Other Specific Learning Differences
Dyspraxia often shows up in children and students as a pattern of delayed, uneven, or aberrant development of physical abilities. The physical abilities affected may be gross or fine motor skills. Gross motor skills would refer to activities involving balance and co-ordination and fine motor skills would refer to activities like manipulation of objects. Dyspraxia in a child may be seen alone or in combination with other developmental problems, particularly apraxia or dyspraxia of speech. Rectification is via early intervention, using physical therapy to improve gross motor skills and occupational therapy to assist in fine motor development and sensory integration.
When children are afflicted by dyspraxia, we often witness impairment or immaturity of the organization of movement, with the child often appearing clumsy Writing is particularly laborious and keyboard skills difficult to acquire. Pronunciation may also be affected and people with dyspraxia may be over and or under sensitive to noise, light and touch. These children may have poor awareness of body position and misread social cues thus coming across as awkward or clumsy.
For Parents, the frustrations to look out for are
Difficulties in dressing and feeding oneself
Inability to follow instructions
Heightened sensitivity to sensory information, e.g. differences in noise and changes in lighting
Dyscalculia exists in a number of different varieties; each involving a specific difficulty in solving mathematical tasks. This learning difficulty makes the most basic aspect of arithmetical skills like, reception, comprehension, or production of quantitative and spatial information an arduous task. Students with dyscalculia may have difficulty in understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers and have problems learning number facts and procedures. They often require extensive mental strain to carry out even simple arithmetic tasks. They count using their fingers as a visual aid far into the upper grades. Children can display difficulty in basic concepts such as telling the time, calculating prices and handling change and estimating and measuring such things as temperature and speed.
The problems of a child with dyscalculia reflect not emotional issues but difficulties in mentally connecting with specific types of thought processes.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).
ADHD can manifest itself in three major sub categories:
These children fidget and squirm in their seats and talk nonstop. They
dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight and
have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
Being constantly in motion they have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.
The child is easily distracted, misses details, forget things, and frequently switches from one activity to another all the while having difficulty maintaining focus on one task.
The child becomes bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable. There is difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new or trouble completing or submitting homework, often losing things (e.g., pencils box, eraser, toys, assignments) which are needed to complete tasks or activities.
The child does not seem to listen when spoken to and appears to daydream, become easily confused, and has difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others. These children struggle to follow instructions.
-Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive
Here the child can come across as very impatient blurt out inappropriate comments, show his / her emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences. There is no concept of taking turns and the child has difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting for their turns in games
ADHD symptoms are especially difficult to define because it is hard to draw the line at where normal levels of child inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity end and clinically significant levels requiring intervention commence.
Dysgraphia can be expressed as a difficulty that a child may experience in writing, regardless of the child’s ability to read, which results in written work that is illegible to the eye and is mostly inaccurately spelled. There can also be a difficulty expressed in coherence of the child. This difficulty can exist in varying degrees and is in no way related to intellectual impairment, as the child may actually be of above average intelligence. What we notice here is a lack of coordination and fine motor skills in the child.
However, it often does not affect all fine motor skills. Children can also lack basic grammar and spelling skills (for example, having difficulties with the letters p, q, b, and d), and often will write the wrong word when trying to formulate thoughts (on paper). In childhood, the disorder generally emerges when the child is first introduced to writing. The child may make inappropriately sized and spaced letters, or write wrong or misspelled words despite thorough instruction.