Learning disability has been a growing problem in children, not because there is a higher incidence, but because of earlier and much more elaborate diagnosis. Earlier diagnosis and interventions can help child obtain the level of education tailored to its needs and capabilities.
Learning disability cannot be equated to mental retardation. It means that despite the child having an average IQ, he or she is unable to learn at the expected rate, compared to the children of his/her age.
Learning disability can be of various categories such as writing, reading, listening skills, mathematics, or spelling etc. Any one of these or more can be affected and they will all be termed as learning disabilities and not mental retardation. Due to the learning component involved, usually they should not be diagnosed until school age, and even then the first couple of grades are not enough to diagnose a child having a disability issue.
Usually teachers recommend the children to repeat the grade if they find them slow in math or reading, and sometimes that’s all the child needs, as he/she may need time in maturing. If the child doesn’t improve in a specific time period, the teacher may recommend a professional child psychologist. Only he is licensed to officially diagnose the child.
There are several signs that may indicate a learning disability. Child may have a problem with attention span. He may get frustrated easily. He may stare in the space with no specific reason or have problems learning new words. These symptoms may point to a learning issue, but it cannot be diagnosed by a teacher or a parent.
Based on the diagnosis, it can be decided whether the child needs to be in a mainstream school or a special education school program. Special education schools help in aiding the child to work on his learning disability and acquire education at a comfortable pace. If possible, the child may join back the mainstream schools if he/she is able to cope up with the learning disability.