How to identify Learning Disabilities?
Posted on: July 17, 2015. Comments ( 10 )

Author: Anitha.A,
Asst Professor,
Clinical Psychologist, Hyderabad

Haven’t we, for a recent while now, been hearing/talking about Learning Disabilities/Disorders (LD)?

In a country like India where parents are closely concerned about the academics/education of their children, the prospect of LD is a shocking, terrifying news.

What is LD?
How to identify it in early stages?
As a parent how can we help the child?

LD, in simple terms, can be understood as the difficulty faced by an affected child in reading, writing or solving math. Furthermore, a child may have mixed type LD or one of the below specific types of LD –

Dyslexia : Inability to read
Dysgraphia : Inability to write
Dyscalculia : Inability in Math

When to be worried

One Year

    1. Neck control not achieved
    2. Inability to focus eyes on one object
    3. High irritability
    4. Cannot indicate non-verbally no/stop.

Two Years

    5. Cannot jump with both the legs
    6. Inability to catch the ball
    7. Inability to point out with single finger
    8. Cannot point out the pictures, such as when asked “Where is the ball?”
    9. Speech not clear

Three Years

    10. Poor comprehension
    11. Cannot brush the teeth
    12. Poor motor coordination
    13. Trouble in remembering order of daily routines/instructions.
    14. Extremely shy
    15. Difficulty engaging in group play or playing with other children
    16. Difficulty matching colors and shapes
    17. Difficulty holding a pencil
    18. Confusion with right-left direction
    19. Cannot retell a story

Three To Five Years

    20. Inability in identifying his/her name in print
    21. Enjoys being alone / not interested in group plays
    22. Cannot button the shirt / cannot tie the shoe lace
    23. Cannot repeat the alphabets without a song.
    24. Mirror image writing like b instead of d and vice-versa
    25. Confusion with certain alphabet-pairs like DB, PQ, MW

Early schooling

    26. Problems in identifying letters with sound
    27. Poor handwriting
    28. Pronunciation problems
    29. Problems in learning basic spellings
    30. Problems in memorizing tables/basic additions/subtractions
    31. Problems in expressing his/her own ideas/thoughts
    32. Difficulty following instructions

An early intervention and an accurate diagnosis are very important. If you observe any of these symptoms in children talk to the school teachers and get information regarding the concerned child’s academic progress. Going for an evaluation is the next step. If the report confirms LD, this is the next question to be answered –

How to help the child?

  1. Implement multisensory learning (Visual, Aural).
  2. Break a complex task into simpler parts and teaching it.
  3. Do one-to-one teaching at home.
  4. Request an hour of extra time at school for the child to complete the exam.
  5. Get exemption for those subject(s) (language/math) in which the child has LD.
  6. Follow an Individualized Education Program (IEP)

LD can be treated successfully with early intervention. Let us stop blaming the schools and the children and take a step forward to help get to the root of the issue and resolve it methodically.

Asst Professor,
Clinical Psychologist,
Bhasakara Medical College,
Student Counselor JBIET Group of Institutes


NOTE: If you are a parent and wish to share your experience and suggestions, send us an email to with the subject line "ParentSpeak". You may also include limited number of photos relevant to your topic.

Comments (10)


    Anuja says:

    Parent Speak

    My child diagnosed as ADHD. I need a tuition teacher at Orlem-Malad for individual tuition for my son who is in 9th Class (SSC Board-English Medium.
    Should he take General Maths or Regular.

      Payal Ubale says:

      Dear Anuja,
      Has your child been assessed for learning issues as well? Being in SSC board, have you taken a certificate from BMC hospital like Nair hospital so you may decide upon subjects and concessions? This is important.
      A psychoeducational assessment done by a RCI registered special educator will help you in deciding what level of mathematics will be good.

    Srinivasen says:

    Madras Dyslexia Association(MDA) is doing a wonderful job in Chennai. Chennai resident’s can visit to know more about MDA.

      Parandhama Reddy says:

      Dear Sir,

      We need a appointment to meet with you along with my child.

      Facing problem with his studies,Please provide us a appointment meet with you based on your time availability.

      Parandhama Redd N

    Rubina Noor says:

    Yur contact no

    Rubina Noor says:

    Where to get an ld test done

      Payal Ubale says:

      Dear Rubina,
      Sorry to have replied so late.
      LD test can be done in good private centers like Prafulta Psychological Services Don Bosco Andheri and Matunga, Disha center. If in SSC board, the certification for LD can be done in Sion, Nair and KEM hospital.

    Payal Ubale says:

    I am glad that an important topic Learning Disability was covered in a very beautiful and user friendly manner. I congratulate the author for the efforts. There is also a humble suggestion: The recommendations for LD is missing in names and roles of various team members that are an integral part of treatment of LD. While Occupational therapy looks after the motor coordination and sensory processing part, a remedial educator helps in IEP. A speech therapist is also sometimes involved in treatment of speech issues. A psychiatrist and a developmental pediatrician are very important to deal with any other medical issues involved and also to handle attention issues if not getting solved alone by therapy. Most parents and even teachers are unaware of the symptoms of LD and which are the good centers to refer these children to get help. In my experience, almost 30-40% parents lose precious time and energy in looking out for good centers. Some also lose this important time as they remain in denial about existence of LD.

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