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28-Apr-21 oleh Dr. Md Rosli bin Ismail, Dr Hajah Khatipah binti Abd. Ghani

It is every parent’s dream to see their child’s development as normal in terms of physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual as well as social. However, there are parents tested by Allah s.w.t. having ‘special’ children who have disabilities in different forms such as impairment of visual/hearing, learning disability, a handicap, exceptional children as well as children with special needs.

Early diagnostic among children with disabilites should be given close attention by parents so that appropriate measures can be taken as soon as possible and to enable them to be channelled to suitable organisations for appropriate training and coaching in order for them to survive in society. There are also some cases when parents are unaware of the ‘abnormality’ of their young children. Sometimes parents should not be blamed for ignoring disabilities among children since some young parents may lack of knowledege and awareness of these disabilities.

The issue of learning disability, a group of disorders and it affects a broad range of academic and functional skills, among children has become common nowadays. In this article, learning disability is defined as disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using spoken or written language. This include the inability of a preschool child to do something in a certain way or lack of capacity to perform certain tasks as other normal children do such as ability to speak, write, read, listen, spell, reason, count and organise information.

Learning disability has a great influence on children’s academic. In terms of spoken and written language, they may have problems like delay, disorder or discrepancies in listening and speaking. Having mentioned it, these problems lead to their difficulties with reading, writing and spelling. They also may have problems in understanding basic concepts in mathematics and therefore, they are not capable to perform arithmatic functions well. They are also unable to organise and synthesise their thoughts well which make their messages would not be understood by others.

Children with learning disability can be identified through a few significant traits that they may exhibit. Among other sympthoms are impulsiveness which includes low tolereance for frustration, problems in daily social interaction and situation, as well as motor disorders like inability to hold something firmly. Children with learning disability also show difficulty to blend sound into words or break up words into component sounds, and difficulty with matching letters. If these indicators are not made aware by the parents, will lead to unwillingness to speak.

On the other hand, there are several non-verbal learning disability such as poor visual spatial skills. For example, inability to make judgment of things around them. As a result of this, they may have difficulty to communicate and interact with other people, as such this will lead to poor social realtionship.

The causes of learning disability are not well understood by parents, pratitioners and public. Nevertheless, the causes for learning disability could be due to heredity which often runs in the family. It could also due to problems faced by a mother during her pregnancy and birth. For example, illness or injury, fatal exposure to alcohol, drugs, oxygen deprivation and sometimes birth weight of the child due to premature or prolonged labour. However, there are some cases where learning disability occurs due to accident after birth such as head injury. Toxic exposure such as heavy metal, pesticide could also affect their social, behavioural and cognitive development.

Every problem has a solution if parents pay attention possesss the awareness and think of early intervention of learning disability. Some of the models of intervention are very fundamental which can be practised at home or at school. One of the most effective measures is to provide direct instrutructions to children with learning disability. For instance, instructions must be short and simple. If it is less undesrstood by children with LD, illustration and demonstration are of great importance. Modelling a task is another strategy to encourage them to participate. They should also be rapid-paced interaction between teachers and children, parents and children, parents and teachers and vice versa.

Howver, mistakes made by these children must be corrected immediately. This is to raise their motivation, boost fundamental skills, and to keep practising before moving onto the next level. It is also vital to allow children with learning disability to work at their level of mastery. In the current era of technology, electronic equipment such as spellers, dictionary, word processes and computer can be provided to them so that they will not be put at the back seat.

In conclusion, understanding characteristics of children with learning disability is very important for parents, teachers and communities. This is to avoid children with learning disability from being worthless, inferiority complex and emotional as this cause a lot of discrepancies. Therefore, parents, teachers and community should make an effort to know their disabilities. Finally, the society has to understand their disabilities either behavioural or emotional and so forth.