According to Neuwirth (1993), learning disabilities hamper the potential of the students to learn optimally. These disabilities tend to lock in the potential of the children, even though they may be well endowed intellectually. It is postulated that a child with disability consistently falls behind, despite trying very hard to catch up with the rest of the children in school.
Most of these learning disabilities stem from the nervous system. Some of these conditions are hereditary but others may result from the environmental factors that the children interact with.
A child having a problem in the nervous system will have a problem with receiving, synthesizing, and transmitting information. Some of the issues that could point to a problem in the nervous system include inability to sit still, inability to concentrate, and hyperactivity.
It has been postulated that learning disabilities plays a very major role in affecting the ability of the child to learn successfully. Therefore, the relevant stakeholders must play a very critical role in helping the affected children to learn successfully.
The first step in solving this problem is to ensure parents and teachers evaluate the children to assess if they have learning disability (Grant, Ramcharan and Flynn, 2010). If the problem is detected early enough, the child can be helped and continue with learning normally.
Statement of the Problem
This research aims to investigate whether learning disabilities can significantly affect the ability of the child to learn successfully. In addition, the paper will investigate any methods that could be used to lessen the impacts of learning disabilities during the learning process.
Significance of Study
The study will play a major role in shedding right on the effects of learning disabilities on the children. More importantly, it will help in determining whether learning disabilities permanently affect the ability of the child to learn.
The following research questions will be used in achieving the objectives:
- What is the role of learning disabilities in affecting the ability of the students to learn?
- What are the most common symptoms of learning disabilities?
- Is it possible to overcome the challenges that are associated with learning disabilities?
Review of Literature
Waber (2011) argues that learning disability is a term that is used to describe particular learning problems that hamper the ability of a child to learn efficiently. In most cases, reading, writing, listening, speaking and solving problems involving calculations are the main areas in which students with disabilities struggle to excel. However, it must be appreciated that learning disabilities vary from one child to another.
The symptoms and effects of the learning disabilities are not the same to all victims. For instance, one child could be affected by the learning disability to the extent that it cannot write. Another child could be completely unable to handle simple mathematics problems. This implies that even the severity of this condition varies from one child to another.
Researchers argue that learning disabilities result from how the brain functions and how it synthesizes information. If the way the brains work has a problem, the children are likely to experience difficulties in learning. There is a misconception that the children that are afflicted by this condition are not intelligent. This is far from the truth because some of these children are intellectually gifted.
The major difference between the children that are afflicted by learning disability is that they tend to process information differently. There is no known cure for this condition. However, they can be taught ways of getting around this problem, and they can even become high achievers in school (Waber, 2011).
According to Kass and Maddux (2005), about 20% of the children are suffering from this condition. In fact, it is said that a majority of children receiving special education suffer from learning disabilities. It should be understood that there is no single sign that can be relied upon in detecting whether a child is suffering from this condition or not.
Consequently, the experts evaluate the potential of the child against what he has been able to achieve in school. For instance, if a child is of above average intelligence, and he fails to pass even the most basic test, this could be a sign suffering from a learning disability. Most of the symptoms that shows that a child has learning disability are noted when a child is in the elemental stages of learning.
There are some symptoms that could show that a child has a learning disability. These symptoms include the child’s inability to learn the alphabet, or even rhyming words, and having a difficulty connecting letters to the corresponding sounds. Additionally, those children could be having a problem with reading exercises in class. A child could also be having a problem in understanding what he reads (Kass and Maddux, 2005).
The reason why learning disabilities are noted in school is because the child is expected to perform activities that may be difficult to handle. These activities may include reading, writing, reasoning, and doing mathematics.
For this reason, the teachers and parents may notice that the child is not learning as expected. Research shows that, if those children are accorded the right assistance, they can learn successfully like the normal children. Towards this end, the teachers and parents can make use of “assistive technology”. This technology can be used to help the child to perform activities such as reading and writing.
To ensure that the child overcomes the challenges that are associated with learning disabilities, the parents and teachers must cooperate in assisting the child. It must also be appreciated that learning disability does not imply that the child is inferior intellectually. This can be illustrated by the fact that some of the most successful people in the world, like Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein, had learning disabilities.
Westwood (2004) contends that learning disabilities can broadly be classified into two categories. These are verbal and non-verbal disabilities. Comprehending written and spoken words are the main areas that are affected by verbal learning disabilities. An example of a verbal learning disability is dyslexia.
This condition impacts on the ability of the child to recognize letters, and to identify the sounds that are associated with those letters. This affects the ability of the child to do assignments that involve either writing or reading. However, some children with verbal learning disabilities may not have trouble with either writing or reading, but they may have a challenge when it comes to understanding the meaning of words.
On the other hand, those children with non-verbal learning disabilities may have difficulty in deriving meaning from the images that they may come across.
For example, an affected child may not be able to distinguish between various mathematical signs, and carry out the right operations that are associated with those signs. Other children with learning disorders may have very short attention spans that may be a hindrance in their learning process (Westwood, 2004).
Identification of the type of learning disability that the child could be suffering from will help both the parent and teachers to come up with the right method to ensure that the child learns successfully. It should be noted that Learning disabilities do not imply that the child is mentally challenged. However, leaning disabilities affect the manner in which those children process and synthesize information.
The research will rely on the survey method to collect the data that is needed. Based on this method, a sample of those parents and teachers who are involved in dealing with children with learning disabilities will be studied. This will be coupled with the information which will be identified in the literature review.
The participants in this study will be those parents that have children with learning disabilities as well as those teachers who teach such students. These are the people who are able to give the most relevant information that is required in this study.
The research will make use of the questionnaire that will help gather information regarding the effects of learning disorders. The questions that will feature will include the effects of leaning disorders and methods that can be used to overcome the associated challenges. For this reason, the questionnaire will make use of open ended questions.
The design that will be adopted in this research will entail identification of the problem that is being investigated. Towards this end, the research will primarily focus on addressing the research questions. This will ensure the collection of the most relevant data. Additionally, these research questions determine the type of questions that will be posed by the questionnaire.
From the literature review, it is clear that learning disabilities affect the ability of the children to learn. In fact, it has been postulated that there are two types of learning disabilities that affect children. These include verbal and non-verbal learning disabilities.
For this reason, the child is either going to be affected in terms of recognizing the letters and the sounds that are associated with those letters. The child may also be unable to identify the meaning of a particular symbol.
However, it must be appreciated that if the learning disability is identified in a child, it is possible for both parents and teachers to help the child to go around this problem and learn successfully. For this reason, learning disability does not have to spell doom on the learning outcomes of the affected child.
Therefore, it is important for all the relevant stakeholders to devise ways of identifying this problem in the early stages of the learning process, and help the child to learn successful despite having the condition.
The study reveals that learning disabilities can affect the manner in which a child learns. Therefore, once a child has been found to be suffering from the condition, he should be helped to overcome the challenge. This implies that it is possible for the children to learn successfully despite having a learning disability.
Grant, G., Ramcharan, P. and Flynn, M. (2010). Learning Disability. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill International.
Kass, C., and Maddux, C. (2005). A Human Development View Of Learning Disabilities: From Theory To Practice. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas Publisher.
Neuwirth, S. (1993). Learning Disabilities. Darby, PA: Diane Publishing.
Waber, D. (2011). Rethinking Learning Disabilities: Understanding Children Who Struggle in School. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Westwood, P. (2004). Learning and Learning Difficulties: A Handbook for Teachers. Victoria, Australia: ACER Press.