Learning disability in India — The Truth Explained

Learning Disability in India is nowadays common in preschoolers. This article is going to explain the prevalence of LD in India. The awareness of Learning Disability is very less among the Indian population. This article is going to reveal the laws and the rule made by the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) which favors a learning Disabled child.

 In 1896 Dr. Morgan, a general practitioner in England wrote to the British council about a 9-year-old girl ’Y’ that she is more intelligent than her peer group except facing difficulty in reading/blending words? This left a question to the scientific researchers if intelligence is not a defect then what causes Learning Disability?

Dyslexia is not a pigeonhole to say you can’t do anything. It is an opportunity to learn differently. You have magical brains, they just process differently. Don’t feel like you should be held back by it.

– Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice, British royal family

Hinshelwood, Ophthalmologist states that learning disability is due to congenital word blindness. It was widely accepted by all the researchers. As technology grows and continuous research scientist states that it’s a “phonological processing defect”. A speech sound disorder (inability to correctly form the sound of a word or a letter).

Learning Disability in India- Explained

Prevalence of learning disability in India

It is very difficult to understand a child’s learning disability as every normal child will face difficulty in learning at a certain period. A prolonged time of consistently facing reading, writing, listening, reasoning, and speaking is a learning disability. Learning disability varies with every single child. And you can’t identify it because there is no specific tool or system to use as proof. If you identify any specific symptom with your child then request an appointment and get help for tutoring your child.

Learning disability recent statistics in India: In the year 2019, Kalyani Moharana presented an article to the Indian Nursing of Psychiatric Council that says almost 10% of the total population has a Learning disability. It ranges from 9% to 39% and dyslexia in primary school is around 2% to 18% in India.

Karthick and Jitendar from the pediatrics neurology unit Vellore & Chandigarh 2020 submitted an article to The Indian Journal of Paediatrics mentions around 5% to 15% of children affected by Specific Learning Disability and males are affected more than females.

Types of Learning Disability

  • Dyslexia – difficulty in reading
  •  Dysgraphia – Difficulty in writing
  •  Dyscalculia  – Difficulty in maths
  •  Auditory and visual processing disorder – Sensory related
  •  Nonverbal learning Disorder – a neurological disorder affecting the right-side brain
  •  Dyspraxia – Neuromotor coordination problem

Warning signs of Learning Disability

Common signs in Pre School

  • Confusion or trouble learning alphabets, colors, shapes, numbers, days, and months of a year.
  •  Difficulty in telling rhymes
  •  Confusion in identifying words like ‘C’ with ‘S’ and ‘b’ with ‘d’
  •  Difficulty in following directions
  •  Trouble in coloring within the lines
  •  Difficult or confusing in buttoning the shirt, tying shoes, pulling zips…
  •  Poor memory
Warning signs of Learning Disability

Problems in primary and Middle school (age group of 5 to 15)

  •  Difficult in blending letters to make words
  •  Poor/ slow in learning new skills
  •  Finding difficulty in solving basic maths
  •  Unable to tell time
  •  Poor reasoning skills
  • Poor attention
  •  Easily distracted
  •  Use only short words or simple phrases and skipping sentences to convey a message.
  •  Low academic skills
  •  Difficulty in learning new skills or cannot cope up with classmates
  •  Problems in school  every day
  •  Poor pencil grip
  •  Writing below or above the line

Social and emotional challenges

The first thing a child faces is an embarrassment that leads to frustration. When they are instructed to read or to write on board. It is very difficult for them and they have to face comments from the peer group also. This causes avoidance of negligence to go to school. And they might not be accepted by peer’s playgroup due to inability to follow instructions or directions to play.

Some emotional signs to watch are

  • Low self-esteem
  •  Anxiety while facing some academic situations
  •  Irritability
  •  Sadness
  •  Less motivation
  •  Crying/ worrying
  •  Feeling “stupid”

Parent guidance to handle emotional problems with your child

Talk with your child regarding the problem he is facing try to explain the term as learning Disability. And praise their effort taking in school and home to overcome this.

Make them understand that Learning Disability has nothing to do with their intelligence and these words will be a boost for the child. Don’t talk any negative words/ emotions to them related to their inability for learning instead show them the successful personalities with the same problem and explain how they overcome it.

Identify her other specific talents and talk about them and encourage her to focus and perform in them. This makes them feel proud of themselves and think positively.

It is obvious that every parent feels anxiety about their child’s condition academically and will be much disturbed while confronting teachers at school. But be aware that your child is watching you and they are sensible for the parent’s feelings.

Don’t show your anxiety and at times when you yell at them. It’s ok and after everything sets back just talk with them about your anxiety at the time and how worried you are. This will make sense for the child that there are solutions to handle anxiety.

