Dr. Wayne L. Klein, PHD

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Learning Disabilities

EXECUTIVE DYSFUNCTION

Problems may include mild to severe difficulty with:

  • Putting on the brakes (avoiding impulsivity)

  • Thinking before speaking or acting
  • Thinking ahead - anticipating
  • Planning and organization
  • Multi-tasking 
  • Holding two or more bits of info in mind at once
  • Control of thought processes
  • Initiating 
  • Staying on task
  • Stopping one activity & starting another inflexibility
  • Pulling back & thinking abstractly
  • Many of these difficulties will result in poor study skills
  • Modulating emotional reactions 

Interventions range from working with internal cognitions to external controls to medication.

ADHD

I talk more about ADHD in this post. 

NON-VERBAL Learning Disabilities

Reading emotions in others & self:

  • Intuitively understanding the behavior of others
  • Capacity to feel Empathy
  • Facial recognitio
  • Emotional Awareness Training
  • Also see Autism Asperger's PDD

Visual Spatial

  • Facial recognition
  • Organization
  • Spatial skills
  • Math

Writing Problems

Difficulty putting words on paper can be due to a multitude of problems, including dysgraphia:

  • Poor handwriting - due to poor fine motor control
  • Poor handwriting - due to rushing (consider anxiety, low motivation or ADHD) 
  • Visual problems - may have trouble staying on the line or recognizing letters
  • Poor left-right awareness causes letter confusion
  • Idea fluency - difficulty thinking of what to say
  • Organizational problems - difficulty organizing the ideas
  • Poor spelling
  • Poor frustration tolerance - overwhelmed by large assignments

VERBAL LEARNING DISABILITIES

  • Attention - the words never register or can't be held in working memory for processing. Can be seen in ADHD
  • Primary Auditory - can't hear OR just listening consumes available cognitive resources
  • Central AuditoryProcessing - difficulty processing language through auditory channel, but understands better when reading Auditory Processing books
  • Weak vocabulary - leaves gaps in comprehension
  • Expressive Language Deficit: difficulty pronouncing words, thinking of the right word, retrieivng the words fast enough to speak, or difficulty putting words in order so as to make sense.
  • Syntactic Processing weakness difficult utilizing meaning embedded in word order. For example:
  • Dr. Stein killed a moose. Who died? (Unclear if the moose or the doctor died.)
  • The wolf who chased the goat, was eaten by a monster. Who was eaten? (Thinks the goat was eaten.)
  • Receptive Language Deficit is difficulty understanding language. This may entail a central auditory processing deficit or a more general language processing deficit such as impaired syntactic comprehension
  • Visual Thinker on steroids this is the person who thinks in pictures and must translate into words to communicate. These learners learn best with maximum visual materials

Reading and Dyslexia

As babies, before we learn to speak, when we listen to speech we hear sounds. The sounds we hear are the component sounds, or phonemes, that make up words. Babbling is practicing producing phonemes.

As we become proficient at talking the production of phonemes becomes so automatic that many of us lose the ability to hear the individual phonemes. One aspect of
developing pre-reading skills is learning to hear words the way we did as babies. This enables us to put phonemes together to produce words.  The most common form of dyslexia is due to difficulty learning to listen more like a baby. This form of dyslexia makes using a phonetic approach to reading very difficult. Phonics is using phonemes to construct words. Many dyslexics will benefit from drills in hearing phonemes. 

Dyslexics are more likely to have had many ear infections, tubes in their ears and have suffered mild hearing difficulties. The result is that they have above average difficulty differentiating between phonemes. Add poor frustration tolerance, difficulty sitting still, lack of help at home, difficulty paying attention or fear of failure and you have a recipe for a major struggle in mastering reading skills.

Some children face visual perceptual barriers to reading. They may have difficulty differentiating between letters, staying on the correct line or lose their place. Others may be quite competent at spelling and reading individual words, but struggle with what the sentences and paragraphs mean. All of these children suffer frustration and often shame. Emotional Impact

DisordersWayne Klein