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Learning disabilities are real, but do we know enough about them?

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Before parents and families write off learning disabilities as laziness, disinterest or clumsiness among kids, they must rule out the presence of any form of learning disability. To be able to do that, they need to equip themselves with better knowledge and information

 

Think learning disabilities and the first thing that comes to the mind, at least for most of us in India, is Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par. The film about a young boy who suffered because of his inability to keep up with lessons at school triggered a much-needed discussion on learning disability (LD).

At that time, there was not much awareness about the issue. However, even now, there is a lot of confusion among parents and families dealing with children or young adults with special needs.

“Only if you are armed with the right amount of knowledge and information can you handle it (learning disability) optimally for everyone involved,” says Ketki Agarwal, co-founder and trustee of LENS Foundation and alumna of St Xavier’s College in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad.

The foundation has launched a website that, it claims, is India’s first comprehensive resource website on learning disabilities and mental health wellness among children and young adults.

The website, LDExplained, provides information on various learning disabilities, mental health wellness and management and covers coping and improvement strategies as well as ways to remain updated about latest research and methodologies developed nationally and globally.

 

There are signs that parents or guardians can look out for which can let them know if the children need experts’ intervention. Some of the learning disabilities include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia.

 

ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder, is defined by impaired levels of attention, disorganisation and/or hyperactivity. While such kids could be spontaneous, hyper-focussed and creative, their attention could be selective. Such children may also be highly impulsive.

 

Dyslexia affects word recognition, spelling and decoding. Dyslexic children exhibit learning gaps, though their intelligence may be average or above average.

 

Dyscalculia, though almost as common as dyslexia, is lesser understood. Affected children are unable to process numerical information or simple mathematical problems.

 

Dyspraxia, also called developmental coordination disorder, affects physical coordination. Affected persons may struggle with controlling their movement and may be perceived as clumsy in movement

 

Dysgraphia impairs fine motor skills needed for writing and affects handwriting, spacing between word, sizing, legibility and spelling. Children with dysgraphia have difficulty executing tasks that involve fine motor skills, including buttoning and cutting with scissors.

 

 

 

 

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