In and actual achievement. For example, a
In most cases the classroom teacher is usually the first tonotice signs of learning disabilities and refers students for special educationassessment. In addition the teachers assist in gathering assessment informationand in the coordination of special services. Students may be identified aslearning disabled at any age, but most are noticed during the elementary years.There are two major indicators of learning disabilities. First, students appearcapable but experience extreme difficulty in some areas of learning. This is adiscrepancy between expected achievement and actual achievement. For example, ayoung child may be verbal, appear bright, but be very slow to learn to say thealphabet, write his or her name, and count to 20.
The second indicator isvariation in performance; there is a discrepancy among different areas ofachievement. A class four child may perform well in math but read and spellpoorly (Lewis &Doorlag, 1983).In addition to these two main indicators of learningdisabilities, teachers should watch for several other signs. According toGulliford (1971), outstanding examples cited are:1.
Severe difficulties in reading, writing, spelling andarithmetic;2. Distinguishing left from right, up and down, front andback;3. Perceptual and language weaknesses;4. Some clumsiness in hand and eye tasks;5. Visuo-spatial difficulties in recognizing anddistinguishing written symbols; in reproducing letters or groups of letterscorrectly; confusing or reversing letters6. Speech-sound difficulties in synthesizing words from theircomponent sounds; in relating words to meanings.
Most of these children show ahistory of late or slow speech development; often with continuing minorarticulatory defects and hesitancy in verbal expression;7. Association difficulties such as in associating speechsounds with their symbols in reading and writing;8. Difficulty in spatial orientation-they bump into things,and cannot estimate distances.Moreover, California Association for Neurologicallyhandicapped Children (1980), an affiliate of the national association forchildren and adults with learning disabilities, cited other signs seen inchildren with LD as:a) Guessing constantly when reading;b) Trouble understanding or following instructions;c) Difficulties expressing thoughts;d) Trouble understanding time and distance;e) Short attention span: easy distractibility.
The disability manifests itself in each age group(preschoolers, elementary children, adolescents and adults) with differentintervention and teaching strategies being required for each age group.Substantial numbers of children with LD are identified in the age range of 9through 14. Most children are not identified until age 9 when LD becomeapparent as they enter school and fail to acquire academic skills in areas likereading, mathematics, writing and other school subjects (US EducationDepartment, 1998).Myklebust (1981) emphasized the importance of developingchecklists and testing measures by schools to help teachers identify studentswith disabilities. Myklebust developed a Pupil Rating Scale as a screening toolfor LD, which has since become a research instrument included in extensiveinvestigation of the incidence and nature of LD in public schools in the UnitedStates of America. Besides identifying signs of LD, it is important to know theroot causes of learning disabilities among children for effective interventionmeasures.