Most commonly, either a parent or teacher first suspects a learning difficulty when a child is in the early years of primary school. However, there may be some signs of difficulty much earlier in development, especially if the learning disability affects spoken language.
Children are expected to reach certain “milestones” of development such as the first word, the first step, and so on. The first sign of a learning disability may be noticed by observing delays in the child’s skill development around language, attention and learning in the early years. For example, children may show difficulties in following directions, or may have a short attention span or memory problems.
Learning disabilities are not as obvious to others as physical disabilities. In addition, individuals with learning disabilities can become very good at covering up their difficulties so they are not apparent to others. As a result, children with learning disabilities may not be seen to be struggling until adolescence or even adulthood. By this time it is likely that they will have significantly fallen behind in their learning. Therefore, it is important if parents or teachers suspect that a child is experiencing difficulties in learning that the child is referred for detailed assessment.
Identifying specific learning disabilities in adults can be difficult, as individuals may display a wide range of learning and performance characteristics and have by then developed strategies for managing or covering up their difficulties. Adults with specific learning disabilities are often unlikely to seek help themselves; instead concerns may arise as the result of a vocational assessment or other forms of language-based evaluations.
Not sure if your child has a learning disability, email us to get the The Specific Learning Disability Checklist,
- fill it out, scan it,
- email it back and
- we will provide you with a brief FREE phone consultation
Other resources on specific learning disabilities
The Australian Learning Disability Association website provides more detailed information as well as useful contacts in your state. This information can be found at Australian Disability Clearing House.
Learning Disabilities Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support and resources for teachers and professional educators. Go to www.ldaustralia.org.
SPELD is a non profit organisation that provides advice and services to children and adults with specific learning difficulties. The national contact details and website are: AUSPELD