What are Learning Disorders in Children?

Learning Disorders in Children are problems that affect the brain’s ability to receive process, @nalyze, and store information.

These learning problems can make it difficult for a student to learn as quickly as another who is not affected by one of these disorders.

However, a learning disorder or problem (TA) is not related to a person’s intelligence or motivation. In fact, most children with them are as smart as the others.

Therefore, children and adults with AT can be successful in academic and in the workplace.

Learning Disorders in Children

For example, successful people like Alexander Graham Bell, Walt Disney or Winston Churchill had learning disabilities.

There are many types of TA and most students are affected by several of them. Some types may interfere with concentration or attention, while others make reading, writing, or solving mathematical problems more difficult.

Signs and Symptoms of Learning Disorders

If you think your child may have an AT and may need special help, it is advisable to seek a professional (child or educational psychologist, pedagogue or psycho pedagogue). The sooner the problem is addressed, the sooner your child will reach his full potential.

TAs is very different from one child to another; while one may have difficulty reading, another may have difficulties in math.

Because of its variety, it is difficult to identify a TA. Although there is no single symptom that indicates that there is an AT, there are some that are more common than others depending on the child’s age.

If you are aware of what they are, you will be able to identify a TA first and take steps to help your child.

The following list is symptoms that may indicate an AT. Children without problems may also have these symptoms from time to time. TA exists when problems are consistent and interfere with the child’s academic progress and learning.

Preschool Signs and Symptoms

  • Problems when pronouncing words.
  • Problems finding the right word.
  • Problems learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes and days of the week.
  • Difficulties following directions or learning routines.
  • Difficulties handling pencils, markers or coloring.
  • Problems with buttons, zippers, snaps, learn to tie your shoes.

Signs from 5-9 years

  • Inability to combine sounds to form words.
  • Problems learning the connection between letters and sounds.
  • Confusion of basic words when reading.
  • Problems learning basic mathematical concepts.
  • Difficulty telling time or remembering sequences.
  • Consistent mistakes when spelling words and making frequent mistakes when reading.
  • Slowness when learning new skills.

Signs and symptoms from 10-13 years

  • Problems with open questions.
  • Difficulties with writing compression or math skills.
  • Problems reading aloud.
  • Pronounce the same word differently in the same document.
  • Problems to follow class discussions and express thoughts out loud.
  • Writing with poor hand.
  • Poor organizational skills (in home and school).

If you recognize a TA when your child is small, you can intervene in time to reverse the problem and prevent it from developing. If you think there is a problem, it is best to do an evaluation with a professional.

Problems with reading, writing and math

Learning disabilities in reading, writing and mathematics are characterized by a performance below what would be expected depending on the IQ, age and training of the person.

Problems with reading (dyslexia)

There are two types of learning disabilities in reading:

  • Basic reading problems occur when there is a difficulty in understanding the relationship between sounds, letters and words.
  • Problems with reading comprehension occur when there is an inability to understand the meaning of words, phrases, and paragraphs.

Symptoms are problems with:

  • Recognition of letters and words.
  • Compression of words and ideas.
  • Speed ​​of reading and fluency.
  • General vocabulary.

Problems with writing (dystrophic)

Writing problems may depend on the physical act of writing or the mental activity required understanding and synthesizing the information:

  • The basic disorder of writing refers to a physical difficulty in forming words and letters.
  • Problems when expressing yourself with writing indicates a difficulty in organizing thoughts on paper.

Symptoms include problems with:

  • Orthography.
  • Organization of writing and coherence.
  • Precisely copy letters and words.

Problems with math (dyscalculia)

Learning disabilities in math are very different in each child. The child’s ability in mathematics depends on his or her language, visual, memory, and organizational skills.

A child with math problems may have difficulty:

  • Memorize and organize numbers.
  • Signs of multiplication, subtraction, addition and division.
  • Difficulties to subtract, add, divide and multiply.
  • Count 2 in 2, 3 in 3…
  • Trouble telling the time.

Other disorders related to learning disorders

Auditory Processing Disorder

It is a condition that affects how the sound traveling through the ear is processed and interpreted by the brain.

People with this disorder do not recognize differences in sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear.

They may also have difficulty telling you where sounds come from or blocking background noises.

Language Processing Disorder

It is a difficulty to give meaning to groups of sounds that form words, phrases and stories.

It affects only language processing and can affect expressive and receptive language.

Nonverbal learning disorders

It is characterized by weak motor, visual-spatial and social skills.

Usually these people have problems interpreting non-verbal cues such as facial expressions or non-verbal language.

Expressive language disorders

It is characterized by a very limited speech in any situation; expressive language (what is said) is far below normal receptive language (understood).


It is a disturbance in the fluency of the speech that implies problems in the language like; repeating words or syllables, prolonging sounds, pausing or replacing words.

