show a
discrepancy between expected and actual achievement in one or
more areas such as spoken or written language, mathematics and
spatial orientation. This discrepancy usually is not the result
of sensory, motor, intellectual or emotional handicap and is not
supposed to be caused by a lack of opportunity to learn.

The child may have had the opportunity to learn but he may
not have had a program geared to his learning style. Some
children require the identification of an appropriate teaching
strategy and possibly individualized instruction in order to
master the curriculum.

Parents need to be aware of this in order to monitor their
child’s progress and program at school.

The following is a list of behavioral traits complied by Dr.
Robert J. Schoonover, that parents can observe which would alert
them to the possibility that their child might have difficulty
with the school curriculum:

l. Difficulty with concepts of time and space.

These children cannot tell where one place is in relation to
another. They have no sense of time and learning to tell time is
difficult for them.

2. Poor sense of rhythm.

These children cannot learn poems or nursery rhymes because they
have no sense of rhythm. They cannot reproduce a series of
rhythmic taps.

3. Poor awareness of their own bodies.

These children have a poor body image. They may not know the
difference between right and left on their bodies and tend to
avoid activities that require skilled movement.

4. Poor ability to combine movement and vision.

They cannot follow moving targets and cannot judge distance or
direction by vision alone. They cannot catch or bat a ball.

5. Visual inefficiency.

Even with perfect vision some children do not notice things and
may not use their eyes to look at things at a distance.

6. Poor listening ability.

Some children can attend only to short sentences.They miss most
of what is said because they process information so slowly.
Others confuse words that sound alike. There are children who
cannot function when there is competing background noise.

7. Poor generalization.

Some children cannot generalize from their experiences. A child
who cannot see what corn, beans and potatoes have in common cannot generalize to the word “food.”

8. Problems in attention.

Children must be able to focus or fix their attention on a task
to succeed in school. Some children are very distractible and
cannot screen out extraneous stimuli. There are other children who focus on unimportant details and disregard the essentials.

It is important for parents to understand their child’s
learning style not only to monitor the school’s program but also
to supplement it at home. There are many good books on this
subject which are available through your librarian I encourage you to use them.

Posted in Behavior, Educational Reform, Labeling, Parenting | Leave a comment

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