Learning difficulties refer to difficulty in acquiring academic skills like reading, writing and math. It can be caused by internal factors like intellectual disability, neurological, physical or sensory impairment. External factors such as family, communities, opportunities and inadequate environmental experiences affect a person’s ability to learn.
Internal factors are inherent to the individual and usually affect the person for life. “Specific learning difficulties” is an umbrella term used to describe a number of difficulties. SpLD are neurologically based processing problems that can cause a person to learn differently. These processing problems can get in the way of learning basic skills such as reading, writing or math. It does not affect general intelligence but it can affect a person’s life beyond academics and can impact relationships and the workplace.
SPECIFIC LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
Auditory Processing Disorder – is an ear brain connection impairment that does not show as hearing loss. People with APD have normal hearing but they have difficulty making sense of what they hear. They do not recognise the subtle differences between sounds in words usually mishear words like “free” for “three”. They also have difficulty understanding words in the presence of a background noise. The ability to hear things correctly greatly affects the ability to read, write and do math.
Visual processing difficulty – when a person undergoes a vision test and doesn’t see the difference between a triangle and a square, his eyes may not be the problem. The problem is his visual processing skills. This difficulty affects the understanding of information or the ability to draw or copy. People with this difficulty struggles with holding a pencil, cutting and have poor eye hand coordination. It can also cause problems with doing ordinary things like sorting socks or playing a ball.
Learning difficulty in reading
Dyslexia – this learning disability affects reading and other language based processing skills. It can affect fluency in reading, decoding, reading comprehension, writing, spelling, recall and sometimes speech. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate or fluent recognition of words and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. Most sufferers have difficulty making letter-sound connections, thus inhibiting reading development.
Learning difficulty in math
Dyscalculia – learning difficulty that affects a person’s ability to understand number concept. Those who suffer from dyscalculia commonly have visual and language processing difficulties. They have problem understanding what they see and hear which affects their ability to understand math. A person with dyscalculia may struggle with memorizing and organizing numbers, operation signs and number facts. He may also have trouble with counting principles and has difficulty telling time.
Learning difficulty in writing
Dysgraphia – learning difficulty in writing can involve the physical act of writing or ability to comprehend and synthesize information. Motor dysgraphia is physical handwriting difficulty like writing letters and words. This is associated with motor coordination impairment. Language-based dysgraphia is difficulty in constructing meaningful and coherent written expression. The problem is more on perception; they have difficulty sequencing thus they write backwards or out of order. Many people with dysgraphia also have dyslexia.
Learning difficulty in language
Aphasia – learning difficulty that affects language and communication learning, it involves the ability to understand or produce spoken language. There is a difficulty attaching meaning to sound groups that forms words and sentences. Sufferers have difficulty speaking, understanding, reading and writing.