Neuroscience has made great in roads in understanding how the brain learns. In doing so, they have also been able to create a clearer view when it comes to learning differences entering the world of a child. These specific learning differences include ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia (difficulty with writing), dyscalculia (difficulty with math) and the related disorders. It has long been thought that one could not find out if their child had any learning differences as an infant. As parents, they would just have to see what happened when their child reached school age to determine if learning was a “fit” for them.
An educational diagnostician will typically tell a parent that they will not be able to give that child a particular diagnosis until they are at least six years of age. There are good reasons for this thinking. One of them being that the brain needs to mature to a certain point as well as the measures that they are testing with may not be age appropriate. However, there are definite signs in the child’s first few years that give a pretty good indication that something is up. Here are some markers that new mom’ s and dad’s can be on the look out for.
1. Does the baby have difficulty cuddling? Do they push away as if to twist themselves wanting to face forward?
This can be an indication of sensory integration difficulty. The nerves are closer to the surface of their skin so the close touching of others or even tags on their clothes can be very irritating to them.
2. Some have believed that if you have a colicky baby, then perhaps that child will be ADHD later. There is no science to prove that, but if that colicky temperament persists well into the toddler years that could be an indication of challenges ahead.
3. Language is a big part of development. Babbling and imitation are huge connections that babies must make during their early months. If this does not happen in the right order or at all, then it is a good chance that they will be at risk for other problems ahead.
Neuroscience has shown us that the earlier intervention can happen the better for the child. But what is a parent to do if they suspect something just might be “off” a little bit? It is a good rule of thumb to get to an occupational therapist to help evaluate your child. They will be able to re-wire the areas of the brain that will be set up for reading and written expression. As the child develops they will be able to determine if speech therapy is warranted. If these children are spotted this early, then their academic careers my come more easily. This makes for less anxiety and perhaps this child will be able to by-pass much of the family and school drama that often co-exists with learning differences.