Mohit a 10 year old boy is a slow communicator. He uses
a lot of gestures when talking and tries to avoid verbal
communication. Cannot recall the names of objects, relate
events or characteristics in a story. Is unable to answer
questions based on a lesson that is read out to him.
His responses are limited to three or four words.
Anjana cannot recognize simple 3 letter words. She omits
vowels, reverses whole words (window as wodin) and confuses
sounds. Wild guessing when reading and pays no attention
Anjali cannot complete the work in time. Makes several
erasures, while copying sentences from the blackboard.
Writing is almost illegible and no punctuation is used.
Writing one page makes her feel tired and complains
of fatigue. Her comprehension and oral responses exceed
her written performance.
Nine-year old Harmeet confuses addition symbol with
multiplication sign. Counts on her fingers. Borrows
twice from the same digit. Forgets what step she is
using. Cannot tell the time accurately.
Such problems are faced by us as teachers & parents
very frequently and we react by getting irritated and
scolding the child. Due to our ignorance we are unable
to find the cause of the problem and are more an addition
to the intensity of the problem. To the conceptual difficulties
that students face we are as psychological deterrents
towards the clarity of concepts. Is all this just lack
of readiness as we perceive on the part of the children
or lack of effort from us as teachers or something more
than that. A look at almost newly coined word which
is used as a cause of learning problems is an answer
to all the above questions. The term is Learning Disability.
in one or more of the psychological processes involved
in understanding or in using spoken or written language.
These disorders are manifested in considerable problem
in listening, thinking, talking, reading, writing, spelling
4 important dimensions of this disability
• Considerable problem in reading, writing,
• Free from visual, hearing, motor, mental and
• Difference in ability and achievement.
• Adequate facilities, interests and motivation.
A look at different types of learning difficulties
will give us a comprehensive view of this problem
being faced by some of the children.
The term is used synonymously with Learning
Disability. But Dyslexia is basically a reading disability.
It is inability to read which indicates that there
is something wrong with the child.
The important characteristics of this disability are
cumulative. The characteristics can be used as identification
• Slow rate of oral and silent reading.
• Inability to answer questions about what is
read showing lack of comprehension.
• Inability to state the main topic of a simple
paragraph or story.
• Lack of skill in using tools to locate information
and such as index and table of the contents.
• Inability to follow simple printed instructions.
• Reading word by word.
• Lack of expression in oral reading
• Excessive lip movement in silent reading
• Vocalization in silent reading
• Lack of interest in reading
• Excessive physical activity while reading
such as squirming
• Mispronunciation of words ---- gross mispronunciation
showing lack of phonetic ability, minor mispronunciation
due to failure to discriminate beginnings and endings,
showing inability to attack unfamiliar words.
• Omission of letters
• Substitution of words / letters
• Insertion of words / letters
• Reversal of whole words due to difficulty
in sequential memory
• Repetition of words / groups when reading
• Excessive number of regressive eye movements
• Excessive eye fixation
These characteristics can be seen first in accordance
with letter identification, word recognition, sentences
and then paragraphs.
It is a form of learning disability in which child
exhibits extremely poor handwriting or the inability
to perform motor movements required for handwriting.
The most important indicators of Dysgraphia are :
• Death grip on the pencil
• Incorrect pencil grip
• Awkward positioning of the body, bending too
close • the paper
• Symptoms of premature muscle fatigue
• Avoidance of writing tasks
• Sparse written output inappropriate to a child's
age, reading ability, verbal ability.
• Numerous eye fixations from far to near point during
a copying task.
• Excessive number of erasures
• Frequent referral to an alphabet chart to check
the formation of letters.
• Confusions in directional orientation such as mirror
writing and reversals.
• Poor use of space as observed inc crawling or cramped
writing, inadequate space between letters and words,
inappropriate letter size relationships, and inability
to stay within head and base lines.
• Poor letter connections and illegible letters
• Inaccuracies such as omissions, perseverations,
lack of punctuation, line skipping
• Slow motor speed.
• Hesitation and difficulty in generating letters
in a noncopying writing task, particularly capital
• Difficulty in keeping up with dictation tasks due
to a breakdown in the integration process.
