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Types of Learning Difficulties and How to Overcome

Types of Learning Difficulties

Education professionals need to deal with students who have the most diverse backgrounds. For this, it is important to find methodologies that fit the profile of each student. However, some of the students may have learning difficulties due to not adapting to pedagogical methods.

This article will tell you what a learning disability is, how to identify it, how the school can deal with the subject, and how to overcome it.

What is a learning disability?

The learning difficulty can be related to numerous factors, such as the methodology used, the pedagogical methods, the physical environment, and even reasons related to the student’s personality. The term refers to a student who has a different way of learning due to a barrier that can be cultural, cognitive, or emotional. Since these are psycho-pedagogical issues, learning difficulties can be resolved in the school environment.

What is a learning disorder?

Disorders related to the learning process are among the learning difficulties that the student may manifest; however, they correspond to a pattern far below expectations concerning the cognitive ability expected for a given school stage.

Learning disorders are related to problems that are not due to educational causes. This means that, even after a change in the teacher’s educational approach, the student shows the same symptoms. This points to the need for further investigation, which will determine the causes of the difficulty in question.

These difficulties are specific and characterized by neurological dysfunction, usually associated with some impairment in the functioning of certain areas of the brain. However, it is risky to speak only of a biological cause. Often, students who show symptoms of anxiety, or agitation problems develop these problems because of some personal or family conflict – and not just for physiological reasons.

Main Types of Learning difficulties

The pedagogical path is challenging for practically everyone. There will always be an obstacle, however small it may be in the students’ lives. However, we need to keep in mind that the reception of the given content can vary completely differently since there are multifactorial aspects at stake; and that can outline the students’ situations. Below are some types of learning disorders:

Dyslexia and the challenges for reading and writing

Dyslexia is related to the functionality of the brain. It is responsible for generating problems in brain circuits and connections. Also, an important fact is that these areas do not develop correctly. This is responsible for leading to an insufficient link between the areas in charge of training reading and writing skills.

To be clearer, it is worth explaining that it is as if the child started to have many difficulties in acquiring the ability to reason, memorize, understand, and interpret contents presented by the skills mentioned above (reading and writing).

It is interesting to remember that the causes of dyslexia are generally linked to structural problems, didactic problems, cultural problems, lack of family stimuli, social situations, such as an inadequate socioeconomic level; deficient literacy, among others.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD is another condition that must always be taken into account; after all, when the child does not receive the appropriate interventions, he tends to manifest his main symptoms more intensely, namely:

  • Frequent inattention in everyday situations (mandatory and playful);
  • Difficulty following instructions or completing what you should (some task);
  • Not having the patience to wait for the other to finish the activities and want to go ahead;
  • Being distracted by external stimuli and not paying attention to what is happening within the context to which it is inserted;
  • Losing objects that are part of some routine function;
  • Clap hands and feet when you need to stand still;
  • Do not become familiar with activities that require reasoning or attention (activities that require mental effort);
  • Get up from your chair at all times (total restlessness).


Dyscalculia can be defined as a type of learning problem whose main characteristic is marked by the inability to think, reflect, evaluate, or reason dynamics or tasks involving numbers or mathematical concepts.

The situation is serious and cannot be solved with a simple tutoring class. Dyscalculia even prevents the child from associating the name of a number with the corresponding number. Thinking from a numerical perspective is difficult for these people to achieve.

Other forms of disorder:

Dysgraphia: Students who experience this disorder have difficulty writing. This mainly includes spelling errors, such as changing, omitting, adding, or inverting letters. Students who experience this disorder are also usually affected by dyslexia. Although dysgraphia is related to written language, it is broader than dysgraphia. It can range from an unwillingness to write to difficulty in concatenating prayers.

Dyslalia: Students who experience this disorder show difficulties in speech. They may have alterations in the normal formation of the speaking organs, making it difficult to produce certain language sounds.

Situations that need to be monitored closely

Although learning problems do not completely affect the child’s and adolescent’s cognition (yes, they are very intelligent in performing other activities), parents should seek help as soon as possible to establish appropriate treatment for their children.

It is worth remembering that teachers also play a fundamental role in identifying the first signs, as they are directly linked to the tasks and pedagogical challenges.

How to diagnose learning disorders?

Before launching any possibility of diagnosing the disorder, the student must undergo a specialized evaluation with health professionals. This team should include doctors, especially neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, psycho-pedagogues, and even speech therapists. This is an indispensable measure, as the performance of superficial assessments has caused an increase in the number of children and adolescents who are unnecessarily subjected to drug treatments.

