We all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning abilities just as it is with other aspects of our lives. Our learning styles also vary accordingly. Some of us are visual learners while some others may thrive better with verbal learning approach and some others may require a multi-sensory approach to learning. In addition, our interests in particular subject areas also vary as this often influences class placement in schools as well as eventual career choices.
Let’s go down memory lane for a while….
Try to remember how best you learned back in school,
Were you the kind of student that would rather seek visual aids such as pictures or charts in order to comprehend whatever information the teacher presented?
Or could you handle grasping the ideas from the verbal/theoretical methods of teaching?
Also, did you constantly require repetition in order to understand the information provided by your teachers?
And did you find that your teacher’s teaching style was not suitable to your learning style?
Most learners have different experiences and often develop strategies to “cope” with their learning challenges. However, individuals with learning difficulties may seem to be unable to cope with the challenges of learning as they may constantly feel weird as a result of their learning difficulty.
Let’s identify some common learning difficulties and their peculiarities
- Dyslexia: is a brain related disorder that affects how the brain processes written and spoken language. Individuals with dyslexia have difficulties, decoding words, reading, spelling and comprehension of written words/sentences. They may often seem to reverse letters/words or miss out/misplace words when writing. Dyslexia has nothing to do with poor intelligence, poor vision or laziness, it is simply as a result of how the brain is wired and how it processes such information.
- Dyscalculia: is a brain based disorder that affects how the brain processes math concepts. Individuals with dyscalculia present with varying levels of difficulty ranging from comprehending numeric concepts such as number sequence to the application of numeric operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication & division.
- Dysgraphia: simply means impaired writing. It is a brain related disorder that
involves difficulties with handwriting such that writings are illegible, pencil/pen grip is poor, letter/words spacing is disorganized and written
expression is problematic.
- Auditory Processing Disorder (APD): this has to do with difficulty “comprehending” auditory information such as sounds or spoken words. This often affects how well an individual is able to understand verbal instructions/directions and affects the ability to cope with noise.
As previously stated, getting a professional diagnosis of a learning difficulty is key to knowing the necessary steps in interventions to take in order to improve the learning capabilities of such learners.
Innovative approaches in the field of Neuropsychology & Educational Psychology towards improving cognitive functioning of individuals with learning difficulties have proven to be efficient. For more information about these approaches, kindly visit: www.mobilehealthconsult.org
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Dysgraphia is a specific learning difficulty implicated in the ability to transcribe. It is characterized by an impairment in handwriting skills, processing written letters into words and finger sequencing. A child whose written expression and writing skills are below the expected, given a person’s age measured through intelligence and age appropriate education may have dysgraphia.
It is associated with other conditions as ADHD, speech and language disorders and developmental coordination disorder. People having dysgraphia can often write but may lack some other fine motor skills, they may find tasks such as tying shoes difficult. They usually have unusual difficulty with handwriting and spelling which in turn can tiredness when writing. Such children avoid having to take notes in class. They may also lack basic grammar and spelling skills (difficulties writing the letters p, q, b, and d), and will often write the wrong word when trying to formulate their thoughts on paper.
Children with dysgraphia usually present with the following signs:
- Cramping of fingers while writing short entries
- Odd wrist, arm, body, or paper orientations
- Excessive mistakes while writing
- Mixed upper case and lower case letters
- Inconsistent form and size of letters, or unfinished letters
- Misuse of lines and margins
- Inefficient speed of copying
- Inattentiveness over details when writing
- Frequent need of verbal cues
- Referring heavily on vision to write
- Poor legibility
- Handwriting abilities that may interfere with spelling and written composition
- Having a hard time translating ideas to writing, sometimes using the wrong words altogether
This writing difficulty stems from dysfunctions in other cognitive processes as outlined by Dr. Mel Levine which are found below:
||WRITING CHALLENGE THAT CAN RESULT
- Difficulty planning, initiating and completing writing task.
- Mental fatigue from writing.
|Challenge in organizing letters, words, or sentence on a page.
|Sequential ordering and
||A hard time determining the correct or logical order of letters, ideas etc.
- Difficulties remembering what should be automatic in the writing process, such as recalling, spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules.
- Trouble recalling prior knowledge and organizing ideas.
||Difficulties using language and improving language abilities
||A hard time bringing original thought, creativity, or critical thinking skills to the writing task.
||Trouble coordinating the small muscles of the fingers to manipulate writing instruments.
By using Neurofeedback and Brain Training strategies, dysgraphia and its associated learning difficulties can be resolved.
Research by Walker (2012) has shown the effectiveness of neurofeedback in treating dysgraphics. During his research procedure, twenty-four individuals with refractory dysgraphia went through a quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG) to determine abnormalities of critical writing areas (left frontal and central). These abnormalities were trained consequently with 5–10 sessions of neurofeedback. This was done to decrease excessive slow or fast activity in those areas. All 24 experienced significant improvement in handwriting. Two individuals who stopped the training did not improve over a similar time period.
Walker J. E.,(2012). QEEG-Guided Neurofeedback for Remediation of Dysgraphia. Biofeedback:
Fall 2012, Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 113-114