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Learning Difficulties: How do you Know?

Dec 23, 2014
 
 

How do you know if you or someone you love has a learning difficulty? What are some of the causes of learning disabilities? What are some of the symptoms? The following stories, causes, and symptoms may surprise you.

Sarah reads words accurately, but she cannot comprehend the content. She has difficulty connecting to language she reads or language she hears. Words seem to go in one ear and out the other. People think she is not trying, and she has been labeled with a “motivation” or “attention” problem.

The primary cause of language comprehension problems is difficulty creating an imaged gestalt, or whole, from oral and written language.

rThis is called weak concept imagery. This weakness causes individuals to only process “parts” of information they read or hear, but not the whole. These individuals have difficulty with reading comprehension, critical thinking, and may not easily follow directions or connect to conversations. They may also have a hard time expressing ideas in an organized manner.

Symptoms of weak concept imagery can include difficulty with written and/or oral language comprehension, critical or abstract thinking, problem solving, following directions, expressing language orally and/or in writing, grasping humor, interpreting social situations, and difficulty with cause and effect.

George has learned phonics and can sound out words, but he reads paragraphs very slowly. He often has to sound out the same word multiple times, not remembering it. He makes mistakes such as reading “basket” for “breakfast” and struggles with spelling.

The primary cause of difficulty with reading and spelling is weak symbol imagery – the ability to visualize sounds and letters in words. Many individuals, even those who have well-developed phonetic processing, have difficulty rapidly perceiving sounds in words, and thus are slow to self-correct their reading errors. Their spelling is often phonetically accurate, but they cannot remember the visual patterns of words.

Symptoms of weak symbol imagery include weak word attack skills, weak word recognition skills, difficulty learning and retaining sight words, weak phonological and/or orthographic spelling skills, difficulty reading fluently in context, difficulty monitoring and self-correcting reading and spelling errors, and slow and laborious decoding skills.

Michael is unable to read and spell words to his potential. Despite numerous attempts to teach him, Michael cannot decode written words and has to guess from memory or context clues.

A primary cause of decoding and spelling problems is difficulty in judging sounds within words. This is called weak phonemic awareness. This weakness in phonological processing causes individuals to omit, substitute, and reverse sounds and letters within words. They cannot “get the words off  the page” and cannot judge whether what they say matches what they see.

Symptoms of weak phonemic awareness include difficulty sounding out words, difficulty spelling, and pronunciation errors. Individuals with weak phonemic awareness often struggle to learn letter names and sounds.

The right evaluation is the first step in addressing an individual’s learning difficulty.

Strengths and weaknesses need to be identified through academic and literacy tests, and the results clearly explained. Second, the proper instruction, one that addresses the underlying causes of the individual’s learning needs, should be sought out.

Your doctor or educational specialist is a good place to start. Know the difference between a remediation program- one that addresses the underlying causes of the individual’s learning needs that will help them to reach their potential, and an enrichment program- one that does not take a step back to focus on the underlying causes, but rather increases the amount of information that is learned.

Finally, the right learning environment is key. It should be structured so that an individual is engaged and motivated, regular progress updates should be given, and if applicable, parents should have the opportunity to participate in sessions to reinforce the skills their child is learning, so that they can help them at home.

If your intuition is telling you that something is not “right,” trust your instincts. Seek out a professional who is knowledgeable about the underlying causes and solutions of learning difficulties.

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Educators: Lindamood-Bell for Schools can help you mitigate learning loss and accelerate recovery in MATH. Our unique approach is proven effective with disadvantaged learners and students in special education. Visit our website to learn about workshops and professional development that can help you make a difference. Follow the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
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Lindamood-Bell Academy is an accredited K-12 school where every student can thrive! We develop foundational skills and provide a personalized learning experience—in-person or live online. Enroll now for the 2023-24 school year and receive 50% off a month of tuition. Get details at the link in our bio, @lindamoobellofficial.
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#lindamoodbellacademy  #privateschool #lindamoodbell #covidslide #personalizedlearning #virtuallearning #remotelearning
Imagine what your child could accomplish after a few weeks with Lindamood-Bell—
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Our learning centers are hiring! Learn more about the Clinician(Tutor) role and get started at the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial .
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#job #jobvacancy #nowhiring #hiring #hiringnow
Imagine what your child could accomplish after a few weeks with Lindamood-Bell—
Enroll soon for special savings on Summer Instruction! 
Watch the entire new testimonial and get info at the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
New Podcast Episode!
Many states have passed laws to standardize how schools identify and help students with dyslexia. Lindamood-Bell for Schools Director of Development, Dave Kiyvyra, is joined by Dr. Andrea Stolar, Director of Special Education for Chicopee Public Schools in Massachusetts. They discuss how schools align literacy instruction with dyslexia legislation and the Science of Reading. Listen & subscribe at the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial
Lindamood-Bell Academy is an accredited K-12 school where every student can thrive! We develop foundational skills and provide a personalized learning experience—in-person or live online. Enroll now for the 2023-24 school year and receive 50% off a month of tuition. Get details at the link in our bio, @lindamoobellofficial.
📣 Teachers and Parents, Celebrate International Women's Day and Women's History Month with a free lesson packet from Gander Publishing! Enjoy Visualizing and Verbalizing (V/V) stories and activities designed to develop imagery as a basis for comprehension and critical thinking. Use with V/V or any curriculum. Free download at the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial
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If your child is currently struggling, we can help. Lindamood-Bell summer learning improves reading, comprehension, or math in a matter of weeks. Attend in-person or live online and return to school in the fall with better skills and new confidence. Learn more at our free online event—Sign up now at the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
Looking for a life-changing summer job? Our learning centers are hiring!
Visit our website for details and locations. Follow the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
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