There are several types of learning disorders, so symptoms vary based on the disorder. If you suspect that you or a child have a learning disorder, you may want to talk to the school counselor and/or your family physician about next steps for evaluating the symptoms.
Some possible signs that may appear in various different types of disorders are below. However, none of these signs is definitive, and they can also be signs of issues that are not related to learning disabilities. A professional who is qualified to make diagnoses should be consulted before coming to any conclusions.
- There is a mismatch between a student's potential and his or her achievement.
- A student's work is highly variable and there are not other explanations, like having been unusually tired on the day when an assignment was completed.
- A student's standardized test scores are consistently significantly lower than mean scores.
- A student fails to become a fluent reader by the end of the third grade.
- The student has difficulty with memory and/or attention over a period of time. While these symptoms are often associated with ADHD, they can also occur when a child's cognitive resources are over-taxed by a task.
- The student has poor organization of physical items or thoughts that is not typical for the student's age.
- The student has developed poor self-concept about him or herself as a learner and/or the student has anxiety about attending school.
- The student consistently shows difficulty initiating and/or sustaining academic work.
- The student is poor at self-monitoring his or her work in an age-appropriate way. For example, he or she may not realize when the effort expended was not sufficient to meet the expectations for the task. The student might make an errors when reading aloud that change the meaning of the text but will not notice that the text did not make sense as it was read.