Many children with average intelligence experience difficulties in school, despite their best effort to master school tasks. There is a reason for that, and the one common reason is Specific Learning Difficulties.
What is Specific Learning Difficulties or SLD?
According to DSM-5, SLD is a “neurodevelopmental disorder that impedes the ability to learn or use specific academic skills (e.g., reading, writing, or arithmetic), which are the foundation for other academic learning.” It is believed that SLD is caused by a difficulty in the nervous system that affects receiving, processing or communicating information. Some children are also hyperactive making it harder to sit still. It is also believed that SLD usually runs in families.
What are the signals of Specific Learning disorder?
- Fails to master reading, spelling, writing, and/or math skills, and thus fails
- Quickly loses or misplaces homework, schoolbooks, or other items
- Difficulty understanding the concept of time; is confused by “yesterday, today, tomorrow
- Trouble telling right from left
- Reversing letters, words, or numbers, after first or second grade
- Difficulties recognizing patterns or sorting items by size or shape
- Difficulty understanding and following instructions or staying organized
- Trouble remembering what was just said or what was just read
- Lacking coordination when moving around or doing sports
- Difficulty doing tasks with the hands, like tying shoelaces, writing, cutting or drawing
Examples of Specific Learning Difficulties include:
International Dyslexia Association offers the following definition of dyslexia:
“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected concerning other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
DSM-5 defines Dyscalculia as a specific learning disorder, an impediment in mathematics, evidencing problems with:
- Number sense
- Memorization of arithmetic facts
- Accurate and fluent calculation
- Accurate math reasoning.
According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing abilities. It can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting, and trouble putting thoughts on paper.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
According to Mayo Clinic, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior.
- Processing deficits
According to LDOnline, Processing deficits are problems with the processes of recognizing and interpreting information taken in through the senses. The two most common areas of processing difficulty associated with learning disabilities are visual and auditory perception.
What should you do if you suspect your child has specific Learning difficulties?
Your first step is to understand your child’s learning difficulties and how it is affecting him/her. If your child continuously struggles and progresses very slowly, then It is time to have a diagnostic test done. A comprehensive evaluation of their communication, self-help skills, willingness to accept discipline, impact on play, and capacity for independence at an early stage is critical. Do not wait until your child fails before you take action.
Who can diagnose a Specific Learning Difficulty?
A licensed clinician must undertake the diagnosis process. The diagnosis might involve a psychologist identifying specific learning disorders, an occupational therapist when considering developmental coordination, and a speech pathologist when looking at difficulties related to a developmental language disorder or apraxia of speech. Therefore, there is a range of standardized assessment tools required to make a clinical diagnosis. A diagnosis is made through a combination of observation, interviews, family history, and school reports. Mind Institute has a multidisciplinary team of clinicians to carry out these tests and evaluations which include:
Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)
Dyslexia Screening Test – Junior (DST – J)6:06 years to 11:05 years
Dyslexia Screening Test – Senior ( DST – S) 11:06 – 16:05 years
Mullen Scales of Early Learning
SCHOODLES – School Fine Motor Assessment– 4th Edition
DLS (Derbyshire Language Scale)
NPD (Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme)
Visualizing and Verbalizing (V/V) Nanci Bell
What should you do next?
If your child is diagnosed with Specific Learning Difficulties, having an Intervention Program is the best thing you could do for your child. Mind institute’s Intervention program includes a range of options that can ultimately address different areas of concern. Your first step would be to open communication with your child’s school and teacher. Mind institute can do that on your behalf as we have many lines of communication with most schools in Qatar. Our therapist can conduct a school observation visit, which would allow us to see firsthand the type of assistance your child needs. Recommendations could be simple steps that teachers can implement immediately in the classroom that would help your child or go as far as creating an Intervention Program targeting your child’s specific areas of weakness. It is imperative that any Intervention Program be delivered explicitly over an extended period of time to ensure that real progress can be achieved. If your child’s school does not have the resources to provide such assistance, Mind Institutes can give you a range of options, Including a shadow. Your child’s intervention program can also include a range of recommendations, including Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Applied Behavior Therapy, and Special Education.
