Students with Specific Learning Disabilities or Difficulties are those who have a short-term or persistent problem in one or more areas of literacy, numeracy and learning how to learn. In some areas, however, they may display strengths. For example, they may be very good at oral communication, but have difficulty putting these words into written language, or they may have problems learning to read and spell, but show an aptitude for maths.
Their problems are not primarily due to vision or hearing difficulties, poor teaching, attention difficulties or low intelligence. Their difficulties are sometimes misunderstood and these students are often called lazy, lacking in motivation or seen as behaviour problems for this reason. Early recognition is very important so that suitable support is put into place.
If SLDs are left undetected or overlooked, frustration and a sense of failure can lead to significant self-esteem problems as the student progresses through the school system.
What are the characteristics of SLD?
The student may have average or above average intelligence, but display some of the following symptoms:
Reading: confuses similar words and letters, loses place, repeats words, lacks fluency, does not like to read.
Spelling: uses incorrect order of letters in words, has difficulty associating the correct sound with a letter, reverses letters and words.
Maths: has difficulty associating number with symbol, cannot remember number facts, has difficulty with story problems and general comprehension of maths concepts.
So what can you do?
- Approach the classroom teacher, learning support teacher or principal and express your concerns and ask if an assessment by a suitable specialist be undertaken.
- If this is not possible within a reasonable amount of time, you may decide to approach a professional in private practice.
- Contact SPELD Qld Inc. for any further advice including the names of suitable, qualified assessment agencies from our database.