When people consider the disabilities that children can have, their immediate assumption is that a disability is likely to be physical, and thus one that is clearly visible. However, not all disabilities are physical, and unfortunately children, and adults for that matter, can suffer from disabilities that are not immediately obvious.
These are disabilities that exist mentally or psychologically, and those which are particularly an issue for children are specific learning disabilities. These are disorders that affect a child’s ability to learn, and they are most prominently found in relation to a child’s ability to read, write, and count.
As these are regarded as the key academic skills which allow learning in a whole range of other subjects, plus the fact that they are essential for each person to deal with basic everyday situations as we grow up, there is obviously a cause for concern if a child shows symptoms of a specific learning disability.
To look at these in more detail, the first, and the one which most people have heard of, is dyslexia. This condition means a child’s ability to recognise words is compromised with an impairment in reading with all the issues which that can create.
Next, we have dysgraphia which is a learning disability with an impairment in written expression. This is not the same as dyslexia as many believe but relates purely to how a child writes, rather than their ability to read.
Moving on from letters and words, we come to numbers and a specific learning disability which leaves a child with an impairment in mathematics. Dyscalculia, as it is known, is a learning disability whose particular symptoms include being unable to count or understand numbers.
The way in which any of these might become apparent to a parent, guardian, or teacher can vary depending on the specific learning disability, but there are some tell-tale signs.
These can include:
- Frequent and consistent errors such as wrong spelling when writing
- Errors and difficulty in reading even the simplest passages
- Slowness in learning new words
- Mixing numbers and mathematical symbols
- Difficulty with simple counting tasks
- Struggling to put a list of items in order
At Southside Psychology we are proud of our team’s record in treating children with specific learning disabilities. although it should be noted we also have an excellent track record of helping adolescents and adults with similar learning problems.
One of the reasons for our success is that our team based in Perth WA, treat each client, be they a child or an adult, as an individual. This means we do not simply use generic therapies, but a therapy or treatment which is specific to the person’s needs.
To establish what those needs are, one of our skilled and experienced psychologists will complete a comprehensive psychological assessment of the individual. This will highlight the specific learning disability and the level to which the condition exists. Once complete this will also allow our specialist team to determine what therapy services they consider to be the most appropriate.
This may also involve the use of multiple educational tools and other support materials that are specifically designed for each learning disability. Most importantly, these, and whichever therapies we agree on, will be overseen and implemented by a dedicated psychology team.