Do you see your child struggling with school work or struggle when it comes to reading things aloud or writing essay or even solving a math problem? Every child faces some level of problem with homework from time to time, this is okay. However things might not be as easy as they appear, if it is a consistent problem with your child. If your child consistently faces problems in certain area of learning, it might be an indication of a learning disorder.
Often you will find children struggling with learning disorders spending all of their time in their study room and often no matter how hard they try, they find difficulty in remembering things and their grades usually remain average or less than average.
Understanding learning disorders will help you ensure your child gets every kind of support needed to overcome learning challenges.
Learning disability affects the way person learns new things. This is not just applicable to things related to school, but every area of their life. It affects the way they learn and communicate. According to an estimate there are around 1.5 million people in UK suffering from learning disability. These people find it difficult to understand new or complex information and often find it difficult to learn new skills or find it challenging to cope independently.
Learning disability is an umbrella term applied to wide variety of learning problems. It is not a problem related to intelligence or motivation. Kids suffering from learning disability are not dumb or lazy. Many times they can be of average to above average intelligence. It’s just that their brain is wired differently and this affects the way they receive and process information. In other words children or adults with learning disability process information differently.
Examples of people with learning disability
- Albert Einstein could not read until he was nine. He always seemed oblivious to his surroundings (you can get some idea looking at his hair).
- Nelson Rockefeller, Vice President of Walt Disney, had trouble reading all his life.
- Whoopi Goldberg and Charles Schwab had learning disability which could not stop them from achieving ultimate success.
- Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group has ADHD
Some of the most influential people of their time were those affected with learning disorders. In fact many consider learning disabilities more of an advantage than disadvantage.
Learning disabilities affect how a person understands, remembers and responds to new information. They often face problems in:
- Listening and paying attention
- Reading and writing
- Doing math
Types of learning disorders
"Learning disability" is a common term. Here are some more specific types of learning disabilities.
It’s a specific kind of learning disability that affects reading and language based processing skills. The severity may vary from person to person and may affect reading fluency, reading comprehension, decoding, writing, ability to recall and spelling. Sometimes they may also find difficulty in speech. Dyslexia is referred as language based disorder.
This learning disability affects the person’s ability to understand numbers and learn math facts. Children and adults suffering from Dyscalculia have poor comprehension of math symbols and struggle memorizing and organizing numbers. They may also find difficulty telling time or counting.
This disability impacts the person’s handwriting ability and fine motor skills. They may not be able to write legibly and may have trouble with consistent spacing, and poor spatial planning on paper. They can also have poor spelling and find it difficult to compose writing or think and write at the same time.
Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders
Is a sensory disability whereby person finds it difficult to understand language despite having normal hearing and vision.
Nonverbal Learning Disabilities
This disability is caused by a neurological disorder and originates in the right hemisphere of the brain. It impacts visual spatial, organizational, evaluative, intuitive and holistic processing functions.
Nutritional supplements and diet
A healthy diet is important for anyone but especially for children and adults with learning disorders.
Foods to avoid in the diet:
- Junk food
- Foods full of preservatives and dyes
- Sugars and refined carbohydrates
- Processed foods
- Any possible allergens
Foods to incorporate into the diet:
- Eggs - high in protein and contain all the essential Amino Acids
- Chicken - high in protein and rich in Niacin which is essential for brain health
- Berries - high in antioxidants and can satisfy a sweet tooth without adding refined sugar
- Broccoli - helps in the memory retaining process and contains essential nutrients such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, magnesium and calcium
Nutritional supplements can play an important roll in overcoming learning disorders making life and learning much easier. Some important supplements to consider are the following:
- Omega-3 is critical as it supports brain development and neurological health.
- Passionflower can help to calm hyperactivity.
- Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng increase blood flow to the brain, boost neurotransmitter levels and boost glucose metabolism in the brain.
- Gotu Kola reduces anxiety levels, increases brain function and enhances memory.
- Skullcap helps restlessness and agitation and helps to reduce insomnia.
People with learning disabilities are more likely to be either under weight or overweight. People with multiple learning disabilities are mostly underweight because of poor feeding and swallowing. While on the other hand some may be overweight because they may not be getting the support needed to help them make smart lifestyle choices. The best way to help people with learning disabilities is to help them understand information and support and encourage them to make healthy choices. Here are some steps you can take.
Involve them in shopping process – Ask the child to help you draw a shopping list of foods and drinks. Help them know what is healthy and what is not so that they can eventually decide for themselves.
Cook at home – Cook food for your children at home to ensure healthy food sources.
Between meals – Encourage your child to make smart food choices when buying snacks, for example swapping biscuits for fruits.
Physical exercise – exercise is the best way to maintain a healthy weight. Take your child out for activities they are interested in.