Parents should better understand the ways to handle their anxiety. It’s good to have an appointment with a psychologist and learn the ways to handle it. Try to avoid feeling guilty make yourself understand your trigger points for anxiety and try to face the situations.

Parent guidance to handle emotional problems with your child

Talk with the Teachers

It is difficult for a teacher to understand the problem of the child but try to explain patiently about the child’s problem. If she wants to assess the child for reading or writing it will be better she does it privately so the child won’t be embarrassed in front of the peer group.

Giving individual attention and sitting with her after class hours to clear her doubts and helping her to finish her classwork will be a great relief for the child and bring more confidence.

Finding the right academic environment is also important. Like some special schools will have a specialized curriculum for such kids so availing it will improve the mood of the child and brings more positive thoughts to face the world.

When my son was struggling in studying with English medium we changed him to regional language medium study. He feels good and better understands the subjects taught. The teachers were well supported and that improves his mood problems.

Educational provisions for Learning Disability students

In 2011 the Indian government has taken a step to add specific disabilities to the Persons with disability (PWD) Act. So far the act is not added up but the Central Board of Secondary Education has taken some steps. 

The rights for education as issued by CBSE are as follows:

  • Learning Disability students should be excluded in studying a second language and instead make them learn work-oriented subject/ any work they are willing.
  • For students with Dyslexia (difficulty in reading), the questions should be read out.
  • Extra 15 minutes should be given for every 1 hour in the examination.
  • They must be given a special concession to use calculators for calculating maths.
  • Avoid them giving graphs, maps, figures,  and chats instead give them questions for the same mark.
  • The student with Dysgraphia can use a writer for examination and they can dictate the answer.
  • They should not be excluded for spelling mistakes.
  • For an Xth standard student instead of studying algebra and geometry, they can substitute with VII maths and work-oriented subject.
  • They are eligible for a grace mark of 20% if they got failed in exams.
  • 10  For students studying from standard 1 to 9 and 11th they have to attend oral exams along with the written test.
  • For students of X and XII, they can select the nearest center to write their exams.

These facilities are only available if the student produces a certificate in an approved form by the central government and from the recognized organization or person in the list.

Teachers guide in creating progressive thinkers

As the children need a modified teaching strategy the student-teacher ratio should be within 15:1 or below. 

This is to have equal attention to everyone, they to can ask questions, and interact with each other.

Break the curriculum and the assignments into smaller units so overwhelming will be avoided.

Exams can be digitalized, or multiple-choice questions or oral exams instead of writing.

Audiovisual aids and using digital aids for dyslexia will work better.

Periodic psychiatric counseling will help us to understand the child’s concerns, stress and will help to improve their mental health positively.

Occupational therapy and Speech therapy should also be included often to enhance hand motor coordination and to speak confidently.

Occupational Therapy for Learning Disability

Fine motor skills

  • Fine motor skills are needed to make small muscle moves. For a child with Dysgraphia, the fine motor skills should be improved 
  • To hold a pencil or crayons
  • For writing letter
  • Build blocks, use rulers, buttoning shirts…

Ways to improve fine motor skills at home

  • Allow them to play with clay material encourage them to squeeze, roll, pinch and press it to make round, worms, straight lines, etc…
  • Give them two bowls and fill one with raw rice and ask the child to fill the other bowl using a spoon.
  • Paintings everyone loves to paint and kids enjoy painting give them watercolor and help them to paint. Encourage them to do hand painting.  Provide a large chart, and ask them to draw a flower by hand painting. 
  • Take different size bottles and ask your child to fix the correct lid on them
Fine Motor Skills

conclusion

Learning disability is a wide field that constantly changes with complaints and defects. It is the right of every child to obtain their education. A parent or a teacher has the responsibility to train them in a different way they can learn. Be patient, be a good listener and motivate the special talent of your child and help them to pursue the world positively.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the IQ level for a Learning Disability?

 IQ level below 20 is considered an intense learning disability,  20- 35 is severe and 35- 49 is moderate learning Disability.

2. How learning Disability affects the brain?

It affects the brain’s capability to receive information, process, and analyze and memorize or store the information. If the person cannot understand the process he gets irritated, confused, and frustrated.

3. How can I overcome my learning Disability?

You cannot overcome its a life long issue, but you can learn different skills to overcome the difficulty you have. Adults can choose a profession they can able to do with their special talents

4. What is the added difficulty of Learning Disability?

ADHD and Autism child is not learning disability but certainly affects learning skills.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) child will not be able to concentrate, sit straight, and following Instructions.
An autistic child will have difficulty speaking with others, poor eye contact.

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