Children's Study Initiative

Devoted to Children with Learning Disabilities

Genetic, developmental and environmental attributes may contribute to the deficits in learning ability. Recent studies have suggested that phonological awareness is linked to chromosome 6 and ability to identify single words has been linked to chromosome 15. Children with extremely low birth weight and prematurity are at higher risk for developing learning disorders. 35 – 45% of boys and 20% of girls with reading disability had a positive family history.

Children with learning disorders are at higher risk for social skills difficulties, expressive and receptive language disorders, attentional problems, anxiety, disruptive behaviour disorders and depressive disorders. Upto 25% of children with reading disorder are found to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Academic stress can lead to poor self esteem and can cause adjustment disorders as well as somatoform disorders, particularly in older children.

Introduction

Academic skills form the foundation upon which the scholastic performance of a child is determined. For some children, mastering the basic academic skills create significant difficulties. Children with learning disorders exhibit academic difficulties out of proportion to their intellectual capacities. In a society where personal worth and appreciation are gained by measures of academic achievement, learning disorders become a source of significant stress for children, leading to low self esteem, anxiety and behavioural problems. Hence early detection and management of learning disorders is of great importance and it merits the attention of all who are interested in child welfare

Prevalence

Learning disorders occur in approximately 10% of school going children in general. Prevalence as low as 3% to as high as 20% has been reported in several studies

Subtypes

1. Reading disorder

2. Disorder of written expression

3. Mathematics disorder

4. Mixed disorder of scholastic skills

Treatment

Intensive, individually determined one on one remedial training is the treatment of choice for learning disorders. Associated behavioural and emotional problems have to be managed adequately through behaviour therapy and appropriate psychotherapy. Parental guidance and counseling form an important part of the training program. Good therapist child relationship is essential for getting the best results.