What you need to know

Common Learning and Attention Issues

By Amanda Morin

296Found this helpful

Does your child struggle with attention, reading, math, writing or coordination? It could be due to learning and attention issues. Read about five of the most common learning and attention issues here.

296Found this helpful
Tween boy rolling on the grass playing and laughing
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ADHD: More Than Moving Fast

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects around 10 percent of kids between ages 3 and 17. ADHD makes it hard for kids to sit still, concentrate, focus and control impulses. This isn’t because kids with ADHD are lazy. While the exact cause of ADHD isn’t known, research shows that genetics, differences in brain development and problems with brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) could be involved.

If you think your child is showing signs of ADHD, here are some ideas of what you can do next.

Young girl standing in the playground looking serious
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Dyslexia: The Best-Known Learning Issue

Dyslexia is the most recognized learning issue. It’s sometimes referred to as a “reading disability,” but it can affect more than reading skills. Dyslexia can make writing, spelling, speaking and even socializing difficult.

The good news is that dyslexia is well researched. If your child shows signs of dyslexia, there are many ways to help at home and school.

Grade school boy doing a math problem at the chalkboard
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Dyscalculia: More Than Math Anxiety

Dyscalculia is sometimes called “mathematics learning disorder” or “math dyslexia.” Many kids (and adults) have anxiety about math. But dyscalculia is not the same thing as math anxiety. Roughly 6 percent of school-age kids may have dyscalculia—ongoing trouble understanding and working with numbers and math concepts. Researchers know less about dyscalculia than they know about other learning issues. However, research is being done into the causes of dyscalculia.

If your child is having trouble with math, take a look at these signs of dyscalculia. There are resources and strategies available to help your child at home and school.

Close up of young child gripping pencil and practicing writing letters
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Dysgraphia: Wrestling With Writing

Dysgraphia affects writing skills. Researchers think the way the brain processes information and translates it to symbols plays a role in dysgraphia. Kids with dysgraphia may have messy handwriting as well as trouble holding a pencil, drawing and forming letters. They may also struggle to organize their thoughts and express them using proper sentence structure.

Is your child showing signs of dysgraphia? if so, there are many ways to help him.

Mother encouraging her young son to kick a soccer ball
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Dyspraxia: Trouble With Motor Skills

Dyspraxia affects a child’s ability to plan and coordinate physical movement. This is due to how the brain processes “messages” from the muscles. It isn’t due to muscle weakness. Roughly one in 10 kids have some symptoms of dyspraxia, such as clumsiness, trouble speaking or difficulty with tasks that require the use of more than one movement.

If you think your child might have dyspraxia, explore these ways to help.

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8 Fun Ways to Build Gross Motor Skills

When young kids have weak gross motor skills, it can get in the way of having fun. Running, jumping and throwing all require using large muscles. Help build gross motor skills with these eight activities.

Possible Causes of ADHD

ADHD is one of the most common childhood brain-based conditions. Researchers still don’t know the exact cause, but they do know that genes, differences in brain development and some outside factors like prenatal exposure to smoking might play a role. Find out more.

About the Author

Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin

A parent advocate and former teacher, Amanda Morin is the proud mom of kids with learning and attention issues and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

More by this author

Reviewed by Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D. Mar 03, 2014 Mar 03, 2014

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