What is Learning Disability (LD)?
LD is a neurological or brain-based problem that affects a specific area of learning. It is a condition whereby a person with average or high intelligence experience difficulty in one or more ways of taking in, storing or using information. LD comes in many forms and its effects are different from person to person. They relate to:
Input- Getting information into the brain
Organization- Making sense of the information
Memory- Storing and retrieving information
Output- Getting information back out
It is important to note that learning disabilities can affect an individual's life beyond academics and can impact relationships with family, friends and in the workplace. Simply put, children and adult with learning disabilities learn differently.
Dyslexia is a learning problem that results in difficulties in reading, spelling, and writing.
Some signs of Dyslexia include:
• Struggling with reading letters and words
• Reading comprehension difficulties
• Confusion of letters that look similar (e.g., m & w,d & b; u & n)
• Confusion of letters that sound similar (e.g., ‘v’, ‘f’, ‘d’,‘th’)
• Reversal of words e.g., was - saw, now – won
• Transposition of words e.g., left – felt
More information can be found on https://dyslexiaida.org
Our incidence study in Ghana has shown that significant number of students with a profile consistent with an educational problem called Irlen Syndrome or Scotopic Sensitivity. This is not an optical problem. It is a problem with how the nervous system encodes and decodes visual information. Academic and work performance, behavior, attention, ability to sit still and concentrate can be affected.
Irlen Syndrome and Dyslexia.?
Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual processing disorder, meaning that it relates specifically to how the brain processes the visual information it receives. It is not a language-based disorder and phonics-based instruction will not help someone with Irlen Syndrome improve, in the same way, it will help someone with dyslexia improve their reading skills.
At its core, Irlen Syndrome is a light sensitivity, where individuals are sensitive to a specific wavelength of light and this sensitivity is what causes the physical and visual symptoms that people with Irlen Syndrome experience.
People with Irlen Syndrome have difficulty reading not because their brains have difficulty connecting the letters they see with the sounds those letters make, but because they see distortions on the printed page, or because the white background or glare hurts their eyes, gives them a headache, or makes them fall asleep when trying to read.
The Irlen Method is a non-invasive, drug-free therapy that improves the brain’s ability to process visual information, using colored overlays or filters to relieve headaches and visual distortions.
Dyscalculia is a condition that affects a learner’s ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning money concept, number facts and procedures.
Dysgraphia is a condition that impairs a person’s handwriting. It can interfere with learning to spell words in writing and speed of writing text. Children with dysgraphia may have only handwriting problem, only spelling difficulties without reading problems, or both handwriting and spelling problems. Some signs of Dysgraphia include: Struggling to writing letters and words; difficulties holding pencil appropriately and confusion writing letters that look similar (e.g., m & w,d & b; u & n)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a condition that makes it difficult for a person to sit still, stay focused, pay attention, and control behaviour. Although ADHD is not considered a learning disability, research indicates that children with ADHD also have a specific learning disability, and that the two conditions can interact to make learning extremely challenging.
The three primary characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity (restlessness & overactive), and impulsivity (acting or speaking before thinking).
Dyspraxia is a condition that affects fine or gross motor coordination in individuals. It may also affect speech, participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, work and employment.
Children with dyspraxia may show difficulties with self-care, writing, typing, riding a bike and play as well as other educational and recreational activities. Dyspraxia can also present additional problems planning, organising and carrying out movements in the right order in everyday situations. Dyspraxia can also affect articulation and speech, perception and thought.
More information can be found on https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk
It is a condition that affects a person’s ability to plan, organize, strategize, pay attention to and remember details, and manage time and space.
Specific Language Impairment (SLI)
Specific Language Impairment (SLI) is a term used to describe difficulties with learning and using language. Thus is condition whereby a person struggle to understand and use language to communicate and learn.
Children with SLI have no other condition; their difficulties are mainly to do with learning to understand and use language.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around them.
The main difficulties experienced by children with autism are:
• Social interaction -difficulty with social relationships e.g. appearing unconcerned and indifferent to other people;
• Social communication -difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication e.g. inability to understand facial gestures;
• Social imagination -difficulty in engaging in imaginative play and activities.