Common learning difficulties and how to deal with them

[:es]Common learning difficulties and how to deal with them[:]

[:es]Learning difficulties appear at very early ages. There are children who suffer some developmental delay, which, without being very significant, may indicate the presence of learning difficulties. Their development and IQ may be within the normal range but still present learning difficulties.


Most common symptoms of children with learning difficulties


  • Motor activity: hyperactivity or hypoactivity, motor clumsiness, difficulty in coordination.
  • Attention: low concentration threshold, dispersion.
  • Mathematics: problems in serialization, inversion of numbers, repeated errors in calculation.
  • Language development: problems in symbolic coding/decoding, reading and writing irregularities, dysgraphia.
  • Emotionality: mild emotional maladjustments, poor self-affirmation.
  • Memory: fixation difficulties, forgetfulness according to atypical curve.
  • Perception: inadequate reproduction of geometric shapes, figure-ground confusion, letter inversions, rotations.
  • Sociability: participatory inhibition, poor social skills, aggressiveness.

Once detected, we must always refer to specialists for a diagnosis.



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But… What are the causes of these learning difficulties?


They are diverse in nature and may occur singly or in combination.

  • Physical origin. It consists of a minimal brain dysfunction, linked to certain brain locations. For example, a dysfunction of the left cerebral hemisphere (seat of language) may explain certain difficulties in verbal learning. A dysfunction of the right hemisphere could be the cause of difficulty in certain graphomotor learning.
  • Psychological. Difficulties are caused by emotional disorders that affect children, which directly affect their cognitive and maturity development.
  • Sociological. The family environment is very important. A home in which children are stimulated will foster their development and abilities. In the same way, a home in which there are deficits of early stimulation, will influence them negatively.


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How to deal with learning difficulties


The first environment where these difficulties are usually detected is in the educational environment. The school will implement resources and individualized programs to meet the special educational needs of these children. Once this phase is over, the child is referred to medical and social specialists. The latter in the case of intrafamily problems.

Prevention is the most important aspect. It implies an improved early education, based on the laws and principles of biological, psychological and social development. The constant improvement of the educational system (curricula, methodologies, psycho-pedagogical training of teachers, etc.), is the example of this.

How to act when learning difficulties are detected

  • Start from a diagnosis correctly formulated by the competent professional. Review the student’s evaluation records to identify specific areas in which the student is having difficulty. Talk to specialists in the school (e.g., special education teachers) about methods for teaching this student.
  • Elaborate a comprehensive reinforcement program adapted to the type of difficulties that really exist.
  • Select significantly productive activities according to the subject’s level of maturity and his or her own learning style.
  • Provide the student with more time to complete school work.
  • Continuously monitor the evolution of learning.
  • Administer positive reinforcement with maximum profusion.
  • Combine a variety of recreational-active methodologies.
  • Avoid both rejection and overprotection.
  • Find out what the student’s potential and interests are and focus on them.
  • Teach organizational skills, study skills, and learning strategies. These help all students, particularly those with learning disabilities.
  • Work with the student’s parents to create a special educational plan to meet the student’s needs. Through regular communication with them, they can exchange information about the student’s progress in school, which is always beneficial to the child.

In conclusion, we can state that the early stages of development must be considered an essential and critical period for the acquisition and development of skills and knowledge. Any deviation or difficulty during the infant stage can lead to the accumulation of lags that will inevitably lead to difficulties in academic skills. Therefore, an early and appropriate action, provides a solution to many of the later problems that may arise throughout the student’s school life.


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