Learning disabilities amongst the students

Dr. M. C. Jain

M.A. Ph.D. (Psychology)
Ex-Associate Professor, NCERT

“Learning disability “is a very common word which we usually come across in the class room situation. It indicates limited ability in learning. When a child or a person is having inadequacy or limited ability in learning a wide variety of tasks involving different levels of intellectual functioning he can be can be considered to have general mental retardation. On the other hand if the limitation is restricted to certain areas of learning, especially language and number related areas, he can be considered to have learning disability. In order to differentiate the two kinds of limitations, of the term “ General Learning Disability” is suggested as a equivalent for mental retardation and the term “Specific Learning Disability “for disabilities observed only in certain areas of learning . The specific learning disabilities are usually indicated as reading disability, writing disability etc. In fact learning disability is retardation, disorder, or delayed develop spelling, writing or arithmetic. These problems are due to disorder or deficiency in any one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language. They do not include learning problems which are due primarily to visual, hearing or motor handicaps, mental retardation, and emotional disturbance or to adverse environment factors.

Learning disabled children generally have normal or above average intellectual ability. It means they reach most of the developmental milestones at the appropriate age level or even sometimes earlier. They are benefited by casual experiences in their life and acquired knowledge and skills essential for leading normal life. Usually they are not easily differentiated from normal population .They may go undetected till they experience continuous failure in academic skill. But a closer look at them reveal that they have certain characteristics which though observe among other children of same age and intelligence, are manifested in their behavior to a significantly greater extent than others. These characteristic may be persistent for a longer time in their life time than others. The acknowledge of such characteristic and their behavioral manifestation are useful in identifying the learning disabled at a very early stage itself .Such an early identification helps in taking proper remedial measures at the right time, so that further problems like hyperactive, hypo active, inadequate coordination, poor tactile kinesthetic discrimination, poor visual discrimination etc. etc. can be either prevented or at least reduced considerably.

Some suggestions for the Parents and Teachers for overcoming behavioural problems among Learning Disabled children —-

Learning disabled children exhibit difficulty in self –discipline in relation to himself as well as in relation to others. More specifically they deficiency in the ability to cooperate to pay attention , ability to organize , ability to cope with new situations, social acceptance ,ability to accept responsibility ,completion of assignments and tactfulness.

1. Observe carefully how the child behaves while undertaking an individual or a group work, and see whether the child has adequacy in the required personal and social skills to successfully complete the task. Make a note of the strengths and weaknesses of the child.

2. To create a situations which enhance the possibilities for application of a particular skill or set of skills.

3. To develop ability to organize the child should be helped to analyze the task in hand into different sub-task and to mentally organize them keeping in mind the sequence of the sub-tasks, materials required, availability of time and space to carry out them.

4. The child should be made realized that there is pleasure in accepting the responsibility and carryout it successfully.

5. The social skills like cooperation and tactfulness can be developed through group activities and social situations that will be there in the normal course of life within and outside the school.

6. In order to enhance the meaningful and active participation of learning disabled children in parties, excursions, etc. it is better to discuss about these programme in the class-room situation and in the home environment.

7. Development of cognitive skills like concept development, comprehension, perception, memory, integration, analysis and synthesis ,academic skills like reading, writing , arithmetic and social skills like cooperation, tactfulness, acceptance or responsibility , completion of assignment adjusting to new situation ,social acceptance need not be achieved in isolation.

8. The routine activities- and extra-curricular activities can be made use of for the development of various abilities. The plays/games are especially useful in this direction. Instead of letting the child to play themselves teachers/parents should also involve themselves in the games and give directions to the child.