The problem with having a learning difficulty, disability or difference is that you can’t see it. It’s not like the child or person who has a physical disability, where you can see they are in a wheelchair or on crutches. A child with a learning difficulty won’t look any different from the outside. The problems are going on inside and what happens is that the child starts to show signs and symptoms in their behaviors instead.
Here are the ten things that you as a parent or teacher should look for in your child or students, that might indicate they have difficulty learning.
1. Displays of anger and frustration
We often associate this with boys and this might happen more in boys, but it can also occur with girls. A child may become physically and verbally abusive. A young child may break their pencil, tear up their papers or say things in frustration; teenagers might put holes in walls.
2. Being disruptive or creating a diversion
When a child can’t receive positive reinforcement for being able to give the correct answers, they may look for negative reinforcement instead.
This might be the child who “mouths off,” is being rude or outspoken. When a child is struggling with the work, they may simply refuse to attempt the work at all. Sometimes they might pretend to be ill, ask to use the bathroom excessively or refuse to go to school at all.
3. Experiencing extreme sadness
This is the child who might be overwhelmed by the school work that is in front of them. A child who is overwhelmed may cry for no apparent reason, might be inconsolable and become upset very easily. Sometimes these children won’t want to leave the house and may appear extremely sad or flat.
4. Lacks self-confidence
When a child lacks in self-confidence, they may say things like “what’s the point,” “I just can’t do it” or “I’m hopeless.” This might be a child who refuses to attempt work, even when there are support systems in place. Sometimes this child may not want to participate in classroom activities, sporting events or social activities because they may feel they have nothing to offer.
5. Suffers from feelings of constant embarrassment
Generally, this feeling of embarrassment is with older children or teenagers. This might be a child who avoids being the center of attention and may even refuse to answer questions, even when they know the answer. The embarrassment they feel may prevent them from socializing and makes them feel exposed when they feel people are looking at them.
6. Feels exhausted and drained
A child with a learning difficulty is working so hard to keep up, they often feel mentally exhausted. This means they may come home exhausted and drained. They may refuse to do homework and complain they are too tired. They may just want to go to their room, play on their game consoles or watch a movie. These children may have been good at school and then come home and unleash on their family.
When a child gives up, they may simply begin to withdraw and stop taking part in classroom activities. They might begin to go through the motions completing the work they can, but not mentally engage, only speaking when spoken to directly.
8. Feeling bullied by life in general
You might hear comments like; “I hate school” or “the whole world is against me.” This child is having difficulty fitting in and finding friends. They may feel bullied by teachers and students or even become bullies themselves as a coping mechanism.
9. Experiences anxiety and panic attacks
When things progress further along the child may show physical signs of anxiety like nail biting, teeth grinding, chewing on their hair or clothes or even self-harm. The levels of stress these children suffer from may prevent them from thinking clearly and completing tasks even those they are capable of. A panic attack is full-on anxiety, that takes hold and prevents the child from functioning at all.
10. Experiences depression
Clinical depression is a sense of helplessness and hopelessness that occurs over a prolonged period. Depression can have severe and ongoing ramifications and is not something as a parent; you should attempt to manage.
Remember it is important to act early. The sooner you identify these behavioral issues at the beginning of this list and address them, the less likely they will progress further down the list.
This is just a brief outline of these 10 behavioral signs and symptoms that children might show if they are struggling to learn. If you would like to learn more about this topic get a copy of my book, Helping Children with Dyslexia from here or join a webinar to learn all about my new reading and spelling method, the Speech to Spelling Code™ here.