Help and Advice

Do you, or Don’t you Have a Learning Difficulty?

Author Justin Clark, Learning Difficulties Tutor in Brisbane.

Learning difficulties is used almost as a catch all expression, but really what are learning difficulties? Who has and who does not have learning difficulties?

Learning difficulties are an ongoing difficulty in learning to read and write but can also be associated with other areas of learning such as mathematics.  However, learning disabilities are not intellectual impairments which are generally assessed to as having a reduced cognitive or intellectual capacity.  This not only has an impact on learning but on daily functioning as well.

For those with learning difficulties, the barrier which hampers their learning may only be temporary or they have a specific condition which impacts on their learning.  

What are the Causes of Learning Difficulties?

There are many causes attributed to learning difficulties such as hereditary conditions.  However, researches do not know exactly what causes learning disabilities, but they appear to be related to differences in brain structure. There is no one single cause of learning disabilities.  

What Types of Learning Difficulties Are There?

The most common type of learning difficulty is dyslexia.

This is characterized by an unexplained difficulty in reading and is associated with deficits in phonological processing.  Primary school children who are struggling to learn to read are of two kinds. Many of them would learn to read to an age appropriate level if they were exposed to the right kind of reading instruction in the classroom.  However, other children would still be struggling even if they had the best evidence-based classroom instruction in reading. These are children who are often referred to as dyslexic.

Both groups of children require intervention, but the period over which intervention is required and the intensity of the intervention will vary according to the degree of difficulty experienced and its cause. 

Are Learning Difficulties the Same as Learning Disabilities or Learning Disorders?

The distinction between the difficulty in learning to read and difficulty in learning to write and spell is worth making because there are children who are normal readers for their age but poor spellers.  These children are referred to as dysgraphic and struggle at writing and spelling, while not being dyslexic in struggling with reading.

Children who have had difficulty in learning to read but have managed to catch up with their peers as far as reading is concerned often still exhibit poor writing and spelling.  Teachers who refer to students as ‘lazy’ or ‘need to try harder’, may mask specific cognitive, learning, attentional or emotional problems that could explain low motivation in some children.  As a result, special needs of some children may be overlooked because they are simply written off as lazy.

They key component here is classroom engagement in harnessing a child’s motivation to learn.

Is there Help for Children with Learning Difficulties?

There is help for children with learning difficulties.  One of the most important factors is the early identification of children at risk of dyslexia followed by successful needs-based intervention that will aid them in their learning.  Children with learning disabilities can also suffer from low self-esteem.  As a result, they may develop ways of covering up their difficulties as they get older.

It’s important to identify learning disabilities early, and help your child build resilience.  This is a key ability in order to bounce back from problems and setbacks. It’s an important life skill for all children, especially children with learning disabilities.

Hope Tutoring in Brisbane

Justin Clark is a learning difficulties tutor in Brisbane.  He is formally qualified (MEd, MLearningInnovation, BEd, BA), experienced, very patient and supportive – skills which are essential in helping those with learning difficulties.  If you seeking more information in terms of what are learning difficulties, you can contact Justin on 0407 407 233.

what are learning difficulties?

Justin Clark, Learning Difficulties Tutor, Brisbane