Concerned that your young child may have a learning difference? It’s typical for learning differences to be diagnosed starting in 1st grade when a child is 6 or 7. If your child has a family history of learning issues, or you’re just a concerned parent, there are early signs of learning differences that you may want to be aware of, with one caveat. Children develop different skills and abilities at different rates. So a child may start walking early, have age-appropriate gross and fine motor skills, but be a late talker. For that particular child, the gap in skills may be completely normal and even out a little later. However, on the other hand, the difficulty with speech may be representative of some later learning challenge..it’s just too early to know that for sure.
There are five areas where you may see early indicators of learning differences; coordination, language, attention, cognition, and social skills. As you peruse the signs below, please know that it is completely normal for your child to exhibit several of these behaviors as they grow and mature.
- difficulty tying, buttoning, zipping
- difficulty running, jumping, climbing, learning to ride a bike, skipping
- awkward pencil grasp
- delay in speaking
- trouble with articulation
- difficulty rhyming
- difficulty following simple directions
- highly distractible
- restless, always in motion
- difficulty changing activities
- difficulty with cause and effect, sequencing, and counting
- difficulty memorizing the alphabet
- trouble discriminating letters, number, and symbols
- difficulty with concepts like size, shape, color
- trouble playing with others, making friends
- difficulty understanding facial expressions, gestures
- prone to outbursts, temper tantrums
- tendency to misinterpret behavior of peers and/or adults
As your child progresses through early childhood, keep these warning signs in mind. If your child is struggling and your intuition tells you something isn’t right, it’s important to have that checked out. Ask your pediatrician or your child’s preschool teacher for their feedback, as they can direct you to a specialist. Early intervention is critical to your child’s success in school.
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