Tough Stuff

5 signs you might have a learning disability and what to do next


We wish you could all get straight-A’s with ease. But sometimes great grades, good grades, passing grades are tough to come by. And that’s especially true for girls and guys with learning disabilities. There are a bunch of different LDs that could be bringing your academic performance down. We won’t get into that here—you’re better off talking to a doc or education professional about the ins and outs of diagnoses. But here are a handful of signs that you might want to dig a little deeper into the realm of LDs.

 

Sign #1: You don’t test well

You understand the information, do great on projects and papers, but bomb tests constantly. Maybe you get tripped up on multiple choice questions, overanalyze true or false or simply can’t make sense of open-ended Qs. It’s true, some people don’t test well—but sometimes, there’s a reason for that.

 

Sign #2: You’re interested in the subject, but you just can’t focus in class

How in the world can everyone else focus on the teacher in front of the blackboard, keep taking notes and ask pertinent questions, but you can’t? That’s something you’ve wondered for ages, but just shrugged off.

 

Sign #3: It takes you forever to get through a chapter

Sometimes it seems you spend hours on a single page. You lose your place, you confuse words, you can’t remember what you read just a few minutes ago. If this is a common problem across all your reading—not just a certain book, author or class—you might have a larger problem.

 

Sign #4: You stink at details

You forget about negative signs in math class. You can’t remember the difference between Louis XIV and Louis VI. You’re not so sure about what distinguishes a simile from a metaphor, but you know they’re both about comparisons. And memorizing? Not what you’d call your strong suit.

 

Sign #5: It takes you three times longer than your classmates to do something

And it doesn’t seem to matter what that something is. From learning how a theory works to writing up a lab report, you’re just…slower. And it’s a major drag.

 

OK, so now what?

Now, it’s time to do something about it. Maybe you don’t have a learning disability. That’s OK—but it will always be helpful to find out. If you do, there are likely allowances that can be made to assist you, like giving you more time to take a test. For some, there are treatments and therapies that could be hugely helpful. And if you don’t, you might learn a lot about how your mind works and how it absorbs information. Bonus? You’ll probably score some great skills to help you work more efficiently, and that can only lead to good.

 

If you suspect you might need some assistance, talk to a parent or your guidance counselor at school. They should be able to point you in the right direction. A diagnosis will require you to be evaluated by a professional, and your school or primary physician should be able to tell you who to go to for such a test, and what the next steps are.

 

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BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 1/23/2014 12:00:00 AM

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