Learning disabilities in reading are just one of those generically described as learning difficulties, which can result in someone having problems learning specific skills. These are usually any or all of reading, writing, speaking, listening, reasoning and doing sums.
The causes of children's learning disabilities in reading are largely unknown but in some way the child's brain has been affected in such a way that its ability to collect and handle information is impaired. This in turn, may have been caused by:
1. Heredity - Learning disabilities are often inherited even if a generation has been skipped. Check whether other members of the family have had reading difficulties in the past.
2. Problems During Pregnancy and Birth - Learning disabilities can be the result of irregularities in brain development caused by the mother being ill, having an accident such as a fall, drinking, smoking or taking drugs during pregnancy. Equally, a prolonged labour, oxygen deprivation during birth or premature birth can result in abnormality in brain development.
3. Accidents After Birth - Learning disabilities can result from head injuries. For example the child being dropped or falling over, undernourishment or exposure to toxins such as pesticides.
Regardless of the cause, treatment of children's learning disabilities in reading is essential as soon as possible after discovery and this could take the form of any or all of the following.
1. Special Education - Special education is probably the commonest treatment for learning difficulties. Speciality teachers will evaluate the level of the child's problems as compared with their academic and intellectual potential. These teachers will then, basically, teach the child to learn by building on their strengths while correcting their weaknesses.
2. Speech and Language Therapy - Some learning disabilities in reading stem from difficulties hearing and speaking so appropriate therapies may be needed.
3. Medication - If a child's problems reading stem from attention deficit disorder then medication may be effective in improving concentration and attention span.
If you're not satisfied with the progress your child is making, following any or all of the above treatments then you could take some action yourself.
1. Employ a private tutor who specialises in helping children with reading difficulties.
2. Buy and online phonics based reading course which your child can do at home with your help. These programs are designed to be taken at whatever pace your child wants and they hold interest by using child-friendly cartoon characters to lead the child through the lessons. The lessons are short enough to hold the child's interest and they initially teach the relationship between how a sound looks and how it sounds. The courses progress from sounds to whole words and sentences and in addition to improving reading skills, the child will learn keyboard skills.