Learning Disabilities: How to Identify One in Your Teen

From attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to dyslexia to auditory processing disorder, there are many different learning disorders that may be keeping your teen from doing their best in school. We’ve outlined several signs and symptoms of learning disabilities to help you identify whether or not your teen may have one.

Difficulty With Grammar and Spelling

Photo by Luis Llerena

If your teen has difficulty with spelling, grammar and reading comprehension, it could be a sign that they’re struggling with dyslexia, visual processing disorder or dysgraphia. These conditions affect the way the brain processes written and spoken language. More specifically, your teen may confuse letters that look similar, such as “p” and “q,” or switch letters and numbers when writing.

Difficulty With Numbers and Math Concepts

Photo by Luis Llerena

If your teen is struggling with cash transactions, math problems or counting in sequence, they may have visual processing disorder or dyscalculia. With dyscalculia, they may not have an intuitive grasp of how numbers work or they may experience “number blindness,” which means they can’t tell the difference between quantities of different objects.

Easily Distracted

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If your teen is easily distracted and unable to follow instructions—whether in class or at home—they may have auditory processing disorder or ADHD. In some cases, your teen may also constantly be daydreaming or often speak without finishing their sentences.

Lack of Organization

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Besides finding it difficult to follow instructions, your teen may also have ADHD if they’re frequently late or disorganized. For instance, they may have a hard time sticking to a schedule or they prefer to avoid tasks, such as studying, that require focused attention.

A Sensitivity to Loud Areas

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If your teen finds noisy areas overwhelming and hard to deal with, they may have auditory processing disorder. This is a hearing condition where your child may have trouble following conversations. As a result, they may function better in quieter spaces.

These symptoms don’t necessarily indicate if your teen has a learning disability, but if you’re worried that your teen may have one, make an appointment with your family doctor to confirm a diagnosis. Keep in mind that a learning disability doesn’t make your teen “damaged” or “lesser” than other teens; it only means that they will face some unique challenges along their learning path but they can adapt and lead enriching lives.

Feature Photo: Kaboompics