Many of us are familiar with learning disabilities, like dyslexia, or auditory processing deficits and how these difficulties affect a child’s academic abilities. However, many people are unaware of the fact that learning disabilities can directly impact a child’s ability to make friends. Many common learning disabilities are the underlying causes for poor social skills. Understanding how learning disabilities affect a child’s social skills is often the first step in remediating a child’s social issues.
Here are a list of some common learning disabilities and the academic and social ramifications of each one:
Dyslexia is the most well-known Learning Disability (LD) category. It is the name for specific learning disabilities in reading. Most people understand dyslexia to be when children reverse their letters. However, dyslexia is also characterized by difficulties in reading, writing, spelling and even speaking, limited vocabulary, and poor reading fluency. Reading comprehension, an essential skill because it affects every aspect of learning in every subject, can also be compromised. Children with dyslexia may exhibit the following social deficits: inability to read newspapers, directions, maps, movie subtitles, menus and brochures. This makes it difficult for these children to be involved in their peers’ interests and outings.
Auditory Memory is the ability to process information presented orally, analyze it mentally, and store it to be recalled later. Children with weak auditory memory often have difficulty understanding what words mean, and can show a delayed grasp of language and reading. This affects children socially because they may have trouble following directions or rules given by coaches, teachers, parents or their peers, and also impacts on their ability to play games.
Auditory Sequencing is the ability to recall sequences related to information received auditorily. This compromises a child’s ability to solve math problems and to spell. Socially it can affect their ability to follow sequences of rules and directions that are integral to playing games and sports.
Directional Deficiencies is the inability to use directional skills, knowing left from right, and recognizing landmarks. These children will have difficulties learning to ride bikes, scooters, and skateboards. They have difficulties with any gross motor activity that might be integral to socialization. They also can become lost in public places.
Inter-sensory Problems is the ability to listen and perform actions at the same time. Children with this difficulty have trouble listening and taking notes in a lecture and may have difficulty conversing socially while working on a school task.
Short-term memory is the capacity to hold small bits of information for ready use. Children who exhibit deficits in this area, again have difficulty with directions, have trouble with turn-taking required in games, or keeping track of the score in a game.
Visual coordination is the ability to track a moving object, which can impact athletic ability, catching balls and playing video games.
Visual Motor. The ability to coordinate hand and eye movements. Children with deficits in this area will have issues playing games, puzzles and riding bicycles or skateboards.
Lavoie, R. (2005). It’s So Much Work To Be Your Friend: Helping The Child With Learning Disabilities Find Social Success. p.11
Want to learn more? Contact:
Hadassa Meyers, MA
Director of Educational Services