Identifying Learning Disabilities Early

By Dr. Raymond Huntington

There is so much to watch for when you are a parent of a young child. You want to make sure your child is developing early reading skills, early math skills and a good attitude about school. But what do you do when your child struggles in school from a young age?  

If you know that your child is experiencing learning difficulties, it’s important to not ignore the signs. Here are a few things to watch for when your child is young that could be signs of learning disabilities or other learning issues 

Issues with reading and writing – For many children, reading and writing challenges start early and continue to be a problem throughout elementary school. If your child has a hard time remembering basic spelling rules, forming written letters or writing coherently, or reading aloud or fluently, there could be one or more issues at hand. Pay attention to their reading comprehension as well. Are they understanding what they read? Your child could be missing skill gaps or dealing with something more complex like dyslexia.  

Struggling with simple math – Math difficulties tend to worsen with time because math as a subject becomes progressively harder. If your child has trouble reading or counting numbers, mastering simple math facts, or understanding simple visual representations of numbers (e.g., that five dots represent the numeral 5), dig deeper. Knowing the fundamentals is essential for middle school and high school math, where the subject gets much more complex.  

Poor short-term or long-term memory – There are lots of reasons that a good memory is helpful for students. It helps them store and recall information when they need it. It helps them remember directions long enough to complete multi-step work (like math problems). A weak working memory and problems with focus are symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Your child’s school can help you identify issues like this, and Huntington Learning Center can also help with a personalized tutoring program designed to address your child’s specific needs.  

Difficulty with directions – If your child struggles to comprehend written directions or the teacher shares that they often misunderstand or do not seem to hear verbal directions, you might need to evaluate their work habits more closely. Sometimes ADHD is the culprit, while other times it could be a processing disorder or a visual issue.  

Weak study, organizational and time management skills – Many students have to cultivate these skills over time, but if your child misplaces or forgets about homework frequently, procrastinates during every homework session and ignores essential details during homework time, don’t wait to deal with these problems. This lack of executive functioning skills will become even more problematic as your child grows older.  

School becomes more challenging with each grade, and the expectations of your child increase. Your child must be able to focus, pay attention, manage their own time, stay organized and learn effectively. If your child struggles with these things and their grades are suffering, Huntington can help. We work with children of all ages and abilities. Whether your child is dealing with a learning disability or simply needs individualized tutoring to close learning gaps and build skills, we can get to the root of the issue. We’ll work one-on-one with your child to help them become a more successful student. Call Huntington at 1-800 CAN LEARN today to learn what we can do for your child’s self-esteem and confidence!