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Specific Learning Disability (SLD): An Overview

The DSM-5, in 2013, revised the diagnostic criteria for Specific Learning Disorder (SLD), consolidating reading, mathematics, and written expression disorders into a single comprehensive diagnosis.
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Suhita Saha - Consultant Psychologist

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M.A. M.Phil in Clinical Psychology
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Clinical Psychologist M.Phil in clinical psychology
Aparna Rani - Online Consultant Psychologist

Aparna Rani

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

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SLD Psychiatry: What is it and how can it help you?

PATIENTS RECOVERY STORIES

Living with SLD and Overcoming them: Survivor Stories

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Cadabam’s is a renowned hospital that provides SLD counselling in Bangalore & Hyderabad. We have a multidisciplinary team that works together to create a tailor-made treatment plan for you or your loved one with SLD.

Our psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, counsellors, and family therapists are highly skilled and experienced and work towards helping you progress one step at a time. We help with psychometric assessments, diagnosis, creating a professional treatment plan, and involving the family as a support system.

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Used to create personalized treatment plans that meet the needs of you of your loved one

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Treatment Modalities

Used to create personalized treatment plans that meet the needs of you of your loved one

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Our state-of-the-art infrastructure, experienced professionals, and strong support system enable us to offer world-class evidence-based treatment that fits all stages and types of mental health concerns that you may have.

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What is Specific Learning Disability?

Learning disorders, also known as Specific Learning Disability or SLD, are neurodevelopmental disorders that are typically seen in school children. They may also be seen in adults if they are not recognized early on. They are characterised by impairment in one of the following three areas: writing, reading, and/or maths. 

How Can Parents Support A Child With Sld?

The child can be supported by helping them develop the emotional and social skills that they require. 

It can be helpful to acknowledge that learning is tougher on them and help them find support groups and clubs that they can participate in. Activities that are fun can help raise their confidence levels as well.

Types of Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)

The three categories of learning disorders are as follows:

  1. Dyslexia—difficulty in reading
  2. Dysgraphia—difficulty in writing
  3. Dyscalculia—difficulty in maths

Dyslexia

In this case, the child or a person shows difficulty in being able to read. Things such as reading rate, word reading accuracy, or comprehension are tough for them. 

It is often used as an alternative term for problems relating to fluency, spelling, decoding, and reading. 

Dysgraphia

In this case, there are difficulties associated with writing, wherein the person shows difficulty in punctuation, grammar, clarity, coherence in the writing, and accuracy within the written word. It has to do with the difficulty of being able to put one’s thoughts into writing. 

Dyscalculia

In this case, the person struggles to do the maths. This can include calculation problems, memorization of arithmetic facts, and even reasoning related to maths. Numerical information is tough to process, and calculations are tough to do. 

Auditory Processing Disorder

APD, or Auditory Processing Disorder, is a disorder in the auditory system, wherein a disruption is caused, which doesn’t allow the brain to understand whatever is being heard. 

It can happen in both adults as well as children and is also known as CAPD or Central Auditory Processing Disorder. It occurs in the area of the brain known as the auditory cortex. 

Language Processing Disorder

People with LPD have difficulty in understanding and using spoken and written language, which can make communication and learning challenging. 

LPD can affect various aspects of language, such as grammar, vocabulary, syntax, and semantics.

Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

This is a neurodevelopmental condition where there is difficulty in visual-spatial processing, maths, motor skills, executive functioning and social skills. It is also called NLD or NVLD. 

Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit

This affects a person’s ability to understand and process the visual information around them. This can impact their ability to draw, copy, and read and will also often deter their attention span levels. 

Causes of Specific Learning Disabilities

There can be various potential causes of SLD, such as:

Genetics

Having a direct family member, such as a grandparent, parent, or sibling with SLD increases the risk of developing SLD. 

Psychological Trauma

This could involve a deeply stressful experience or emotional abuse. If either happens in early childhood, it may affect how the brain develops and raise the risk of learning disorders.

Physical Injury

Injuries to the head or neurological conditions may contribute to the onset of learning disorders.

Severity Levels of SLD

There are three overall levels of SLD, depending on the severity of the case:

Mild Specific Learning Disability

In this case, there are some minor difficulties in some areas of academics, but overall, the student may be able to cope with some accommodation or help. 

Moderate Specific Learning Disability

In this case, there are significant difficulties with learning, which usually requires some form of specialised teaching. This is needed in schools, workplaces, and homes so that tasks can be managed and finished well.  

Severe Specific Learning Disability

This requires intense specialised teaching for mostly all of the school years. Academic areas are affected, and even with the best kind of help, the child may or may not be able to perform in the way the general standard for them will be. They will not be as efficient. 

Diagnosis of Specific Learning Disabilities

It is only right to have a healthcare provider diagnose the conditions of SLD. The process is usually like the following:

Physical and Neurological Exam

A neurological as well as physical test may also be done to check for other health conditions such as brain diseases. 

