Child Learning Difficulties

The term ‘learning disability’ is often heard in relation to children with difficulties at school. Students with learning difficulties in the reading and writing components of literacy are often referred to as ‘learning disabled’. It is really an umbrella term that can include students who present with different types of difficulties in learning. This can include students with problems in mathematics as well as those who have more persistent difficulties with reading, referred to by some as ‘dyslexic’.

Children with learning disabilities frequently present with auditory processing difficulties. There can also be associated language problems, particularly in the early stages, in speech sound development and early processing of speech (phonological awareness). The important thing to remember is that these students do not have intrinsic problems with intelligence or motivation. They do however process information differently to other people. Luckily there are ways to test for learning difficulties in children.

Dyslexia Assessment for Children

Dyslexic students have considerable difficulties with word reading. If words are shown by themselves, without clues from a sentence or pictures, these children will read them incorrectly. The letters confuse them and may even seem to ‘move’ on the page, as they read. Spelling is difficult. Because dyslexic students have difficulties identifying the words, it is then difficult for them to ‘break the code’ and understand the meaning of what they have read.

Dyslexic students invariably have a different way of learning. It is usually more visual and experiential. Identification through assessment, and the provision of strategies for learning, is critical.

Each child or person with a learning difficulty looks a little different to the next. One may struggle with decoding and spelling, while another might also have problems with remembering new information. It is important that learning difficulties are diagnosed as early as possible for optimal outcomes.


  • Problems with word pronunciation
  • Difficulties rhyming
  • Difficulties following directions
  • Difficulties with control of pencils, scissors etc

School age:

  • Difficulties with reading
  • Confusion of basic words
  • Consistent misspelling
  • Difficulties with time and remembering sequences
  • Hates to read out loud
  • Difficulty in writing essays
  • As these students get older, they can become very disorganised