Good morning. I have been meaning to send this message for some time now to thank Mind institute and especially Ms. Christy for helping my daughter with her language skills. The dealings with your institute were very professional and Ms. Christy was a godsend to us. Please thank her again on our behalf for being such an exemplary teacher for our daughter. We are very grateful for the patience and effort she put in not just with my daughter but also with quelling our anxieties and curiosities. She was excellent in keeping my daughter engaged in her sessions and in making her comfortable. We are extremely thankful to her and to Mind institute for the help that was given to our daughter.
We were worried the moment we found out that the center will be closed due to our current situation. But the family was really amazed at how the center handled the uncertainties. My son is now attending teletherapy sessions for his OT and SLT. It was quite new and challenging in the first few sessions but because of the hard work and professionalism of the team, I could say they are doing a great job! Thank you Ms. Madeeha (SLT), Ms. Lili (OT) and Ms. Azza for all your hard work to make things happen for all your students. Stay safe everyone! Eid Mubarak!
Mind Institute has always been my first and only choice when it came for special needs for my son. My son has progressed tremendously in all aspects and I’m grateful for all the hard work put in by all the therapists and assistants. I’m truly grateful to Ms Gillian (special educator) for all the hard work and her indefatigable calm and courtesy when it comes to making my son feel at home and satisfying a worried and super involved parent like me. Ms Vanessa has also developed an amazing relationship with my son and she is extremely loving and patient when it comes to calming my son down.
Best Special Needs Center in Qatar. Also, deliver adult psychotherapy.
I am so glad my daughter has joined Mind Institute and that is because of the improvement we see and feel in her overall development. We were so worried and concerned before she joined. But they have amazed us with all the intervention. She has massively developed and we are so pleased
Professional, passionate and caring! Highly recommend them.
The Mind Institute helps you fulfil your needs, it helped me improve my concentration and I made good progress with them, it also tries to help you with other aspects you didn't know you needed, because it did also try to help me with my social skills. In addition, it is very flexible with scheduling appointments.
شكرا من القلب. لقد استفاد ابني اوس كثيرا من المركز وقد تطورت مهاراته السلوكية والادراكية والنفسية واللفظية. بصراحة انصح الجميع بزيارة المركز بما له من طاقم اداري اكثر من رائع. وهية تدريس تدرك من اول يوم ان ابنك سيكون بايدي امينة. وفعلا ماشككت يوما بهذا. بحيث اني ارى الحب والدفئ في عيونهم
السلا عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته انا عاجزه عن الشكر والتقدير لكل نجمه سطعت في سماء المركز ونورت حياتي وحياة الاطفال اللي يتلقون العلاج المناسب لهم واخص بالذكر ابني فهد اقل مااقدر اوصله لكم هو عوده فهد لارض الواقع بفضل نجوم المركز المميزين وبفضل قمر المركز منال جزاكم الله الف خير على مجهوداتكم التي لا تعد ولا تحصي ام فهد محمد مصطفي
If you are looking for a professional and caring center to work with you closely to develop your child’s skills and abilities, then Mind Institute is the one. My ASD daughter has been going there for more than two years now and I have continuously been satisfied with all her progress. They know how to identify the child’s struggles, structure a development plan and address the issues accordingly. The improvement we have seen in her is amazing. She is more independent and confident now. She is going to a mainstream school two months from now and I cannot be more grateful. The whole team are hearty and care for the kids in the center. I drop my daughter there every day with confidence, knowing that she is in good hands. Mind Institute has been a lovely part of our family and we are full of gratitude for all their efforts.
