Child learning difficulty

Child learning difficulty

What is a child learning difficulty?

A child learning difficulty includes a wide variety of issues that are evident in trouble some learners experience in areas such as reading, writing, mathematics, memory, problem-solving, comprehension, attention, etc. and experience problems in school as a result. Having learning difficulties do not mean that a child is of below average intelligence, most often they are of average or above average intelligence.

What are the signs of a child learning difficulty?

Child learning difficulty: On occasion, it might be difficult to identify if a child has learning difficulties and, if suspected, that child should see a psychologist to pinpoint if and what the problem is. It might be hard to identify as there is a number of different issues and no one symptom will be a sure indicator as to the actual problem. Below is a list for common red flags for learning difficulties/disabilities by age groups. It is very important that you keep in mind that a child may have some of these issues at some point in time, but that it does not necessarily mean that they have a learning disability.

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Preschool age

  • Problems pronouncing words
  • Trouble finding the right word
  • Difficulty rhyming
  • Trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, days of the week
  • Difficulty following directions or learning routines
  • Difficulty controlling crayons, pencils, and scissors, or coloring within the lines
  • Trouble with buttons, zippers, snaps, learning to tie shoes

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Ages 5-9

  • Trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds
  • Unable to blend sounds to make words
  • Confuses basic words when reading
  • Slow to learn new skills
  • Consistently misspells words and makes frequent errors
  • Trouble learning basic math concepts
  • Difficulty telling time and remembering sequences

Signs and symptoms of learning disabilities: Ages 10-13

  • Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills
  • Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems
  • Dislikes reading and writing; avoids reading aloud
  • Poor handwriting
  • Poor organizational skills (bedroom, homework, desk is messy and disorganized)
  • Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud
  • Spells the same word differently in a single document


What are the most common learning disabilities or disorders?

  1. Dyslexia

Dyslexia affects a child’s reading and comprehension. Dyslexia does not look the same for all children. Some children have trouble with phonemic awareness – struggling to break down words according to sound, or phonological processing – problems telling apart similar word sounds (Masters in Special Education). Other issues show in fluency, spelling, comprehension and more, children may have one or multiple reading issues (Masters in Special Education).

  1. ADHD

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder also affect a great amount of learners. Their learning difficulties stem from having trouble paying attention and staying on task. These learners often have trouble adapting well in a traditional school setting and this leads to underperformance.

  1. Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a disorder that particularly affects one’s math capabilities. There is a range of difficulties this poses for learning, from being unable to order numbers correctly to limited problem solving capabilities (Masters in Special Education).

  1. Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia refers to problems with either the physical act of writing, or written expression. Physically, a student may hold a pencil incorrectly or have a tense posture, which is tiresome and discouraging (Masters in Special Education). Issues with written expression, relates to trouble organizing thoughts coherently and students may have difficulty with sentence structures and grammar (Masters in Special Education).

  1. Processing Deficits

Some learners also experience problems with making sense of sensory data, most often visual and auditory issues.

How can a child learning difficulty affect a child out of the academic context?

Due to the implications of a student’s learning difficulties, the following may also occur:

  • Little or no motivation.
  • Low self esteem and confidence.
  • Trouble understanding jokes and figurative language.
  • Struggles to communicate effectively.
  • Bullying or being bullied.
  • Issues with self regulation and behaviour, “acting out”.
  • Heightened anxiety and stress.

The good news is that Catch Up Kids has a broad curriculum and a research-based methodology, and can assist your child build skills in the areas that are deficit and devise and implement compensatory strategies to prevent the gap from widening in the meantime.

Works Cited (n.d.). Learning Disabilities and Disorders. Retrieved January 2019, from Help Guide:

Masters in Special Education. (n.d.). 5 Most Common Learning Disabilities. Retrieved January 2019, from Masters in Special Education Degree Program Guide: