Learning Disability Specialist

Patrick County Family Practice

Family Physicians & Aesthetics Specialists located in Stuart, VA

Learning and developmental disabilities represent a broad range of educational, social, and behavioral challenges that affect many aspects of a child’s life. The team at Patrick County Family Practice in Stuart, Virginia, helps children, teens, and their families by screening for these disorders and working with you and your child to overcome the challenges they present. If you suspect your child may have a learning disability or developmental disability, call Patrick County Family Practice or schedule an appointment online today.

Learning Disability Q & A

What is a learning disability?

Learning disabilities are a group of disorders that occur when the brain has a hard time processing information. These disorders interfere with a child’s ability to read, write, and learn mathematics, and they affect skills such as organization and attention.

The most common learning disabilities are:

  • Auditory processing disorder (APD): can’t recognize the difference between sounds
  • Dyscalculia: poor math comprehension, trouble counting
  • Dysgraphia: poor fine motor skills, difficulty writing, poor spelling
  • Dyslexia: difficulty with reading, substitutes one word with another
  • Language processing disorder (LPD): can’t attach meaning to sounds
  • Nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD): trouble understanding nonverbal cues like facial expressions

Another type of learning disability, visual perceptual disorder, makes it hard for children to understand visual information.

What should I know about ADD and ADHD?

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) develop when areas of the brain that regulate attention, motor function, and executive function don’t work properly.

Children with ADD or ADHD aren’t purposefully oppositional or disobedient. They simply need proper treatment that addresses the biochemical imbalances in their brain.

These conditions are usually diagnosed in children, but for 30-70% of youths with ADHD, the problems last well through adulthood.

What symptoms develop in children with ADD and ADHD?

Children with ADHD have three types of symptoms: inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Those diagnosed with ADD only have trouble with inattentiveness. In both groups, the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with the child’s ability to learn, socialize, and behave whether at school or home.

Behaviors associated with inattentiveness include:

  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Being easily distracted
  • Inability to listen
  • Often losing things
  • Failure to finish assigned tasks
  • Hard time organizing activities

Additionally, behaviors associated with the hyperactivity and impulsivity of ADHD include:

  • Always being at high energy
  • Fidgeting and squirming when sitting
  • Not staying seated when expected
  • Running when inappropriate
  • Being unable to engage in quiet activities
  • Talking excessively and often interrupting
  • Difficulty taking turns

Children and teens with ADD or ADHD tend to have poor working memory, so they can’t keep information in their head long enough to use it.

What should I know about autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects a child’s behavior and ability to communicate. It’s called autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to reflect the fact that children with autism vary significantly in the severity of their symptoms. However, they all share these core problems:

  • Difficulty communicating and socializing
  • Repetitive patterns of behavior and limited interests or activities
  • Symptoms that interfere with their ability to function at school, work, home, and in the community

The symptoms of ASD are noticeable by age 2, with the disability persisting throughout the child’s lifetime.

To learn whether your child may have a learning disability, call Patrick County Family Practice or schedule an appointment online today.