Pre-existing learning disabilities usually do not show up till kids reach preschool. It is at this stage that children struggle to cope with what’s being taught in the class.
Sadly, they have little clue of what’s wrong even as other children find it easy to grasp simple concepts. This can greatly hamper a child’s self-esteem and motivation, even deterring them from going to school.
That’s why it’s extremely important to recognise the signs of a learning disability and also understand ways in which you can help them.
A child with a learning disability will have problems picking up new things throughout their lifetime. These disorders typically affect a child’s abilities in reading, writing, math or nonverbal skills. They can also have fine motor skill problems.
Experts suggest that about 5 to 10 per cent of children globally suffer from some kind of learning disability. When the symptoms are mild, they can easily communicate and may also be able to look after themselves.
It’s just that they may take a little longer than usual to acquire new skills.
On the other hand, the signs of Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) are severe. A child suffering from it will not only face difficulty in communicating but will also find it difficult to be independent.
Here’s all you need to know about PMLD and how it affects children while growing up.
What Is PMLD?
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Kids with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) have trouble communicating and many have additional sensory or physical disabilities.
Some of them may also have complex health issues and mental health difficulties. These disabilities together may affect their behaviour.
As for the common signs and symptoms of PMLD, these include:
Severe difficulty in seeing
Problems in hearing and speaking
Since many with PMLD have difficulty in communicating, they may be non-verbal.
Both kids and adults with PMLD may need support with everything – from eating, going to the washroom, dressing up and other day-to-day activities.
While PMLD affects day-to-day activities in children, learning disorders may affect them based on their specific type.
What Is Learning Disorder In Kids?
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Learning disorders in kids will affect their ability to read, write and also express. They may also limit their ability to comprehend a topic and may require different learning methods to understand simple things.
Here’s a look at some of the common signs of learning disabilities in young kids:
When your child has difficulty understanding and following instructions
In case they have trouble remembering what they were just told
When your kid easily loses or misplaces their things like schoolbooks and bags
If they have difficulty understanding the concept of time
When they don’t grasp skills in reading, spelling and reading as per their grade levels
If they don’t want to do homework or activities that involve reading, writing or maths
They get confused when following multiple verbal instructions
5 Causes Of Learning Disabilities In Kids
There can be many causes behind learning disabilities. For instance, a person’s brain development can be effected either before they are born, during birth, or even in their early childhood.
Some of the probable causes include:
If the mother fell ill during pregnancy
Problems during birth that stopped oxygen from getting into the brain.
Inherited learning disability – when the unborn baby inherits genes from parents.
Learning disability can also be caused in cases of illness such as meningitis, or an injury in early childhood.
Sometimes there’s no known cause for a learning disability.
How Parents Can Help Their Kids When They Spot Signs Of PMLD
Early intervention is essential before the problem snowballs. For instance, if your child doesn’t learn addition in elementary school, how will they tackle complex math problems and algebra in high school?
Therefore, it’s important that parents keep a close watch on their child’s development. Remember, no two kids are the same. So parents should never compare one child’s performance to another kid.
Be understanding and sympathetic to their problems, as children who have learning disorders can also experience performance anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, fatigue and loss of motivation.
So they need extra support and patience of their parents and guardians.
Treatment Of Learning Disabilities
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If you are concerned about your child’s performance, then you or the child’s teacher can request an evaluation. Tests may be conducted to first rule out any vision or hearing problems.
Most often, these exams are held by professionals, including psychologists, social workers or occupational therapists.
Based on the results of the tests, and the feedback from teachers, it can be ascertained whether or not your child has a learning disorder. It is important to note that you will need the proper support from professionals to help your kid with PMLD.
Right from the GP, paediatricians, speech therapists, clinical psychologists to social care, everyone can help your kid live a full and independent life.
If your child has a learning disability, the doctor can also recommend therapy or medication. In some cases, a trained teacher can help your child to learn techniques to improve their academic skills.
Remember, your child’s treatment plan will change with time. Instead of demotivating them, encourage your child to pursue areas that interest them.
Focus on their strengths to help build self-esteem and motivate them to do better. Interventions at the right stage can improve your kid’s skills and help them to develop better-coping strategies.
As parents, you need to develop patience and have faith in your child. It will allow them to excel through this learning curve, slowly but gradually.