Understanding Learning Disabilities – Part I

Is your child struggling at school? Does he or she fear reading out loud, recite a poem, writing a paper or attempting a math problem? Does he / she frequently want to take breaks while studying? Every kid has trouble with homework from time to time, but if a certain area of learning is consistently challenging, it might indicate a Learning Disorder (LD). Mental Health Professional, Kashmira Kakalia is a qualified and highly-experienced Special Education Teacher and a certified Audiblox trainer who works with students, adults, families and communities, employing ‘Narrative Therapy’. Parsi Times presents a three-part series on ‘Understanding Learning Disabilities’ with Kashmira, with the aim of promoting students with LD on a social, emotional, intellectual and physical development level, towards a self-sufficient future.

By understanding Specific Learning Disabilities, you can ensure your child gets the right help to overcome classroom challenges and succeed in life.

So What Is Learning Disability?

The term Learning Disability is used to describe a specific group of children, adolescents and adults who have problems in learning. LD is found across all ages and in all socio-economic classes. Specific Learning Disabilities, or learning disorders, are an umbrella term for a wide variety of learning problems. A learning disability is not a problem with intelligence or motivation. Children with learning disabilities aren’t lazy or unintelligent. In fact, most are just as smart as or smarter than others. Their brains are simply wired differently. The most common types of learning disabilities involve problems with reading, writing, spelling, math, reasoning, listening, and speaking.

LD is a condition where, in spite having intelligence that ranges from average to above average, the child, despite his best efforts, fails to develop adequate learning skills. The issue lies in psychological processes of learning such as attention, perception, memory and language development. Deficits in any one or more of these processes are manifested as difficulties in learning to develop reading skills, writing skills, mathematical ability, listening skills, speaking skills, motor abilities as well as social emotional behavior.

Learning disabilities look very different from one child to another. One child may struggle with reading and spelling, while another loves reading but can’t understand math. Yet another child may have difficulty understanding what others are saying. The problems are very different, but they are all learning disorders.

It’s not always easy to identify learning disabilities. Because of the wide disparities, there is no single symptom that you can look to as a problem. However, some warning signs are more common than others.

Signs And Symptoms:

  • Difficulty pronouncing words
  • Difficulty in finding the right word
  • Difficulty in rhyming
  • Difficulty in learning the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes, days of the week, months of the year
  • Difficulty following directions or learning sequences  or following instructions
  • Difficulty controlling crayons, pencils, and scissors, or colouring within the lines
  • Concern with buttons, zippers, learning to tie shoe laces
  • Difficulty in connecting letters and sounds
  • Unable to blend sounds to make words
  • Confuses basic words when reading
  • Slow to learn new skills
  • Consistently misspells words and makes frequent errors
  • Difficulty in learning basic math concepts
  • Difficulty telling time and remembering sequences
  • Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills
  • Dislikes reading and writing; avoids reading aloud
  • Poor handwriting
  • Poor organizational skills
  • Unable to sustain attention in classroom discussions and express thoughts aloud
  • Spells the same word differently
  • Confuses between left and right or before and after
  • Uses reversals, rotations, addition or omission of letters or words or numbers
  • May be awkward or clumsy
  • Is inconsistent in behavior and work


Early detection of a learning disability and symptoms that are identified early can be easier to correct.

You know your child better than anyone else does, so if you think there is a problem, Seek help.


(To Be Continued In Parsi Times Next Issue…)

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