Every Child Deserves A Meaningful Education

How do you know if reading challenges indicate a learning disability?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Special Education Law |

Many schools in California moved to distance learning during the pandemic to keep students, teachers and their families safe. As we have discussed in previous blog posts, this led many students to experience higher rates of learning loss as well as gaps in progress. Many children fell behind the general expectations for their grade levels.

Parents may wonder: how is it possible to know if your child is experiencing struggling due to learning loss, or something more? For example, is their child struggling with reading because of this loss – or do they have a learning disability?

Consider the reading milestones

Every child learns and develops differently. However, there are general milestones for reading that children follow throughout development. According to an article by KidsHealth:

  • By age five, children should read and recognize some simple words
  • By ages six and seven, children often learn to read

Teachers watch for these milestones as they teach students to read, but it is important for parents to be aware of them as well. It is not uncommon for children to struggle with reading; however, there are particular signs of learning disabilities that parents can be aware of as their children grow.

How do you know if it is a learning disability?

From dyslexia to ADHD, there are a number of disabilities that can impact a student’s reading – both affecting their ability to read, as well as their ability to comprehend what they read. This internal struggle can be very stressful for students.

It is important to remember that a learning disability is not some sort of failure or lack of intelligence. Your child’s brain simply works differently, and therefore it requires different methods to learn and read. Mayo Clinic notes the struggles that might indicate a learning disability such as dyslexia often include:

  • Challenges spelling words
  • Difficulty processing instructions
  • Reading below the expected level for their age
  • Avoidant behavior towards reading or writing work

It can be helpful for parents to understand the general milestones of reading, and compare them with signs that may indicate a disability. If parents suspect their child may have a learning disability they can discuss their concerns with the school and seek out an educational evaluation.