Characteristics of Young Learning Disabled Students
By: Neela Seldin
Characteristics related to general functioning and social-emotional development
- Immature emotionally and socially.
- "Spacey": Look of disorientation.
- Can't make choices.
- Can't stay with an activity.
- Distractible. Impulsive.
- Knows rules but does not apply.
- Labile emotions; excessive silliness; catastrophic reactions; angry; shy or withdrawn.
- Shifts blame?
- Academic skills very slow in developing.
- Strong discrepancies in skills and knowledge.
- Socially off-base. Unaccepted by group.
- Poor memory.
- Easily frustrated. Won't take risks.
- Doesn't take pride in work or accept compliments.
- Excessively rigid: cannot abide change.
- Artistic. Sensitive. Mechanically inclined.
- Non-verbal reasoning is highly developed.
Characteristics related to speech - language development
- Avoids talking or focuses mainly on adults.
- Uses pat phrases to communicate.
- Excellent vocabulary but poor production.
- Hesitates constantly, uses filler words, stammers.
- Makes off-topic comments? Raises hand but has no words.
- Wants to tell but cannot retrieve words.
- Tells stories in random order without references.
- Mishears or doesn't hear.
- Articulation weak with substitutions of sounds.
- Uses incomplete sentences. Mumbles. Slurs.
- Poor pragmatic: eye contact, turn-taking.
- Loses focus in group activities.
- Hypervigilant. Watches others to see what to do.
- Word order or syllable order frequently mixed.
- Cannot rhyme.
- Cannot segment sounds in words, or blend them together to make words.
Characteristics related to sensory - motor development
- Avoids tasks. Coloring, drawing, cutting.
- Excessively physical. Touching, pushing, wrestling.
- Generally not upright. Leaning, lying, drooping.
- Gets into trouble when he/she has free-time or space.
- Bumps into things and people without awareness.
- Lasting egocentricity.
- Avoids or is uncomfortable on play equipment.
- Falls often and easily. Slides out of chairs.
- Large and fine motor skills immature.
- Can't blow nose or tie shoes.
- Very disorganized. Can't get ready. Clean up.
- Constantly losing things. Can't remember how to go, where to put things. What it's time for.
- Pencil grip awkward. Puzzles challenging.
- Fussy eater. Messy eater.
- Over or under reacts to stimuli. Treats a light touch as he/she does a punch. Frightened by loud noises. Overwhelmed by strong smells and bright lights.
Neela Seldin, 1998 The Lab School of Washington