Hardy Learning Disabilities Toolkit

Learning Disabilities Result from Processing Weaknesses

Learning difficulties are the result of weaknesses in some of the processing skills that are required for taking in, organizing, processing, storing, and using information.

When some of the necessary brain pathways that make learning easy are either slow, or not fully developed, kids need to develop ‘workarounds’ to help them get through school assignments.

Like driving on a road with potholes, kids with processing weaknesses need to maneuver around learning obstacles while classmates with strong processing ability are driving quickly down a paved highway.

Maneuvering around processing weaknesses takes energy. Schoolwork takes longer. It’s easy to fall behind.

Diagnosing processing weaknesses can be confusing because they look different for different children.

Some children have one difficulty that slows them down.

Other children have several processing weaknesses. School teachers often notice these children need help and refer them for an IEP. Once in special education, they are given less work, at a slower pace, in a smaller setting. But the weaknesses still persist.

For some children, the difficulties go unnoticed because the early years of school aren’t too hard. It’s not until the requirements of each grade level increase that it becomes overwhelming just trying to keep up.

Parents see that their bright child is doing well on many things at home but is struggling with school work. It can be confusing.

When they look at the child’s behaviors, it is easy to conclude that:

  • your child must not be trying hard on schoolwork because building with legos for hours is easy
  • your child isn’t focusing on schoolwork because they can pay great attention to video games
  • your child isn’t listening when you speak because he/she is looking around the room when you’re talking
  • your child isn’t cooperative because they get up and down continually while doing schoolwork, eating dinner, etc.
  • your child isn’t paying attention because they can’t remember two ‘simple’ tasks
  • your child isn’t keeping up in class because they aren’t putting forth enough effort

Although it may appear like your child ‘just isn’t trying’, this is what ‘trying’ looks like when a child is working hard to overcome processing weaknesses.

Some activities are ‘easy’ and can be done for hours while other things are ‘hard’ and become frustrating very easily. Some days learning goes more smoothly and other days everything is overwhelming.

Sometimes the symptoms of a child trying hard to use ‘workarounds’ while learning look like inattention, lack of effort, frustration, careless errors, constant movement, daydreaming,…. 

Parents notice that their child is bright, can do some things very easily (like legos and video games), and naturally think that school assignments should be easy too.

That’s the interesting thing about learning difficulties.

They aren’t always easy to understand. That’s why you’ve struggled to figure this out for so long without ‘answers’. Discovering the processing weaknesses that cause learning struggles can be confusing and frustrating for parents as well as for kids.

If you’re wondering if we can help, start with our “Diagnostic Questionnaire” to see if our programs seem like they may be a good fit.