Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Catching learning disabilities at a young age is key to academic success

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — By the time her son, Luis, was 2 years old, Wendy Ramos realized he wasn’t hitting important speech milestones and enrolled him in speech therapy.

“Luis wasn’t talking, but he understood what I was saying and he was great at art and puzzles,” the Great Kills mom explained. “As he got older, he wasn’t recognizing letters or rhymes or nursery songs. He was frustrated, because he wasn’t progressing.”


Luis was diagnosed with dyslexia, a verbal learning disability (LD) that’s caused by a neurological impairment in an area of the brain that helps decode language.

According to Dr. Greg Liptak of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children with LDs oftentimes are very intelligent but struggle with a specific task.

Liptak, who’s on the board of the Council on Children with Disabilities, explained there are two types of LDs: verbal, in which reading and writing skills are affected, and non-verbal, in which the child has difficulties with coordination and/or reading body language.

While signs of LD often vary, some red flags the AAP states parents need to look out for include: delayed language, short attention spans and coordination issues.

Liptak also lists poor balance, poor movement and low muscle tone as warning signs.


As children with LDs get older, they may have trouble writing clearly, conveying their thoughts in speech or writing, reading and sounding out words, understanding directions, staying organized and concentrating or remembering facts and information.

Liptak said denial from parents, especially those with successful careers, and misdiagnosing LD as laziness are two common problems.

He stresses that parents who suspect their kid has a problem to get him or her checked immediately. They also may inquire with the school district about psychoeducational testing.

Mrs. Ramos agreed the earlier parents get their child tested the better.

“Statistically, parents wait a year before getting their children help with their learning disabilities. This is a year of help they [the children] could have been receiving,” she said.


If an LD is diagnosed, there are two types of treatment: remediation, which involves repeated practice and accommodating for the child’s specific needs, such as having him listen to tapes if he’s struggling with reading, or using a keyboard, if writing proves to be a problem. Phonics practice also can be useful.

Liptak also stressed that youngsters with LDs need to stay on top of school work throughout the summer.

“Children with LDs lose their skills when not in use, so it’s important to keep kids reading and writing and doing activities they enjoy, like going to museums,” he said.

Mrs. Ramos said it’s important parents concentrate on their child’s strengths.

“Too much emphasis is often placed on what learning disabled children cannot do, leaving them feeling defeated and overwhelmed,” she explained, adding, “Our dyslexic children are our artists, creators, engineers, builders, actors, entrepreneurs, our out-of-the box thinkers. Parents should encourage that.”

Article retrieved from: http://www.silive.com/relationships/index.ssf/2011/08/catching_learning_disabilities_at_a_young_age_is_key_to_academic_success.html?utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=LDOnLine.org

Image retrieved from: http://img.webmd.com/dtmcms/live/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/articles/health_tools/baby_milestones_2_slideshow/getty_rf_photo_of_toddler_scribbling.jpg


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More