Early Signs of Common Learning Disabilities in Kids

According to the LDA– Learning Disabilities Association of America, there are 2.4 million students, in the United States, with a diagnosed learning disability. These students receive specialized services at their school, through the IDEA- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. A learning disability is defined as a neurological condition that affects how a person hears, sees or understands things. Those with a learning disability have trouble with things like math, reading, reasoning, speaking, spelling and writing. The most common learning disabilities in children include dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and visual processing disorder. Let’s take a look at the early signs of these learning disabilities.

Dyscalculia– Dyscalculia is a learning disability that involves math. In younger children, their ability to recognize numbers may be affected, while older kids may have trouble doing basic math problems. Signs to look for include:
• Trouble counting
• Trouble recognizing numbers that are written- like two = 2
• Trouble sorting items by color, shape or size
• Trouble telling time
• Illegible handwriting
• Still uses fingers to count
• Avoids using numbers daily


Dysgraphia– Dysgraphia is a learning disability that involves writing. Kids may have awful handwriting, problems with spelling or troubles getting their thoughts onto paper. Signs to look for include:
• Holding a pen or pencil too tight
• No interest in writing tasks
• Omitting words in a sentence
• Not using capitalization or punctuation
• Trouble organizing words in a sentence

Dyslexia– Dyslexia is a learning disability that involves language processing. Kids may have trouble reading, writing or comprehending. Signs to look for include:
• Trouble reading at the current grade level
• Trouble spelling simple words correctly
• Trouble with hand-eye coordination
• Trouble remembering data in a series, like days of the week
• Constantly mixes up left and right
• Reverses numbers and letters

Auditory Processing Disorder
– Auditory Processing Disorder is a learning disability that affects how a person’s brain processes sounds. Signs to look for include:
• Distracted by background noise
• Often asks people to repeat what they said
• Trouble following verbal directions
• Trouble with organization
• Trouble following a conversation
• Trouble remembering verbal details

Visual Processing Disorder- Visual Processing Disorder is a learning disability that affects how a person’s brain processes visual information. It has nothing to do with their vision or their eyesight. Signs to look for include:
• Trouble making sense of numbers or letters
• Trouble telling the difference between shapes
• Inverts words when reading or writing
• When reading, trouble with following words on a page
• Lack of interest in watching TV shows and movies

If you suspect that your child may have a learning disability, talk to your child’s school and their pediatrician, so that testing can be done as soon as possible.

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16 comments

  1. I think is so so important for parents to be aware of these types of learning disorders. It can be so much easier getting them help when the parents see what’s going on and recognize there is a problem.

  2. Thanks for the information. I don’t think a lot of parents know that these are common learning disabilities. I think most have only heard of dyslexia.

  3. This is really helpful for early diagnosis! I’m not a parent yet but I can imagine it would be stressful trying to figure out whether your child is developing and growing following the milestones

  4. This is great for parents to see and read about to see if their kids have any of these issues and to get them checked out. The more we stay ahead of the game for our children the more they can be successful in life and in school.

  5. This is a great resource. I know that early intervention is so important so it’s great that parents can be aware of the signs. This will be super helpful!

  6. It’s really important to become aware of learning disabilities especially at a child’s young age. It would be better if we can help them earlier.

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