Learning difficulties are common amongst school aged children. Up to 20% may experience some type of learning difficulties whilst at school. Learning difficulties are complex and this can be for many reasons.
Some people believe that these are educational issues, whilst others classify it as a health issue. This makes sense, as both can be true with learning difficulties often being caused by a myriad of overlapping factors, some educational, some health related. The educational aspects of learning are commonly addressed by the teachers, but who is responsible for the other factors?
Developmental Behavioural Paediatricians are in the best position to assess the child in a comprehensive manner to determine the precise cause(s) and advise regarding the specific management plan.
Accurately identifying all the main factors that impair a child’s learning is paramount when choosing the most effective interventions. Is the learning difficulty due to Dyslexia, Specific Learning disorder or is it a by-product of an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Problems may arise with concentration, memory, language skills, listening skills, visual acuity, visual processing, optimal hearing and fine motor skills. The choice of intervention will be determined by the findings in our assessment and testing process. Interventions may then involve tutoring, behavioural strategies, cognitive assessment, speech therapy, using glasses, or medication, just to list a few.
The most efficient approach to learning difficulties therefore is to start with a comprehensive assessment of your child to identify their strengths and weaknesses and consequently the management can be specifically tailored and adjusted to your child’s needs.
Learning difficulties have multiple consequences and poor academic performance is just one of many. Poor self-esteem, loss of motivation, disinterest in learning, and disruptive behaviour at school, impaired peer relationships and mood problems are frequently reported by adults who experienced learning difficulties as a child.
Addressing a learning difficulty in a timely manner will help your child improve their skills, reduce their avoidance and frustration of learning tasks, become more motivated and willing to work towards achieving better academic outcomes.
Children need to discover the mastery and enjoyment of learning, which is the best foundation for our “Lifelong Learners” of the future.