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Could My Child Have a Learning Disability?

March 22, 2018 | Family Medicine

Nutrition for Children

All children learn and grow at a different pace—some children may be take longer to develop reading and writing skills than others, but a slower pace is not necessarily a sign that your child has a learning disability.

If your child’s difficulties continue over a significant period of time, however, a learning disability could be present. Here are common signs of learning disabilities in both adults and children, plus signs for a few specific learning disabilities to be aware of.

General Signs of a Learning Disability

Common signs that a person may have a learning disability include:

  • Problems with memory
  • Trouble reading, writing or performing basic math skills
  • Difficulty paying attention or following directions that are given
  • Issues related to time or organization
  • Lack of coordination

Children with a learning disability exhibit common behaviors. These include:

  • Frequently distracted and difficulty listening to directions
  • Negative behavior
  • Issues with school performance
  • Trouble finding the right words when speaking, or understanding simple words and concepts
  • Inappropriate social or school-related responses
  • Immature speaking
  • Issues handling new things in life

While these might be signs of a learning disability, an examination by a professional is needed before a diagnosis can be confirmed.

Common Learning Disorders


Dyslexia is a condition in which people struggle to connect letters and sounds. They have problems recognizing words, and reading may be difficult. Symptoms occur in the following areas:

  • Slowness: Delayed speaking ability, slow reading, slowness learning songs or foreign languages, and a tendency to give up on long reading projects.
  • Understanding: This can include issues with understanding what people are saying, picking up questions or directions, or confusing left and right.
  • Speaking: Trouble with self-expression, delayed speaking ability, trouble learning new words.
  • Issues with organizing written versus spoken language and trouble spelling.
  • Difficulty with sequenced numbers, such as phone numbers or PIN numbers.


Dyscalculia is a numbers-related condition that causes people to struggle with simple mathematical concepts. Symptoms may include:

  • Issues with basic areas like number lines, fractions, or negative numbers.
  • Difficulty with cash transactions or other real-world math.
  • Difficulty recognizing information sequences, writing math problems on paper or verbally describing math.
  • Trouble with number-oriented word problems.
  • Issues capturing time sequencing within events.


Those who struggle specifically with writing may have dysgraphia, which can cause people to maintain very poor handwriting well past childhood. Other signs include:

  • Trouble writing ideas down or writing thoughts in a logical sequence.
  • Issues with grammar or omission of words when writing.
  • Strong dislike of writing or drawing, or a quick loss of energy when these tasks are required.
  • Regularly needing to say words out loud while writing them.


Dyspraxia describes a condition related to coordination and motor tasks, with symptoms that include:

  • Poor balance
  • Problems with hand-eye coordination and tasks related to it
  • Commonly breaking things
  • Issues with organization
  • Sensitivity to loud or repeated noises, or to touch

Your family doctor can offer further recommendations if you are worried your child has a learning disability.


Revere Health Orem Family Medicine is devoted to comprehensive healthcare for patients of all ages and providing thorough and timely healthcare for the entire family throughout all stages of life.



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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.