Language-based Learning Disability
Author: Thomas C. Weiss
Synopsis and Key Points:
Language-based learning disabilities involve age-appropriate spelling writing and or reading issues.
Main DigestLanguage-based learning disabilities involve age-appropriate spelling, writing, and/or reading issues.
The disability does not involve the intelligence of the person involved. The majority of people who are diagnosed with learning disabilities have average to above-average levels of intelligence.
Signs and Symptoms of Language-based Learning Disability
Dyslexia is a form of disability that refers to a particular learning difficulty with reading.
The term, 'language-based learning disability,' or simply, 'learning disability,' is a better term of reference due to the relationship between written and spoken language. Many children who experience reading difficulties also experience trouble with spoken language.
Children who experience dyslexia may have difficulties nearly entirely with printed or written words. Children with dyslexia as a part of a larger range of learning disability may have difficulties with both written and spoken words.
The difficulties might involve a number of additional things, such as:
- Telling time
- Numbers and letters
- Learning the alphabet
- Memorization of the times tables
- Recollection of numbers in sequence
- Comprehension of reading materials
- Expression of ideas in a clear manner
- Learning the words to rhymes or songs
- Learning new vocabulary they hear or see
- Following directions that are read or heard
- Understanding questions that are read or heard
- Mixing up the order of numbers during calculations
- Identification of the sounds corresponding to letters
- Mixing up the order of the letters in words while writing
- Distinguishing between left and right, making reading more difficult
- Understanding and retention of details from a story's plot, or lecture
Diagnosing Language-based Learning Disability
A speech-language pathologist, or 'SLP,' is a member of a team that consists of parents, educational professionals, caregivers, and a psychologist. The SLP evaluates the speaking, written, listening and reading abilities of children who have been identified by parents or educators as potentially experiencing learning difficulties. Children who are still in preschool may find an SLP pursuing any, or perhaps all, of the following things:
- Study the child's awareness of print
- Observe the child's classroom activities
- Determine if the child writes and recognizes letters
- Determine of the child demonstrates, 'pretend writing'
- Observe if the child both writes and recognizes names
- Observe the child's recognition of familiar logos and signs
- Observe if the child holds books properly and turns pages
- Determine if the child has the ability to tell if two words rhyme
- Evaluate the child's ability to pay attention to written information
- Have the child either clap out or tap the different syllables in words
- Evaluate the child's ability to comprehend both written and verbal directions
- Collect information concerning the literacy experiences of the child in their home
Where older children with language-based learning disability are concerned, an SLP might also determine whether or not the child can both read and understand information from textbooks and handouts. The SLP may assess the child's ability to hear and, 'play with,' sounds in an attempt to determine their phonological awareness skills. Determining how the child puts together syllables and sounds to make words, and how they break up a word into syllables and sounds, as well as how the child's phonological memory performs by having them repeat strings of numbers, letters, and words, are other things an SLP might do.
An SLP will present a complete language evaluation of every child they work with, looking at the child's articulation and executive functioning. Executive functioning involves the ability to not only plan, but organize and pay attention to details.
Treatments for Language-based Learning Disability
Treatment for language-based learning disability includes goals for children with reading difficulties that target specific aspects of both reading and writing that the child is missing. As an example; if the child has the ability to read words, yet finds they cannot understand the details of what they have read, their reading comprehension is approached. Should a younger child experience difficulties with differentiating between sounds that make up words, treatment would then focus on activities that build their growth in this particular area.
Individualized programs that are created for the child are always related to school work. Because of this, materials for treatment come from, or are directly related to, the content of the child's class work. The child is taught to apply new language strategies to their classroom assignments and activities. To best assist the child, an SLP might work alongside the child in their classroom.
Treatment related to spoken language involves both listening and speaking and may also be designed to support of the child's written language. As an example; after listening to a tale, the child might be asked to both state and write answers to questions related to it. The child might be asked to give both a verbal and written summary of the tale.
The child's articulation, or pronunciation needs, are treated in a manner that supports their written language. As an example; should the child be practicing saying words to improve their pronunciation of specific sounds, they might be asked to read words from a printed list related to those sounds.
An SLP both consults with and collaborates with educators to develop the use of techniques and strategies in a child's classroom. The SLP might, for example, assist a teacher with the modification of new materials to be presented in lessons that accommodate a child's comprehension needs. The SLP might also demonstrate planning strategies a child uses in order to both organize and focus on written assignments.
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