Learning Disabilities

Learning Disability (LD)


Learning Disability is an individual’s academic under achievement in reading, writing and mathematics despite the presence of average to above average intelligence, appropriate instruction, regular school attendance and favorable environment. Approximately 10% – 12% children are estimated to have specific learning problems out of which 4.6% of school aged children are identified severely disabled. LD is more in boys than girls with a ratio of 4:1.


Characteristics of a child with Learning Disabilities (LD)

  • He/she is intelligent but fails at school.
  • Writes ‘on’ for ‘no’, ‘was’ for ‘saw’, ‘14’ as ‘41’.
  • Hears the barking of a dog at distance but does not hear what the teachers say.
  • Remembers the sequence of TV serials or cartoons but does not remember mathematical tables.
  • Confusions about yesterday, today and tomorrow.
  • Mood swings.
  • Disorganized ad lazy.
  • Poor time management.
  • Enthusiastic about finishing particular task in academics but it comes out all wrong.
  • Omits, add or skip words while reading.
  • Do mathematical calculations in his/her mind but cannot put down on paper.
  • Unable to sustain attention on a given task for a specific duration of time.
  • Calls himself stupid or idiot.

Causes of LD

    • Prenatal factors- malnutrition, brain injuries, prolonged labour, accidents, anoxia, bleeding, toxemia, pre maturity and low birth weight.
    • Postnatal factors- neurological damage, seizures, chronic ear infections and encephalitis or meningitis.
    • Genetic factors
    • Biochemical factors- hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, serotonin/dopamine variations.
    • Psychological factors- mental illness
    • Nutritional deficiencies

Types of LD

  • Dyslexia (Reading Disability)

Dyslexia is a Greek word, ‘Dys’ means difficulty and ‘lexia’ means words i.e. difficulty with words or language. Children with reading disability have difficulties in reading skills that are unexpected in relation to age, cognitive ability, quantity and quality of instruction and intervention.

Signs of dyslexia:

  • Reversal of letters; words and sometimes entire sentence.
  • Sounds are confused [empty- entry].
  • Concepts are reversed [floor for ceiling; cake for bread]
  • Reading rate is low
  • Omission of letters, syllables, words or word endings.
  • Addition of sounds or words in sentences (ischool / school).
  • Substitution of words / letter (home / house, ise cream / ice cream.
  • Mispronouncing words / letter (joo / zoo).
  • Transposing of order of words in a sentence.


  • Dysgraphia (Writing Disability)

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that causes individuals to experience difficulty when expressing their thoughts in writing and graphing. Students with dysgraphia have strong verbal skills but poor writing skills, random punctuations and spelling errors, illegible writing, unfinished words or letters, cramped or unusual grip, labored copying or writing or inconsistencies within the writing (print/cursive, upper/lower case).  

Signs of Dysgraphia:

  • Odd wrist, body and paper position.
  • Poor organization on the page
  • Mixture of print and cursive, upper and lower case or irregular size, shape or slant of letters.
  • Inconsistent space between words and letters.
  • Excessive erasures.
  • Decreased speed of writing / copying / inattentiveness about details when writing.
  • Holding the writing instrument very close to the paper.
  • Cramped or unusual grip and writing from the wrist.


  • Dyscalculia (Math Disability)

Dyscalculia is specific learning disability involving innate difficulty in learning or comprehending simple arithmetic. It includes how to manipulate numbers, difficulty in understanding numbers, learning math’s facts and a number of other related symptoms.

Signs of Dyscalculia:

  • Difficulties in relating the number of objects to its symbol, written or verbal.
  • Difficulty in pointing to small /big, more / less, tall / short when asked.
  • Difficulty to show that parts put together make a whole.
  • Difficulty in arranging / grouping objects by size / shape / color.
  • Reversal of numbers (45 for 54, 503 for 305)
  • Difficulty in copying numbers.
  • Difficulty in understanding concepts of units/tens/hundred in numbers
  • Difficulty in making judgment and reasoning.

Identification of LD

Children with signs of learning disabilities need to consult a trained Psychologist / Clinical psychologist for the assessment of specific learning disabilities. They used standardized psychometric tests to confirm  LD. Intelligence tests and learning disability assessment tools are used to find whether the child is learning disabled or not.


A multi-disciplinary team including Psychologist, Special educator, Occupational therapist, Speech therapist, Child Psychiatrist, Teachers and parents works in coordination make significant contribution in dealing with problems of children with LD.

Specific intervention strategies are used to help the students to achieve success in the areas of reading, writing, and math.

Screening Checklist for Learning Disabilities

Read the items listed carefully and put  for yes or X for No‟ against each item:


Oral expression

  • Has difficulty in orally expressing concepts that the child seems to understand
  • Has difficulty in pronouncing letters and words
  • Shows omission of words, phrases or both in reading

Written expression

  • Has difficulty with planning a topic and organizing the ideas
  • Has difficulty in answering various kind of questions in a question paper
  • Has difficulty with copying or completing work on a printed page

Hand writing

  • Has poorly formed letters (doesn’t complete the curves, loops of letters e.g. a, o etc)
  • Has inconsistent space between letters and words
  • Has difficulty in following lines on paper


  • Shows frequent spelling errors (e.g. omission or additions of letters in words)
  • Spells a word in several different ways(e.g. School as Skool, Shoocl, Skchool)
  • Reverses letters in spelling

Basic reading skills

  • Slow reading rate/ has difficulty modifying reading rate according to material being read
  • Substitution of words which look almost same in meaning
  • Reread words or phrases

Reading comprehension

  • Shows uneven comprehension and retention of material read
  • Has difficulty in recognizing words and its meaning
  • Unable to sort out important information from un important details

Mathematical calculations and Problem solving

  • Confuses operational symbols especially + and x
  • Has difficulty with the abstract concepts of time and direction
  • Poor long term memory in math functions

Organizational and study skills

  • Slow to start and complete tasks
  • Has difficulty in organizing and completing written tasks
  • Poor in time management

Attention and concentration

  • Has trouble focusing and sustaining attention on academic tasks
  • Has difficulty concentrate in reading and writing
  • Has problems in taking notes  or copying mathematics problems accurately

Fine and gross motor skills

  • Has trouble playing with block/beads, using spoon/ fork, coloring or copying shapes/ objects
  • Too much pressure on the paper while writing
  • Has difficulty in coloring, copying and drawing

Visual, auditory and tactile perception

  • Has trouble differentiating between similar letter and shapes (e.g. b and d, w and m, was and saw)
  • Moves head or points to words with finger while reading silently
  • Doesn’t hear fine differences in words

Social skills

  • Is unable to detect the difference between sincere and sarcastic comments
  • Has difficulty in maintaining good relationship between teachers and peer group
  • Unable to control emotions


our blogs

Psychologist Jayesh K.G

Jayesh KG Consultant Psychologist & Remedial Educator

Jayesh K.G is an experienced and eminent Psychologist based in Thrissur and Kochi. He is currently working as Consultant Psychologist & Child Specialist at POSITIVE Psycho therapeutic Clinic, Thrissur. He worked as a Consultant Psychologist, Dept. of Child and Adolescent Guidance Clinic, Healing Minds-A clinic for mind wellness, Kochi. He is also leading the Department of Child and Adolescent Guidance Clinic at CHILD Development & Psychotherapy Clinic, Kodungallur and Olive Health Care, Vatanapalli.

Jayesh undertakes programs to increase awareness regarding mental health issues among the general population with the help of visual and print media.

view more
for appointment call

+91 9605767923