Learning disorders symptoms in young pupils

A child with learning disorders is far behind in learning how to read and write or mathematics compared to his/her mental capacities and to the number of exercises solved at home and in school. Difficulties occur starting the first weeks in first grade.

Reading disorder (dyslexia)

▪ The child reads extremely slowly;

▪ Makes many mistakes when reading words, texts:

– Confuses letters – especially the ones with similar graphics (e.g.: u-n, b-d, f-t ) or the ones phonetically similar (e.g.: f-v, s-z );

– Omits or adds letters, syllables, words;

– Reads certain syllables, short words backwards (right to left);

– Often reads words in a twisted manner;

– Reads with difficulty, syllabifying long words;

▪ Partially understands the contents of a text;

▪ Frequently mistakes the line when reading the text;

▪ Is unsure about using certain re-learnt letters;

▪ Finds no pleasure in reading, avoids reading, as much as possible;

▪ Gets very tired while reading, often refuses to read or starts crying;

▪ Had difficulties in and slowly learnt letters in the 1st grade;

▪ Had difficulties in learning to read syllables.

According to Meixner’s definition, dyslexic children are the ones for whom the reading rate is below average or who make more mistakes than the average or have difficulties understanding text.

Writing disorder (dysgraphia)

▪ The writing rate is too low, requires time above the average to fulfill written tasks;

▪ Makes many mistakes when writing:

– Mistakes similar to the ones in reading;

– Confuses letters (repeated or occasional confusions);

– Confuses letters with similar initial writing patterns or letters with similar written forms;

– Often stops while writing to think of the next letter’s shape;

– Omits or adds letters, syllables;

– Omits or writes the same word several times in a sentence;

– Does not leave spaces between words or even writes the same sentence as a single word;

– Reverses syllables;

– Writes senseless words based on phonetic similarities;

– Does not syllabify correctly;

▪ Bad, untidy, illegible calligraphy, scrabbled notebook;

▪ When writing after dictation remains behind compared to the other class mates, has difficulties in remembering the dictated sentence;

▪ Incorrectly copies the text from the blackboard at school;

▪ Does not use the learnt grammar rules when writing;

▪ Has difficulties in making up sentences, sentences are grammatically incorrect (compositions), meaningless, despite the fact that he/she can verbally make correct sentences;

▪ Finds no pleasure in writing, is difficult to motivate to fulfill writing-related tasks;

Calculating disorder (dyscalculia)

▪ The notion of quantity isn’t formed;

▪ Finds it difficult to carry out the four basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division);

▪ Calculates slowly and uncertain;

▪ Is unable to learn the multiplication table, despite of countless repetitions;

▪ Has difficulty remembering mathematical expressions, rules;

▪ Has errors in writing dictated figures and difficulty reading written figures;

▪ Has difficulties in correctly copying figures;

▪ Finds it difficult to learn the order of numbers, omits, changes the places of numbers in an increasing or decreasing order;

▪ Omits, writes in the wrong places or changes the place of figures when solving exercises or problems;

▪ Does not understand mathematical problems, cannot translate into mathematical language, state the essential, is unable to individually start solving problems;

▪ Mistakes the operations’ order;

▪ Low arithmetic capacity is not explained through mental retard, or through inadequate learning.

Attitude towards studying, studying style peculiarities

▪ Often fails to understand tasks or only manages to solve them with the help, guidancee of an adult;

▪ Has low foreign language learning abilities;

▪ Finds hearing learning methods easier;

▪ Has difficulties in learning new words;

▪ Gets tired quickly, cannot focus for a long period of time on the same task;

▪ He/she is easily distracted by the surrounding stimuli;

▪ The sense of responsibility is not developed, he/she is difficult to motivate for fulfilling tasks.

▪ Works slowly, needs longer time than his/her colleagues to fulfill certain tasks;

▪ Studying until late in the evening becomes a daily custom;

▪ Invents anything else to postpone studying;

▪ Has results below expectations in writing and reading subjects;

▪ Is more interested in practical subjects;

▪ Must study excessively in order to attain school expectations;

▪ Spends a lot of time and energy to study, but despite countless exercises, the results are not the ones expected;

▪ Permanent stress related to studying at home also influences the parent-child relationship.

Partial capacities disorders

Children with learning disorders feature weak development of the following capacities:

speech: extended and difficult to correct dyslalie, poor vocabulary, poor expression capacity, difficulties in finding words, dysgrammatism, poor development of the speaking perception, difficulty in understanding speech, low rhythm and musicality sense;

auditory perception: disorder of the background-shape auditory perception, of the auditory differentiation capacity and auditory analysis capacity;

visual perception: disorder of the background-shape visual perception, of the visual differentiation capacity, of the visual analysis capacity, poor development of the eye-hand coordination;

motion: poor development of wide movements, sense of balance, fine movement, manual dexterity, poor development of graphomotricity;

bodily structure: undeveloped sidedness or crossed sidedness, uncertain bodily structure;

orientation in space and time: space orientation disorder, time orientation disorder;

attentiveness: attention disorders;

memory: auditory memory disorders, visual memory disorders;

writing: writing disorders – ordering problems.

These weak capacities, which can be noted ever since the pre-school period, are present throughout the school period.

Signs that can be noted in the dyslexic child’s behavior

▪ Finds it hard to adapt to the school conditions, to the class rules. The schoolmistress often complains about the child’s behavior;

▪ Avoids fulfilling certain tasks, they are too difficult and he/she cannot fulfill them, cannot keep the pace with his/her colleagues;

▪ Develops various defense and removal mechanisms, such as: refusing school activities, lying (does not have any homework, does not have anything to study, “loses” the school report);

▪ The registered performance is fluctuating, the child gets tired very quickly;

▪ Has difficulties in organizing daily activities, keeping things in order. His/her desk is always untidy. Clothes and personal items are spread in the classroom, in the room. It is almost impossible to teach him/her to maintain order.

▪ The child is disappointed, moody, impossible to motivate towards studying. Failures can cause extreme emotional statuses and behaviors.

▪ He/she is characterized through behavior disorders: some compensate their failures through a tough attitude, clownery, aggressiveness, arguing, envy, derision, behavior that disturbs classes, the purpose being that of keeping the focus on him/her. Other children become extremely introverted, apprehensive, anxious, depressive, frustrated.

▪ School failures can lead to self-confidence disorders;

▪ Somatic and neurotic symptoms can occur: headaches, stomachaches, nausea, bulimia, sleeping disorders, allergies, tics, babbling, nail-biting, enuresis, frequent short-term diseases, etc.