Does My Child Have a Learning Disability or Learning Problem?
Bonnie Terry, recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist, speaks on the FOX News Morning Show explaining the difference between a learning problem and learning disability. Then she gives you several steps you can take to help your child improve their skills in just minutes a day.
(There is more information on what is considered a learning problem vs a learning disability and how to improve learning skills below the video.)
Is their a difference between a learning disability and a learning problem?
Many people don't realize this, but their is a difference between a learning disability and a learning problem. A learning disability is when you have a cluster of learning problems that impact learning. Additionally, the difference between a learning disability and a learning problem is how much the problem interferes with learning. It is the degree of the problem – and you can be gifted and have a problem and end up working harder than you need to. Homework time can be long and almost painful when there is something interfering with your learning.We actually have a quick way to find out the root cause of why you or your child may struggle with learning.
Are there any tell-tale signs of learning problems that may be part of a learning disability?
When a student takes too long to do their homework, when they don’t like reading or don’t like math – those are learning problems that may warrant looking at because there is a reason for your child to not like a particular subject or taking too long to do homework.
For example, children want to learn how to walk and talk – and even read early on, but when reading is hard, they decide they don’t like it – they don’t even know that it is hard – they just prefer not to do it. Same thing with math, when you don’t like math, it’s because something is interfering and making it harder than it needs to be. When you have a cluster of those learning problems, that's when they become a learning disability.
What can a parent can do to help their child improve their skills even if they have a learning problem or a learning disability?
There are several things parents can do to help their child with learning problems or a learning disability. For example, when your child reads, do they do so with ease? Or do they skip words, repeat words, or struggle to say the word?
Do they read smoothly? The ability to read smoothly with ease is necessary for reading success. You can do reading fluency training with your child very easily in just five minutes a day. We use our Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills for that. After spending five minutes improving your child's reading fluency we suggest that you play games like the Comprehension Zone. This game is played for reading as well as listening comprehension. Just playing the game will improve your child's comprehension skills. Finally, you can teach your child study skills – we do that with our Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills, and of course, read with your child.
We always hear that it’s important to read with your child – that just reading more will help – is there a special way to do that that will make a bigger difference?
It is very important to read with your child on a regular basis. There is a particular way to read with your child that will improve their learning skills rapidly. The key is to ask the right questions after you have read together.
You can actually even just read a few paragraphs or a few pages and then ask the usual suspects – the who, what, when, where, how, and why BUT then you need to ask about sizes, shapes, colors, scenery, movement, and mood. Those questions help one to visualize what you read or listened too. That’s when you get true comprehension – when you can picture what you have read or listened too.
You can have your child write those things down in the fill-in-the-blank graphic organizers that are found in our Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills too, because writing is the doing part of thinking.
Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET, Board Certified Educational Therapist #10167, is the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com considered one of the top experts in the country in helping teachers and parents identify their students’ learning difficulties and whether they have a learning disability.
Remember, with just a few minutes a day you can help your child with their learning skills even if they have a learning problem or a learning disability!