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Does my child have a learning disability?

Q: My son is 8 years and 4 months old and a single child. I am a working mother. He is a very intelligent boy and can remember and recall a lot of information. Whatever is taught in the school, he can reproduce it orally. The problem with him is that he does not do any writing work given to him; any amount of request, threats or punishment does not make him do the work. And even if he does it, he makes lots of spelling mistakes. When asked orally, he will say it correctly but while writing he will make mistakes for writing even simple three letter words. He is not scared or bothered about the consequences of not doing the work, instead he will try to convince the other person as to why he did not do the work. He does not follow any instructions. While playing with other children he creates his own rules, and talk because of, which other children do not find it interesting to play with him. He argues, talks, talks and keeps on talking. Because of these habits he is having a lot problem at school, with the teachers, with his classmates. He is otherwise a loving, caring and an understanding child. He is very confident in dealing with all kinds of people. He is also good in drawing and anything, which is done orally. His non-adherence to rules, defying instructions and lack of concentration has become a problem for him and is affecting his performance in school. I don't know whether the above behaviours are normal or my son requires some kind of counseling or therapy? Kindly let me know what I should do to make him understand that following instructions and doing written work is important. I hope he does not have any kind of behavioural or learning disability.

A:Your son is not being naughty or mischievous when he does not write. Probably the source of the problem is DYSLEXIA. This word is a technical word, which implies a condition where reading, especially writing is difficult for the child. Because of the wiring in the brain, dyslexia is found. Please do consult a psychologist who is a specialist in Dyslexia. Finding this person will depend on where you live. To the best of my knowledge, only the metropolitan cities have a Dyslexia centre. If you have not been able to find anyone, please write to me again and I will try and find some material you can read and follow in teaching your son. I know that most schools are unwilling to give oral tests, but if you can persuade your school to try, the child will do well and his confidence will improve. Getting him to cope with reading and writing will need some expertise. We are so used to accepting some physical handicap, when we can see that something is wrong with the hand or the foot. But we have problems accepting that the child has a genuine problem, when we cant see it! Try your best to be patient, to break up his school tasks into small ones, which can be completed by him with a little encouragement from you.


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