Whether the student has learning disabilities or not, the fact is that this needs to be detected as soon as possible for effective measures to be taken.

Therefore, look for a multidisciplinary team that can assess your child. It must be composed of several professionals, such as a doctor, speech therapist, psycho-pedagogue, psychologist.

This is important because several factors can cause learning difficulties at school, and each professional specifically evaluates aspects related to their area. Taking it to a single professional can prevent certain aspects from being evaluated, compromising the understanding of the student’s real situation.

An accurate diagnosis or the finding that there is no disorder can guide the family regarding the best procedures in each case.

What is the role of the school in the face of students’ learning difficulties?

First, the school must understand that students with learning difficulties are not incapable of learning.

To identify any possible learning difficulties, the teacher’s role is fundamental. After all, he has daily and close contact with the student and having easy access to the groups around him – family, friends, and other teachers.

The school routine – carrying out group tasks, simulations, and other activities – is also very conducive to identifying complaints from students who may point (or not) to cases of learning difficulties.

It is also the institution’s role to promote greater integration of the student with the rest of the school community. It is worth emphasizing that, if integration does not occur, isolation itself may give rise to a drop-in student performance; not because of the difficulties themselves, but because of demotivation and frustration with school life.

Finally, it is also the school’s role, through the figure of the teacher, to adapt the teaching methodology to help the student. Not only about the adoption of practices or instruments to overcome learning difficulties. In reality, it is necessary to seek dynamism and innovation in the classroom, integrating playful activities and adopting technological tools to support teaching, for example. The objective is to encourage the student, in an unpretentious way, to challenge his conception about his limitations.

What to do to help students with learning difficulties

One of the teacher’s greatest challenges is to be able to teach and transmit knowledge to all students in the same class. Students often have different learning levels, and not everyone can keep up with the class’s expected pace. The student with this difficulty ends up feeling in a constant state of tension and frustration and can also become a source of indiscipline. So, we have gathered here in this section some general tips that can help to minimize this. The important thing is to keep in mind that every student can learn, but this will not always happen in the same way or at the same time for everyone. Check out some tips that can help to reverse this situation below:

Use different ways to present information

Using creative means can be a good way to make it easier for students to store information. One of the trends of current education, learning by experience, is great for this, as it proposes that students learn in practice with the realization of more interactive projects and activities, making learning more meaningful. After all, working on food with children, for example, is much more interesting when they can get their hands dirty and make their garden.

Try to minimize student distractions in the classroom

Distraction in the classroom is a major challenge in the teaching-learning process. Therefore, taking care of the room’s spatial layout and leaving students with learning difficulties closer to the teacher is always good. Also, despite being seen as one of the main causes of inattention, due to students’ use of cell phones and other electronic devices, technology can be an allied tool. Working with content with the help of technological resources, such as videos and music, helps to hold students’ attention.

Teaching study methods and learning strategies

It is possible to use some techniques that help the student organize thinking, optimize time, and prioritize important things. One of these methods is design thinking, which is a simple and inexpensive way to manage information, deal with problems, and find solutions creatively, flexibly, and collaboratively.

Plan daily study routines for the student

All students must have daily study routines, both inside and outside the school, and with students who have some learning disability is no different. In their case, the ideal is that a more personalized routine be developed, which favors the more challenging content for them to study and evolve even when they are alone.

Provide tutoring

Often, just the daily routine of studying at home is not enough for the student to overcome his/her difficulties and, therefore, providing tutoring and guidance at school is ideal. During these extra classes, the student is accompanied by the teacher, who can give him more attention than during regular classes and has more freedom to clear up his doubts and expose what he does not understand. With this closer contact, the teacher can also understand the student’s needs and evaluate his performance.

Maintain contact and relationship with the family

Teachers and family members must talk and exchange information to understand better what may be happening and determine what is influencing the learning process and what can be done to overcome these difficulties. WhatsApp, for example, can be a good communication tool to assist in this contact.


Learning difficulties are quite common in school life. As a way of circumventing them, the whole team must work together to ease this impasse. It is worth mentioning that health professionals must be involved when the student’s difficulty is related to a disorder.

Another important point is to include the student’s family so that they participate in the teaching-learning process and understand the students’ difficulties so that they also receive family support. To facilitate this communication with parents and guardians, the school must maintain a close and open relationship with the students’ families. We have prepared material.