Academic Testing

Some standardised achievement tests may also be administered to check the person’s writing, reading, and maths skills. An IQ test may also be taken. If they tend to perform better on the latter and not as well on the former, then it may suggest that they have a learning disability. 

Performance Review

The person’s performances in the academic, social, developmental, and professional realms may be reviewed. 

Common Specific Learning Disability Myths and Facts

Myth: SLD is the end result of watching a lot of TV or a bad diet. 

Fact: In reality, SLD has nothing to do with any kind of external factor such as diet, whether good or bad or watching TV, whether for long hours or short. 

Myth: SLD doesn’t affect students who are smart. 

Fact: IQ and SLD are not correlated at all. The success of the student can still happen with them having an SLD, and it just means that they struggle with elements of writing, reading, and/or maths. 

What Type Of Specialist Treats Specific Learning Disability?

One is usually paired with the specialist whose work is the closest link to the issue at hand. The most common ones are: 

Psychiatrists for Specific Learning Disability

A medical doctor who diagnoses and treats severe behavioural and emotional conditions and may prescribe medications. Cadabams Hospital has psychiatrists available at Bangalore and Hyderabad locations if you need any assistance.

Psychologists for Specific Learning Disability

Provides psychological and intellectual assessment and treatment regarding mental and emotional health. Cadabams Hospital has psychologists available at Bangalore and Hyderabad locations if you need any assistance.

Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) for Specific Learning Disability

This individual is a type of social worker who assists individuals in managing both mental and physical disabilities encountered in their daily lives. 

Therapy options available for SLD

Effective treatment options for Specific Learning Disorder (SLD) include medications if necessary, psychotherapy, and specialised education. Cadabams Hospital has therapists available at Bangalore and Hyderabad locations if you need any assistance.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Specific Learning Disability

CBT is essentially used to understand the pattern of negative self-thought that occurs in the minds of the child and their development into healthier ones thereafter. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy combines two highly effective kinds of therapy – cognitive therapy and behaviour therapy.

Physical Therapy for Specific Learning Disability

Patients with a learning disability can be seen by a mainstream physiotherapist, depending on the severity of their condition affects them, as long as reasonable adjustments are made.

Occupational Therapy for Specific Learning Disability

Occupational therapy (OT) can enhance school performance and facilitate easier learning for children with learning disabilities. 

OT, an allied health field, focuses on enhancing individual independence in engaging with daily tasks and activities, as well as fostering community involvement according to personal preferences.

Biofeedback Therapy for Specific Learning Disability

In cases of learning disabilities in children, specific areas of the brain may exhibit dysfunction that EEG biofeedback can address. 

This technique aids in rectifying abnormalities in blood flow, metabolism, connectivity, or timing within these brain regions, potentially assisting in the remediation of learning difficulties associated with Specific Learning Disorder (SLD).

Specific Learning Disabilities Treatment at Cadabams

Cadabam’s is a renowned hospital that provides SLD treatment in Hyderabad. We have a multidisciplinary team that works together to create a tailor-made treatment plan for you or your loved one with SLD. Our psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, counselors, and family therapists are highly skilled and experienced and work towards helping you progress one step at a time. We help with psychometric assessments, diagnosis, creating a professional treatment plan, and involving the family as a support system.

If you are looking for treatment options, the easiest way is to book an appointment or ask any treatment-related questions.

If you are searching for a solution to your problem, Cadabam’s Hospitals can help you with its team of specialised experts. We have been helping thousands of people live healthier and happier lives for 30+ years. 

We leverage evidence-based approaches and holistic treatment methods to help individuals effectively manage their Specific Learning Disability. Get in touch with us today. You can call us at +91 97414 76476. You can even email us at info@cadabamshospitals.com.

FAQs

What is Specific Learning Disability (SLD)?

Learning disorders, also known as Specific Learning Disability or SLD, are neurodevelopmental disorders that are typically seen in school children. 

They may also be seen in adults if they are not recognized early on. They are characterised by impairment in one of the following three areas: writing, reading, and/or maths. 

How is SLD diagnosed?

Diagnosis generally consists of the participant taking two tests and there being a discrepancy between the scores of the two. 

These are usually IQ tests and a standardised achievement test comprising arithmetic, writing, and reading. Most people who are diagnosed with learning disorders do well or above normal in the former but not as well in the latter. 

What are the types of Specific Learning Disabilities?

The three separate learning disorders into one category under Specific Learning Disorder (SLD) in the DSM-5 are:

The three categories of SLD are:

  • Impairment in reading (dyslexia)
  • Impairment in written expression (dysgraphia)
  • Impairment in mathematics (dyscalculia)

What are some effective strategies for teaching students with SLD?

Some intervention practices that produce large outcomes are:

  • direct instruction
  • learning strategy instruction
  • using a sequential, simultaneous, structured multi-sensory approach

How can parents support a child with SLD?

It is essential to be willing and able to support your child, but also to acknowledge that learning is tough on them. 

Since their brains function in a different way, they can be encouraged to participate in club activities, activities that encourage having fun. These are also essential to build their confidence. 

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