If many of these characteristics are observed, the
teacher should collect handwriting samples using a
series of structured tasks.
Dyscalculia is an arithmetic disability. It refers
to difficulty in reading or writing isolated or a
series of numerals, reading and writing numbers whose
names are not written the way they are spoken and
doing computational operations.
Following indicators are used as identification guidelines
for a child suffering from dyscalculia :
• Problem in differentiating between sizes, shapes
• Inability to do counting
• Inability to understand place value
• Difficulty with fundamental operations of addition,
substraction, multiplication and division.
• No concept of fractions
• Difficulty in telling time
• No problem solving skills
What are the signs and symptoms that help one recognize
whether a child is learning disabled or simply careless
Based on the frequency of occurrence the following
ten characteristics have been identified as widely
prevalent in individuals with learning disability.
1. Disorder of attention
Short attention span and lack of concentration have
been found to be the most obvious qualities in LD's.
But inattentiveness may be for difference reasons.
LD's are inferior in selective attention and they
cannot sustain attention or maintain attention till
the task is completed.
Though hyperactivity is associated with learning disabled
child very strongly but still the relationship is
not clearly substantiated. The maximum number of following
characteristics should be present for at least six
# fidgeting with hand or feet squirming in the seat
# difficulty remaining seated when required to do
# easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
# difficulty awaiting turns in games or group situations
# blurts out answers even before the question has
# difficulty following through on instructions from
# difficulty in sustaining attention
# often shifting from one activity to another
# difficulty in playing quietly
# talk excessively
# interrupt or intrude on others
# does not seem to listen to what is being said
# loosing things necessary for tasks or activities
# engage in threatening activities without thinking
about considerable possible consequences
2. Memory Disorders
Persons with learning disability are generally characterized
by inefficient memory systems. The following characteristics
are clearly observed in LD children :
# Difficulty in recalling visual material, specially
the written word.
# Unable to use strategies for verbal rehearsal.
# Poor on tasks requiring auditory information.
3. Academic Characteristics
There is a little doubt that in the area of academic
learning, children with learning disability are low
achievers. They have problems in specific area of
reading, writing and mathematics.
4. Social and Interpersonal
Learning disabled children have poor social skills
and are considered unattractive by their peers. Diffidence
is another important characteristic of learning disabled
They fail to read the social cues and may misinterpret
the reactions of other people. They lack role taking
skills and find it difficult to adopt another's point
of view. But not all learning disabled individuals
have a problem, and grow up to be perfectly well-adapted
5. Perceptual motor
Perception is the cognitive ability to receive and
make sense of incoming stimuli. LD students suffer
from perceptual deficit. The problems that such children
observe are :
- Inability to concentrate on what is relevant and
what is irrelevant.
- Inability to see things from another's perspective.
- bad eye-hand coordination due to which children
face difficulty in tasks like buttoning, lacing, cutting,
pasting, writing and also copying from the blackboard.
6. Auditory perception
A LD child may have nothing wrong with hearing but
still be unable to interpret what is heard. The child
faces problem in
- Auditory discrimination, which is the ability to
point similarities and differences between two sounds.
- Auditory blending, is the ability to blend or combine
sounds to form words. (difficulty with blends like
bl, sp, ch, gh, th)
- Difficulty in recalling correct sequence of letters
in a word or words in a sentence.
7 Haptic perception.
A child explores the world around him by touching
and manipulating objects and absorbing information
pertaining to texture, pain, temperature, pressure
and geometric features. Learning Disabled children
have problem with kinesthia which includes bodily
movement, coordination, body image, direction and
spatial orientation. A child may be unable to write
because he doesn't know how to move his hand and he
cannot produce the up/down strokes required for writing.
8. Motor Deficiencies
Motor deficiencies include gross motor skills
and fine motor skills.
Gross motor skills include activities
such as walking, jumping, catching and so on. Teachers
have observed many learning disabled children to be
clumsy and awkward on the playground and unable to
perform simple physical exercises such as toe-touching.
Fine motor skills are basic prerequisite for any kind
of academic learning and they include activities involving
eye and hand movements such as tracing, needlework,
bead stringing, lacing, coloring or writing. Deficits
in fine motor skills are usually associated with learning