Common Questions about Clifton

What is a Language-Based Learning Difference?

  • Learning Disability (LD) is a general term used to describe a variety of learning difficulties.
  • Students struggle with reading and writing, avoid school, and have difficulty communicating.
  • According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, 1 out of every 5 people in the United States have a learning difference.

LD is what I have, not WHO I am!

  • Children with learning disabilities are often extremely smart. They can use their strengths/abilities to hide certain difficulties.
  • Signs of an LD usually appear before children are expected to read and write.

What can parents look for?

  • If you notice your 3- to 5-year-old having difficulty rhyming words, singing the alphabet song, or mispronouncing words more than other children their age do, these could be signs of a learning disability.
  • Mispronouncing words
  • Word substitutions
  • Poor spelling
  • Difficulty copying shapes, letters, and words
  • Letter and word reversals after 7 years of age.

Although these signs may indicate your child has an LD, be sure to first rule out visual impairment, which may cause reading difficulties. Have your child evaluated by a developmental optometrist to make sure glasses aren’t the solution, and always seek a professional for more opinions or an evaluation.

Types of Learning Disabilities

  • Dyslexia – Dyslexia is a language-based disorder, not a visual problem that causes children to reverse letters. Individuals with dyslexia may have challenges with reading, spelling, writing, in addition to, understanding and expressing language.
  • Dyscalculia- Dyscalculia refers to difficulty with mathematics, such as computing, remembering math facts, and learning time and money concepts. The signs of dyscalculia change over time. Very young children may struggle with learning to count; school-aged children may reverse numbers and misalign columns. This type of LD affects functional skills such as playing board games, counting money, or measuring things.
  • Dysgraphia – Dysgraphia refers to difficulty with the task of writing. Children with dysgraphia struggle to organize letters, words, and numbers on a page.
  • Dyspraxia – Dyspraxia refers to difficulty with fine motor skills, such as controlling a pencil, grasping scissors, and hand-eye coordination. Parents may observe early signs of dyspraxia in a baby who does not imitate waving and pointing. Dyspraxia also affects gross motor skills such as the coordination to ride a bike or play sports.
  • Auditory Processing Disorder – Children with auditory processing disorders have difficulty with interpreting auditory information related to language development and reading. Parents and teachers might observe difficulties with discriminating similar sounds and words, following directions, and distinguishing important sounds (such as the teacher’s voice) from background sounds (such as paper crinkling).
  • Sensory Processing Disorder – Learning disabilities affect the brain’s ability to take in information, process it, and use it in a functional manner such as reading, writing, or following directions. Uncomfortable experiences such as hypersensitivity to noise, the glare of overhead classroom lighting, ‘scratchy’ clothing textures, and even the smell of classmates or school supplies can make focusing and concentrating quite difficult.
  • Visual Processing Disorder – Visual processing disorders involve difficulties interpreting visual information related to reading, writing, and math. Children with this type of LD might have a problem discerning visual similarities and differences. Other signs of a visual processing disorder include difficulties sequencing symbols, words or images, and spelling.

How is a Learning Difference Diagnosed?

Teachers typically request educational testing to understand why a student is not working up to his potential.   The discrepancy between a student’s aptitude and actual academic performance is a hallmark of a learning difference. Full Psycho-educational assessments can diagnose specific learning disabilities. Parents may also choose a private evaluation by a neuropsychologist or psychologist who is qualified to provide a diagnosis.  Although developmental or learning challenges may be observed in younger children, learning disabilities are typically identified in school-aged children when academic demands increase and skills are closely monitored.

What are Common School Interventions?

Learning differences vary in terms of severity, with sensory systems (e.g., visual, motor or auditory) and functions (e.g., difficulty speaking, reading, or writing) being affected. 

A team approach to interventions is best to address the child’s complex learning needs.  Once a diagnosis is made, collaboration with the classroom teacher, school, speech therapist, and/or occupational therapist is critical. Many students can receive accommodations through their currently enrolled school.  However, some students need a targeted and prescriptive curriculum in an alternative educational setting. This is where Holy Trinity Clifton School can support your child! We are a Catholic School who specialize in servicing children who learn differently.

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” 

All information provided by LDA of America.