Signs of Learning Disabilities in Children who Struggle with Literacy

With a new school year approaching quickly, you may be wondering if this is the year reading will “click” for your child.  If you wonder why your child struggles so much with reading, let me assure you, you are not alone.

According to several studies and sources, roughly 10 million children around the globe have difficulties learning how to read.  This may be attributed to a variety of reasons, including not having enough access to quality or high interest level books, poor phonological or phonemic awareness, or not receiving personalized instruction for specific learning needs.  

Research from the National Center for Education Statistics report, “In 2019-20, the number of students ages 3–21 who received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was 7.3 million, or 14 percent of all public school students” (, 2021). Learning disabilities can range in varying degrees of difficulty, which can affect children differently, and can encompass a wide range of specific learning needs from visual and hearing impairments; speech and language processing; dyslexia; weak memory skills; ADHD, and more.  If a child has a learning disability, this is by no means any indication of how intelligent a child is, but rather it can be viewed as how a child may see, hear, and process information differently. This can significantly impact how a child learns how to read, completes homework assignments, and studies for tests, which can be a challenging endeavor, and can often lead to children experiencing frustration and anxiety with school work.  

Scientists and educational leaders are constantly evaluating and updating information in order to provide clear direction and answers to why your child may be struggling with reading. An important factor to remember is  if educational professionals and parents identify a learning disability early and the child receives the right kind of prescribed help, this can provide the opportunity to develop the much needed skills for success in school. Therefore, educators and parents need to be aware of the early common signs of a learning disability.   

It is important to note that most students, will experience one or more of these warning signs from time to time, and this is typical.  However, if you see your child is frustrated with schoolwork, or you see several of these signs over a period of time, consider the possibility of a learning disability and seek help. 

If you suspect your child may have a learning disability, please talk to your family pediatrician and your child’s educational professionals.  Therefore, seeking help early, receiving a diagnosis quickly, and implementing explicit instruction to address specific needs, most of these learning issues can be addressed, corrected, and/or show significant improvement in your child’s performance, attitude, and motivation towards school. 

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