Every Child Deserves A Meaningful Education

Signs of learning disabilities: Kids v. teens

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2022 | Special Education Law |

The early diagnosis of a learning disability can help young children prepare for school. However, not every child may show signs of having a learning disability until much later in their school journey.

This may leave parents wondering: are the signs of a learning disability different in a young child versus a teenager?

Do the signs differ by age?

Surprisingly, the signs of a learning disability do not vary much by age. Of course, they will vary by the specific learning disability and in each and every child. However, whether they are a younger child or a teenager, your child may exhibit signs of a learning disability if they:

  • Struggle with reading and writing
  • Struggle with math
  • Have difficulty organizing
  • Feel helpless or apathetic
  • Have difficulty processing information
  • Withdraw or act out, especially at school

It is important to note that the signs of a learning disability may be different for significantly younger children – as in children under the age of five. Even so, the differences lie in the fact that children under five may struggle with learning skills for the first time. Meanwhile, older children and teenagers have learned to read, for example, but dyslexia may make it challenging to do so.

Essentially, age is not always a major factor in these cases.

However, the signs can be harder to notice in teens

While the signs that a child may have a learning disability do not change much by age, the ability to notice them often does.

Teenagers often perceive more peer pressure – and even societal pressure – to know or have certain skills. In response to feeling this increased pressure, it is more common for older children and teenagers to actively hide the signs that they struggle to read or write, for example.

This is one of the reasons why the signs may not appear similar in some situations.

Remember: Seeing signs is not a diagnosis

It is helpful to watch out for these signs in your children. However, you must remember that looking out for the signs as well as noticing them is not a diagnosis in and of itself. It is important to make note of the signs and struggles your child might exhibit, but then it is also critical to seek help from a California medical professional to obtain a diagnosis.