Selective mutes

It is a persistent failure in speech despite the ability to do so.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

It is one of the most common developmental disorders in children and can continue in adolescence and adulthood.

It is characteristic of people who move from one activity to another, who begin several tasks without finishing any and who seem not to pay attention if others speak.


It is characterized by difficulty in muscle control, which causes problems with movement and coordination, language and speech, and can affect learning.

Although not considered a learning disorder, it can occur along with dyslexia, dyscalculia or ADHD.


It is the loss of ability to produce or understand the language, due to injuries in brain areas specializing in these functions. It can be a disorder during language acquisition in children or an acquired loss in adults. It is exclusively related to oral language.

Dysphasia is a disorder of language equivalent to a minor or indeterminate form of aphasia.

Aphasia is a type of aphasia characterized by the inability to articulate or understand complete sentences, without any alteration in relation to isolated words.

Causes of learning disorders

Although we do not know exactly what the exact causes of learning disorders are, researchers have some theories that include:

Genetic Influences

In some disorders, the parents and siblings of people who are suffering are more likely to manifest them than the relatives of people without difficulties.

Studying identical twins, if one is diagnosed with reading disorder, there is a 100% chance that the other twin will also receive it.

According to recent research, there is a possible link between reading disorders and genetic material on chromosome 6.

However, learning problems are influenced by both genetic and psychosocial factors.

Brain development

Some experts believe that AT may be due to problems with brain development before or after death.

Problems such as low birth weight, lack of oxygen or premature birth can cause TA.

According to research, there are structural and functional differences in the brains of people with AT.

Environmental factors

Babies and young children are more susceptible to environmental toxins

For example, it is believed that lead can contribute to learning difficulties. Poor nutrition in the first few years of life can also contribute to learning problems in the future.


First, an educational intervention is necessary to treat ST.

Biological treatment with drugs is limited to people with different disorders such as ADHD, which involves lack of attention, concentration and impulsivity.

The educational intervention focuses on:

  • Teaching visual and auditory perception skills to directly remedy the underlying basic processing of problems.
  • Improve cognitive skills with a general command of conceptual, auditory and memory comprehension.
  • To solve behavioral skills related to specific problems in reading, writing or mathematics.

Tips for Parents

If you are a parent, it can be difficult for you to know where to turn to help your child overcome their learning problems.

Of course, it is important to look for professionals – educational psychologists, psycho pedagogues – to make an assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

Also Read: Schizophreniform Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

In addition, you can also work with your child’s school teachers to make certain changes and understand their needs.

The important thing is that as a parent you are the main guide to know the different treatments, services and shuffle different options.

  • Learn about your child’s learning disorder: Look for information about your child’s specific AT, find how the problem affects learning, and what skills are involved. If you understand this you will find it easier to give help and seek treatments.
  • Research treatments, services and new theories: there are various treatments and some can have better results in your child. On the other hand, many investigations are carried out every year, especially those written in English.
  • Keep in mind the home treatment: much of the child’s development is due to the education he receives at home. Although there are no services at school or other institutions, the child may receive treatment at home.
  • Encourage strengths: Your child may have difficulty in some areas, although other areas will probably be better served. Pay attention to your child’s interests and passions and try to encourage them.

Diagnosis of learning disorders

According to DSM-V (2013), the criteria for identifying specific learning disorders are:

  1. There are difficulties in learning and academic skills, as indicated by the presence of at least one of the following symptoms that persist for at least 6 months, despite having received interventions aimed at such difficulties:

Has errors in reading words or reading is slow and effortless.

He presents difficulties in understanding the meaning of what he reads.

He has difficulty spelling.

It presents difficulties in the written expression.

He presents difficulties in handling numerical concepts, numerical data or calculation.

He presents difficulties in mathematical reasoning.

  1. The academic skills involved are substantively and quantitatively below those expected for the chronological age of the individual, and cause significant interference with academic or work performance, or activities of daily living … For persons 17 years of age or older Moreover, a documented history of learning difficulties may substitute for standardized assessment.
  2. Learning difficulties begin during the school years but may not be fully apparent until the demands for those academic skills affected exceed the limited individual abilities.
  3. Learning difficulties are not best explained by intellectual disability, visual or auditory acuity, other mental or neurological disorders, psychosocial adversity, lack of language competence, or inadequate educational instruction.

Specify if:

With limitations in reading:

  • Accurate reading of words.
  • Fluency or reading rate.
  • Reading comprehension.

With limitations in written expression:

  • Precision in spelling.
  • Accuracy in grammar and punctuation.
  • Clarity or organization in written expression.

With limitations in mathematics:

Numerical concepts.

  • Memorizing numeric data.
  • Accuracy or fluidity of calculation.
  • Precise mathematical reasoning.

Specify current severity:

  • Mild.
  • Moderate.
  • Serious.