Learning Disabilities in Children

The signs and symptoms of the most common learning disorders in kids can vary widely. Fortunately, early intervention can make a world of difference in your child’s educational experience and any corresponding behavioral issues.

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Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities in children and teens, affecting millions of Americans each year. It can be genetic, and signs are usually fully evident by first or second grade. ADHD is a common comorbidity.

Signs and symptoms of dyslexia include:

  • Trouble reading and writing
  • Frequent reversal of letters, words, and numbers (pervasive after the age of 6 or 7)
  • Trouble spelling and sounding out words
  • Problems with reading comprehension
  • Difficulty remembering what has been read
  • Difficulty recognizing patterns and sequences


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can lead to a whole host of behavioral and educational issues in kids of all ages. ADHD is more common in boys than in girls and can manifest differently in each gender.

Signs and symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Hyperactivity and impulsivity
  • Unable to sit still or wait patiently
  • Excessive talking and frequently interrupting others when speaking
  • Trouble listening and following/remembering instructions
  • Constant desire to be on the move or fidgeting
  • Difficulty staying on task; easily distracted
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disorganization


Dyscalculia is the inability to properly process and understand math concepts. It can be difficult to identify as other disorders such as dyslexia, and ADHD can also affect the ability to learn math skills.

Signs and symptoms of dyscalculia include:

  • Trouble with basic math concepts such as counting and performing simple equations
  • Difficulty with clocks and estimating the passage of time
  • Difficulty understanding mathematical word problems
  • A poor sense of measurements and estimation
  • Difficulty recognizing patterns and sequences
  • Trouble with money concepts
  • Math anxiety


Dysgraphia affects written expression and results in difficulty writing legibly and/or holding a writing utensil properly. Kids with this learning disability will often become visibly frustrated with attempts at writing and may complain of finger, hand, or even arm pain. Dysgraphia can be related to poor motor skills or may be typified by other causes.

Signs and symptoms of dysgraphia include:

  • Sloppy handwriting
  • Writing too quickly or too slowly
  • Inability to hold and control a writing utensil with a normal grip
  • Trouble writing in a straight line or using proper spacing
  • Trouble with proper letter formation
  • Trouble staying within the margins
  • Difficulty with grammar and sentence structure
  • Difficulty doing other manual tasks such as cutting or drawing


Dyspraxia is a developmental coordination disorder that can affect learning through the impairment of speech and motor skills. It can also lead to the development of behavior problems and is often seen in conjunction with ADHD, dyslexia, or autism.

Signs and symptoms of dyspraxia include:

  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Struggle with balance
  • Difficulty completing fine-motor tasks
  • Poor handwriting
  • Difficulty concentrating or following instructions
  • Exaggerated movements
  • Poor posture; easily fatigued
  • Lack of rhythm
  • Frequent falls and stumbles; often seen as “clumsy”

If you think your child may be experiencing one of the above learning difficulties, please call your pediatrician in Littleton or schedule an appointment with one of our friendly pediatricians to discuss the diagnosis.