بصراحة هذا المكان الافضل في قطر لذوي الاحتياجات الخاصه وهو يشمل كل الاعاقات وكل الاعمار ولاحظت تقدم كبير ل ابني وانا اتكلم عن تجربه انصحكم في هذا المكان سواء كان عنده تواحد او تواصل في النطق او تواصل بصري او اعاقة حركية وانصحكم بهذا المكان جداً جميل والتعامل جداً راقي لدرجة ان في استمراريه في الملاحظات والصور يرسلونها اول باول على الايميل ماندمت على اني حطيت ابني بينهم
My son has been attending the EIP at Mind Institute for the last 2 years. We are very satisfied with our son’s progress and with Minds personalized support and plan. I especially appreciate my son’s warm personal rapport with the teaching & assisting staff which makes our journey a whole lot easier. I’m grateful for Ms Sharon and Ms Vanessa patience and support provided to us at all times.
Excellent service. Strong and clear communication throughout, very flexible and supportive despite COVID changes. Very friendly and engaging staff, my son always felt at ease and welcome. Would highly recommend. In terms of results, excellent progress throughout therapy and sustainable results.
We have had a great experience with Mind Institute both through tele-therapy and in person. My son was so excited to attend each week and his therapist, Hafsa, was excellent. The team were professional and welcoming and I have no hesitations in recommending their services.
I am sending you to tell you about my experience with the virtual program that Mind Institute start with, because of recent situation of COVID-19 virus. As you know my Son just joined middle of February 2020. So he spent only almost 1 month and then center was closed. To be honest I found real care from all the staff for the benefit of my son. These online lessons were difficult for the first week but you and all the therapists worked hard with me and I learned a lot about how to deal with him and I came to know what type of toys are useful since you are sending us a weekly plan with all resources needed. When I ask for something or have a concern you and all Mind Institute family are available to help. Thanks a lot for your patience, hard work and support.
I’m writing this email to feedback on VIP program which we started with my son Ilia 2 weeks ago. This is absolutely incredible program which supports my sons learning/ communicative needs even during this hard time of school’s closure. I was a bit worried at first how he would react to distance learning and whether he will cope with tasks given online, but from the very first training session he grabbed the concept and just greeted his teacher as if she was in the room. I was very surprised to know that every week I will receive not only detailed plan, but also complete kit to support this plan, this is just beyond any praise! The kit includes all necessary supplies to support creative learning and it’s so easy to prepare for every session. More than that it’s tailored to my child’s needs and interests! The team was so attentive to ilia’s liking of firefighting topic so that they created the whole set for math (addition), fun games in firefighting theme! Thank you for that! The program is also helpful for me as a parent to better understand my kid, learn his strengths and spend more quality time together having fun and lots of laughs! My son loves everyday sessions and looks forward to seeing his teacher and assistants and therapists! I can’t thank you enough for presenting this amazing opportunity to families who have to organize in- house schooling. Thank you to all the MI team and see you soon on the next session!
I would like to extend my appreciation to the entire team, for their work with the VIP program. The program has been very insightful, for me as a parent. As I am able to better understand Leon’s challenge’s in a study setting/ environment. I do feel it is important to keep the activities as interactive and stimulating as possible. Because this keeps Leon engaged and focused through the session. The weekly kits, sent to us have been very well planned and organized. This has made it easy for me to understand as a parent.
خدمات التواصل عن بعد ممتازة وطريقة مثلى للاستفادة من الوقت وإعادة تنظيم جدول الحياة اليومي لابراهيم والاهم الاستمرار في الخطة العلاجية الخاصة به جهودكم مشكورة جميعا
خدمات التواصل عن بعد ممتازة وطريقة مثلى للاستفادة من الوقت وإعادة تنظيم جدول الحياة اليومي لابراهيم والاهم الاستمرار في الخطة العلاجية الخاصة به
كانت تجربة الزوم ناجحة بالنسبة لي حيث ان ليس ابنتي فقط من استفادت منه انا كذلك استفدت وتعلمت اشياء لم اكم اعرفها من قبل واصبحت اعرف كيف اتعامل مع ابنتي بطرق علميه. شكرا مايند انستتيوت كم انت رائع
It’s great seeing Myles being busy, especially doing a body parts activity. We’ve been trying so hard to get Myles to do things like that at home, but he would never do them! The only thing I think he really shows interest in is music and musical instruments! He has recently started to imitate us playing his drum kit and other little instruments like tambourine...