Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Does Your Child Have Learning Disability

Does your child have difficulties in learning? Does your child have trouble processing information and absorbing the same? If your child can not try harder, pay closer attention or improve motivation your child may have a psychiatrist illness termed Learning Disability or Learning Disorder (LD).
The process of diagnosing Learning Disability starts with a psychiatrist. He will test your child. He has to rule out Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism as the problem. If so, and he finds the specific problem is LD then with other mental health professionals he coordinates the treatment as a team. Your child may be treated by an Educational, Psychologist, Developmental Psychologist, Neuro-Psychologist, Psychometrist, Occupational Therapist, a Speech & Language Therapist.
Only after a battery of tests you will get to know your child’s specific weakness.
He may have Motor Difficulties or Dyspraxia or difficulties with movement and coordination.
Math Difficulties or Dyscalculia or struggle with the memorization and organization of numbers, operation signs and number facts. The child may have trouble counting and in telling the time.
Language Difficulties or Dyslexia or having problems with verbal language skills or fluency of speech. The affected child may not understand words, parts of speech, directions etc.
Reading Difficulties and/or problems with Auditory Processing. Difficulty in understanding sounds, letters and words. Reading comprehension problems occur when the child can’t grasp the meaning of words, phrases and paragraphs. There is a definite lag in recognizing and understanding words; reading speed and fluency in general vocabulary skills.
Writing Difficulties or Dysgraphia or problems with neatness, consistency and the accurate copying of letters and words. Spelling consistency isn’t there along with word organization and coherence.
Auditory and Visual processing. The first is a problem in distinguishing subtle differences in sound or in hearing sounds. This affects ability to read, write and spell. Problems in visual perception include misperceiving depth and distance which affect motor skills, reading comprehension and math.
After specifying the type of LD your child has, the psychiatrist will assist you in the treatment. The brain has a lifelong ability to change, to form new connections and to generate new brain cells as a response to experiences and learning. This ability called neuroplasticity facilitates skills like reading, writing that might have been disrupted earlier due to some fault in the normal lines of communication in the brain. Hence the effectiveness of psychiatric treatment here.
You will be assisted in taking charge of your child’s entire learning input be it at home and at school. You may operate alone or hire the services of therapist.
You will be assisted in communicating with the school teachers, clarify your goals, listen to school officials, offer new solutions or ideas of your own, focus on the afflicted child in a calm, collected and positive manner and persist in executing plans that help your child.
You will learn that every LD child has a unique learning style. Your psychiatrist will assist you in finding that style.
Your child may be a Visual Learner who learns by seeing or reading but not verbally, benefits from notes, diagrams, charts, maps and pictures. Such a child likes to draw read, write, can spell and organize.
Auditory Learners learn by listening to lectures, oral reports and tests. Classroom discussions, spoken directions and study groups benefit the child. They tend to excel in music, languages and like being on stage.
Kinesthetic Learners learn by doing and moving. They benefit from hands on activities, laboratory classes, props, skits and field trips. They tend to like sports, drama, dance, martial arts, arts & crafts.
Depending on your LD child’s strengths and weaknesses, the psychiatrist will develop the strengths and make up the weaknesses till normalcy occurs.
Your psychiatrist will help raise your child’s self-awareness and self confidence, encourage him/her to resolve problems and persevere in solving them; set goals, reach the child to ask for help and to handle stress.
In short LD in your child isn’t a disaster, but is fully treatable and the treatment can ensure some success in life for the afflicted one.
- Dr. Rohan Jahagirdar
MD (Psychiatry)
Mobile: 93 724 16 491
Clinic: 020 - 3240 5770  

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