Disabilities awareness in children - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Disabilities awareness in children

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. The Horizons School takes this time to kick off the awareness campaign and celebrate the 20th Anniversary of The Horizons School. We talked with founder and Executive Director, Dr. Jade Carter, for an update on the progress the school and students. It is the only school of its kind in the southeast. It serves young adults who have nowhere to go to further their education following high school. Dr. Carter offered parents and teachers a checklist of ways to help them identify children and teens with one or more learning disabilities and what they can do about it.  She also talked about the epidemic in diagnosed cases of Autism. There is no cure, only treatment. Nationally, 1 in every 110 children are Autistic, and in Alabama, according to the CDC, it is 1 in every 242 children. Boys outnumber girls 8-1. Learning disabilities present lifelong difficulties for those affected by them. There are many different kinds of learning disabilities, and all include some type of language difficulties. Most academic issues often fall into three broad categories: Reading disabilities, Written language disabilities, and Math disabilities.

     Parents are usually the first to know that their child learns differently from other children. Most people will, from time to time, see one or more of these warning signs in their children. This is normal. If, however, you see several of these characteristics over a long period of time, consider the possibility of a learning disability and/or other attention difficulties. If a child consistently exhibits several of the early warning signs, you should speak with his or her teacher or others learning experts.  According to the Learning Disabilities Association of America (www.lda.org) , LDONLINE (www.ldonline.org) and the American Psychological Association (www.apa.org)  some common signs are:
     For Preschoolers - speaks later than most children, pronunciation problems, slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word, difficulty rhyming words, trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors, shapes, extremely restless and easily distracted, trouble interacting with peers, difficulty following directions or routines, & fine motor skills slow to develop.
     For Grades K-4 - slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds, confuses basic words (run, eat, want), makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home), transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+, -, x, /, =), slow to remember facts, slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization, impulsive, difficulty planning, unstable pencil grip, trouble learning about time, & poor coordination, unaware of physical surroundings, prone to accidents.
     For Grades 5-8 - reverses letter sequences (soiled/solid, left/felt), slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other spelling strategies, avoids reading aloud, trouble with word problems, difficulty with handwriting, awkward, fist-like, or tight pencil grip, avoids writing assignments, slow or poor recall of facts, difficulty making friends, & trouble understanding body language and facial expressions.
     For High School Students and Adults - continues to spell incorrectly, frequently spells the same word differently in a single piece of writing, avoids reading and writing tasks, trouble summarizing, trouble with open-ended questions on tests, weak memory skills, difficulty adjusting to new settings, works slowly, poor grasp of abstract concepts, either pays too little attention to details or focuses on them too much, & misreads information

     The Horizons School serves young adults, ages 18-26, with learning disabilities and other handicapping conditions. The only program of its kind in the southeast, and one of just 15 in the nation, The Horizons School offers students the opportunity to learn life, social and career skills designed to teach them how to live independent, productive lives. For more information, contact The Horizons School at 205-322-6606 or visit the website at http://www.horizonsschool.org.

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