Each person of any age has a different learning rhythm. For learning to succeed, it is essential that this learning rhythm is respected. Only in this way can the person advance in the learning of concepts taking into account their pace and capacity. But what happens when there are learning difficulties? What are they and how do they affect the people who have them?
At present, it is classified as learning difficulty to many things: not being able to concentrate well for long periods of time, getting bored with academic content, acting impulsively, having a lousy memory, tripping over things, not making sense of all the things that are read or written … have their own imagination. The society is very daring, and sometimes it is said that a person has learning difficulties only because that they do not follow the average of the people.
Instead of taking into account the actual capabilities of a person and focus on it to move forward, it seems more natural to say that that person has learning difficulties and therefore is more delayed in their ability to acquire content. All this is very relative. But what is certain is that when there are really learning difficulties, the person may feel that there is some obstacle that must be overcome to advance correctly.
A learning disability is a problem that affects how a person receives and processes information.
Today, at least five children in each school/class have some type of learning difficulty. These difficulties rarely appear in isolation and often coexist or overlap with other conditions. And they do not disappear, so children with learning difficulties tend to grow up to become adults with learning difficulties.
For parents, that can be a frightening prospect, especially because many people confuse learning difficulties with learning disabilities. Parents ask a lot of questions because they do not know where to go or whom to listen to in order to attend to the needs of their child.
What are NOT the learning difficulties?
A learning disability is NOT a disability and children or people who suffer it, at no time should feel it that way. Actually, there is not a single consensual interpretation or definition of the terms “learning difficulty” and “learning disability.” But it is necessary to highlight an important aspect to differentiate it and understand that the difficulties can be overcome because they only need more work, patience, and resources:
- Difficulties: obstacles
- Disabilities: something that incapacitates
Any emotional or learning problem that affects, or substantially affects, a person’s ability to learn, get along with others and keep up is a learning difficulty. On the other hand, a learning disability is a significant lifelong condition that begins before adulthood, affects development and leads to the need for help to: understand information, learn skills, be independent. Usually, an IQ below 70 is felt.
Signs that there are learning difficulties
In the smallest children …
- Care difficulties
- Problems in understanding speech
- Difficulties in expressing what they want to say
- Problems learning new basic concepts
- Behavior problems
- Social difficulties
- Lack of coordination
- Difficulty remembering learned information
In older children …
- Inefficient reading
- Difficulties of verbal and/or written expression
- Pronunciation comprehension problems
- Presence of emotional factors such as anxiety, blockages, school refusal or low self-esteem
In adolescence …
- Previous errors continue
- Low capacity in the study
- Poor school performance
- Bad grades
- Emotional factors such as anxiety are still present
- Low self-esteem
Learning difficulties do not only have to do with problems in the senses, nor cultural differences or absence of educational opportunities. Learning difficulties go much further, and social cohesion is needed to find the solution in each specific case, or at least facilitate learning by respecting the pace of each.
The torture of learning?
The learning difficulties are so many people suffer and is a heterogeneous group of disorders that affect learning and that are manifested by difficulties when speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or understanding academic concepts.
These disorders are inherent to the person and may be due to structural dysfunctions of the person’s nervous system. A learning difficulty can be worked on and improved, but it usually accompanies the person always although the condition improves.
Usually, the base is in basic psychological processes such as memory, perception, language, mental processes, emotional and motivational processes, etc. They are generally identified during childhood and adolescence by noting how the acquisition of knowledge is less than expected for the age group of the affected person.
There are usually difficulties in detecting, diagnosing and finding an appropriate intervention, something that will make the affected person suffer a certain aversion in learning thinking that he is not capable. For this reason, emotional work is just as important as academic work in each case.
Respect the rhythm of slow learners
Learning to read, for example, is an activity that requires a lot of time and effort, and this must be taken into account. The acquisition of reading and writing are essential for the development of language, not only for writing because in this way you learn to communicate through the written message and it is essential to work on understanding and expression.
The evolutionary processes are different in each child, so you have to respect the learning rhythms. In this sense, children need a stipulation to learn new skills, but it is also essential not to force their development or ask them to do more things than they are prepared to do at a certain time.
It is necessary to take into account the child’s age, personality, as well as their actual abilities before talking about learning difficulties. The maturation of a child may be slower than in other children and does not mean that he is less able to achieve things.
If there are learning difficulties, it will be necessary to talk with the educational psychologist or the educational psychologist to detect exactly the most problematic areas. Once the type of learning difficulties a child has been identified, then the most appropriate kind of intervention can be thought of in each case.