Finding an answer to your learning difficulties

It can be distressing for parents to see their children struggling in a school situation. There are many health issues that can effect how well children can focus in a classroom setting, which are not related at all to their underlying level of intelligence. Here are some things to consider as you work through the underlying causes of their learning difficulties.

Vision issues

For children who cannot see the blackboard or their workbooks clearly, it's easy to become distracted and struggle to complete their work. One of the early things to check if your child seems unable to focus and easily distracted is whether they can see clearly. An optometrist can diagnose issues and help to find kids some fun and comfortable glasses if they end up having vision issues. Struggling to focus can also lead to recurring headaches, which can be seen as avoiding work if people don't realise there is an underlying physical cause. 

Hearing difficulties

Children who cannot hear clearly can also struggle to retain focus and follow instructions in a classroom setting, particularly when there is a lot of background noise in situations such as group work. An ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist can help to diagnose hearing issues and suggest solutions. The solutions can range from hearing aids, to grommets to reduce clogging, through to different lessons plans where the child gets a quieter environment or written instructions so  that they can process what they need to be doing. 

Processing issues

If your child has issues beyond hearing and vision they may have some difficulties in processing the instructions they get, and then acting on these. There is a range of problems that can cause these processing issues from common causes such as attention deficit disorder and autism spectrum disorders, through to less common cognitive processing issues. These are usually diagnosed by a psychologist. For children who struggle to process instructions, it can often be useful to work with therapists such as psychologists, occupational therapists or physical therapists to learn explicit skills to work around any issues or gaps that they may naturally have. This can include planning sheets for children with executive planning problems, timetables showing transitions between activities for children with autism spectrum disorders and comfort objects for children with anxiety. 

If your child is having trouble learning at school, it's worth working out the underlying reason for their learning difficulties. With the right support, they'll be able to achieve their best possible results at school.