Navigating Learning Difficulties: Understanding, Strategies, and Success
The term "Learning difficulties" can roughly be defined as an issue in the brain causing disturbances in processing information (Good Therapy, 2019). In the long-term explanation, these can be explained as neurological challenges affecting the way the brain receives, processes, stores, and analyzes information, as these effects an individual's ability to develop reading, writing, and math skills (Kid Sense Child Development, 2023). Learning difficulties affect millions of children and teens, and many of them struggle with multiple learning difficulties. Any individual with learning difficulties might not learn as quickly as their peers or might find some aspects of learning hard and challenging.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author, an alumni of ITTT (International TEFL and TESOL Training). They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of ITTT. The content provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as official endorsement or representation by ITTT.
Strategies for Overcoming Learning Difficulties
Learning difficulties signify a person's need for unique learning strategies. An individual can apply methods to manage and deal with a specific challenge using behavioral teachings that are specially adapted to the form of difficulty. Simply having a learning disability does not exclude someone from being successful in school or holding a job that is intellectually challenging.
Exploring the Causes
What could be the most possible cause of learning difficulties in an individual? It is said that, even though it has been researched, it is not yet confirmed what causes learning difficulties. However, researchers are said to highly believe that genetics, the development of the brain, and environmental factors such as toxins and poor nutrition in infancy may have an impact on their development (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2014).
Unveiling Hidden Challenges
A learning difficulty can be termed as a hidden difficulty, as a person challenged by this is of average or above-average intelligence. Even though most individuals with learning difficulties are recognized and discovered in school, some individuals are later discovered in college or in the workplace, and some never get noticed and continue life with hardships.
Types of Learning Difficulties
These difficulties can be verbal and non-verbal. Verbal learning difficulties affect one's ability to read and write. Moreover, in some cases, this might also affect their ability in other aspects of language. While difficulties with nonverbal learning may make it more challenging for a person to comprehend visual information or to understand abstract ideas like fractions. For example, they might be able to read and write but cannot make sense of what they are reading or form a mental picture of the situation they read about. Some learning difficulties also affect the ability to focus or concentrate.
Some of the learning difficulties specified by 'The Learning Disabilities Association of America' are as follows: Dyslexia is a condition that may influence writing, spelling, speaking, recollection, and reading comprehension. While Dyscalculia is a condition that affects someone's capacity to acquire arithmetic facts, comprehend numbers, and develop math abilities. Auditory processing disorder is the difficulty in distinguishing between sounds, interpreting the sequence of sounds, identifying the source of sounds, or distinguishing sounds from background noise.
Language processing disorder is a type of APD that makes it challenging for people to assign meaning to sound clusters to construct words and sentences. Nonverbal processing disorder makes it harder for individuals to read body language and facial expressions. Visual perceptual effects a person's capacity for drawing and copying, hand-eye coordination, and the capacity to follow along with written or verbal instructions.
Challenges and Coping
These learning difficulties are not curable. After being diagnosed with a learning difficulty, one might find it hard to cope with the diagnosis, and so will the family members of the individual. The individual might worry about being bullied and labeled, and the parents would worry if it would affect the child's education.
Even though these difficulties will affect an individual throughout their whole lifetime academically, in the workplace, or in relationships and daily life, with the help of intervention and support, an individual with learning difficulties can achieve a successful life.
For this, there are teachers, mental health professionals, and specialized experts to help an individual identify areas of difficulty and develop learning strategies and plans. And when it is hard, a child might feel stressed, angered, or anxious. In these situations, seeing a therapist and talking about the difficulties they face will help them understand their challenges and coping mechanisms to use in those situations.
There are many other specialized therapists to help with different difficulties. For example, occupational therapy can also help children with difficulty with motor skills.
Embracing Success Despite Challenges
Therefore, as a summary, a learning difficulty can be defined as a difficulty in processing information. Even though they are incurable, if dealt with properly, any individual with learning difficulties will be able to lead a successful life.
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*References:Good Therapy (2019, September 9). Learning Difficulties. https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/learning-difficulties
Kid Sense Child Development (2023, January 5). Learning Difficulties.https://childdevelopment.com.au/areas-ofconcern/diagnoses/learning-difficulties/
National Center for Learning Disabilities. (2014). The state of learning disabilities: Facts, trends, and emerging issues (3rd ed.). New York: National Center for Learning Disabilities. Retrieved March 8, 2017, from http://www.ncld.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2014-State-of-LD.pdf*