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General - Beyond Words - Express India
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Posted on July 22 2009 11:24 PM
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Express News Service
Posted: Jul 22, 2009 at 0452 hrs IST

Vikram, a-seven-year old student in standard II, is bright, with a superior IQ (Intelligence quotient), has excellent oral and expressive language, his concepts in maths are as clear as they could be, but he is still reading as a beginner at first standard level. He is not able to read, write or calculate. His writing has several spelling mistakes and he is not able to write coherent piece of writing. He is excellent at problem solving if the problem is read out to him. He lacks in self-esteem and feels that he is much below the level of his classmates.

Ten-year old Anika is in standard five, but she finds simple words like 'has', 'was' difficult. Consequently she reads like a second standard student. Because of problem in decoding words or poor reading comprehension, she refuses to write and is ashamed of her spelling mistakes. This not only hurts her self-esteem but also mars her creativity that she is blessed with. She is very good at maths, but sometimes reverses numbers (writes 89 as 98) and hence misses the answers to the problems. She is good at art, and very athletic.

These students have a Learning Disability, which is a neurological problem that prevents them from achieving their full potential.

Students with learning disabilities also have problems with attention, anxiety, poor self-esteem, organisation problems and other behavioral and emotional problems. "Learning disabilities include 'dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia," says Dr Laveena Chaudhari Gole from USA, who is in Pune. She conducted workshops on Tuesday and will conduct another on Thursday at KEM hospital.

Learning Disabilities (LD) is a commonly used term for children who are intelligent, or at least have average intelligence, but are functioning at a level, which is two to three standards below than what they should be in school. It is a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do math calculations. It includes perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain damage, dyslexia and developmental aphasia.

It does not include children who have learning problems, which are primarily a result of visual, hearing, motor handicap, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, environmental economic deprivation, cultural deprivation or second language learners.

Many scientists think that Learning Disabilites are caused by mixed signals in the brain. However, the exact cause of LD is not known, but may be caused by problems at birth or in the newborn period, or may be due to heredity.

Teachers and parents have to be supportive, positive, with these children and provide help and support for them so that they can achieve their full potential and lead a successful life.
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